Enterprise architecture (EA) refers to the practice of carrying out enterprise analysis, planning, design, and implementation. The aim is to successfully execute business strategies. An excellent enterprise architecture strategy is future-oriented. It is designed using the latest business process innovations, information systems, technologies, and organizational structures.
Our goals for your enterprise architecture include creating reusable and discoverable assets for your business. Other goals include creating a blueprint for the operations and structure of your organization. But the ultimate goal is to improve the timeliness, reliability, and efficiency of business information.
Sometimes, enterprise architecture is combined with project portfolio management (PPM) to better connect information technology (IT) projects with an organization’s strategy. Both EA and PPM enhance the capabilities of the organization. They also govern related functions and processes. What’s more, they improve the integration of skilled resources.
Embracing enterprise architecture has a notable number of benefits. These are some of them:
It creates the perfect framework for increased open collaboration between business units and IT.
It simplifies the process of evaluating your existing architecture. As a result, you can see how well it is aligned with your long term business goals.
It improves your business’ ability to prioritize the investments to take on.
It provides a straightforward way to compare your results with those of your competitors.
It offers you insights into your IT architecture in every business unit outside of IT.
It comes in handy in IT risk management as a way of avoiding security breaches, errors, and system failures.
It establishes well-defined protocols for evaluating and procuring technologies.
The four commonly accepted architecture domains are:
This architecture domain defines strategy, organization, governance, and business processes central to the wellbeing of an enterprise.
This architecture domain describes the manner in which the physical and logical data management resources and data assets are organized.
This domain is the blueprint for the process of application systems deployment, interactions, and relationships. The blueprint should be in line with the enterprise’s core business processes.
This architecture domain defines the logical hardware and software capabilities needed to support deploying data and application services. It encompasses middleware, IT infrastructure, industry standards, communications, networks, etc
Enterprise architecture framework refers to a standardized practice or methodology that businesses use to describe, change, and create their enterprise architecture. The EA framework is a structure and blueprint description of the assets and systems in an organization.
Sometimes frameworks are vague because they describe the whole organization instead of particular problems and needs. For this reason, there are several frameworks that can better help businesses implement EAP.
The four most recognized and commonly referenced Enterprise Architect Planning (EAP) methodologies are:
To effectively execute enterprise architectural planning, you will require specific tools. The most basic enterprise architecture tools are Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. Other popular EA tools and software include:
Good enterprise architecture should produce tangible capabilities spanning the six sub-architectural domains.
This subdomain links the structural, informational, operational, technological, and strategic aspects of an organization. It is an integrated, holistic model that defines the core purpose of the organization in actionable entities and elements.
The business sub-architectural domain includes business value streams, capability maps, systems, and process models. It is designed to model an enterprise in such a way that both the technology and business teams can understand, accept, and adopt it.
An effective EA strategy should include the latest business process innovations. It should also include best practices and standard language for those processes.
What’s more, it should have a clear analysis of areas to integrate or eliminate them throughout the company.
This subdomain involves policies, models, standards, or rules that govern the data collected. It also includes the manner in which the data is arranged, stored, integrated, and used in the organization’s systems. The intended outcome is to make it possible for stakeholders to have a clear view of the organization’s critical information. They can then use their unique perspectives to interpret it.
Data sub-architectural domain makes data the centerpiece of any digital transformation effort. It brings to the fore important nuances like compliance, security risks, and privacy.
This approach makes companies proactive and effective in identifying potential areas of concern with sensitive business data. This way, the organization can make data-based decisions in its planning endeavors.
This subdomain provides a catalog of all the applications in use within the system. It also describes the function of each contribution to the transformation, transmission, and storage of information. The Applications domain also describes all the interfaces provided or required by these applications, and it defines how these applications interact.
The catalog of interfaces, matrices, diagrams, and applications that describe these interactions are defined only once at the enterprise level. This creates the basis on which to craft new architectures, which are classified as either part of the baseline or the potential future state of the architecture.
Every time an architecture brings in new applications, they are added to the target state’s description. Most application subdomains consist of descriptions of target architectures and baselines. They define a number of executable transitions as well as those that would typically be described on a roadmap diagram.
This subdomain revolves around keeping an organization’s data safe. It is designed to preserve the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of business information, including its technologies, applications, and processes.
An organization is considered secure if access to certain information is limited to only those who are authorized to access it. The security sub-architectural domain ensures that corporate information is available to the right person, for the right business process, and at the right time.
This subdomain is a modern and structured approach to supporting business enterprises and encouraging innovation within them. It models every hardware element in an enterprise. It also designs how the elements interact within the entire organization.
The infrastructure sub-architectural domain makes sure that the infrastructure and technical systems support the requirements of the business. This often includes supporting business initiatives that guarantee data security. It can also include strategies that enhance the enterprise’s ability to scale its operations.
A well-designed infrastructure subdomain should result in well-integrated and documented infrastructure models. It should also have the necessary abstraction and detail for the business’ stakeholders.