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To some extent, consolidation, standardization, and commoditization worked as EIT expense reduction strategies; however, there were limits to their effectiveness, because they still lacked a holistic and systematic understanding of the connectedness between business roles and processes, information data elements and flows, supporting application systems, and underlying technology infrastructure.
The second motivation for EA was business-driven, due to the ever-increasing pace of external change combined with the difficulty for many organizations to successfully execute their business strategies. Michael Porter estimates that more than 80 percent of organizations fail to execute their business strategies, and ineffective execution was the reason for failure for more than 70 percent of them.
Based on whether one views EA solely for technology-based or business strategy-based reasons, the scope of EA varies, including its concerns, assumptions, and limitations. Figure 3. It is important to distinguish the type of EA that an organization needs and wants to establish. By doing so, the boundaries and handoffs between EA and business executives in the execution of their business strategy become clear. Without that clarity, ongoing confusion and issues with collaboration and alignment will likely be created.
In the s, a four-layer division of system architecture came into use by system designers. The architecture was split into technology, applications, information, and business domains. The domains higher in the stack were built on top of and depended upon the lower layers. The BIAT model helped system architects organize information and the structure of the systems, and also helped them understand requirements that flow between these layers. In the early s, this four-layer division, called the BIAT model  was adapted for EA and relatively soon was modified to a five-layer model: the technology layer was divided into software and hardware infrastructure layers.
It also changed the focus of EA practice to that of business processes. Figure 4. While it may seem odd, it appears that there is no universally excepted definition of business within the EA community. This layer usually contains business rules and requirements, organizational structure, business processes and models, the mission and vision of the enterprise, and critical success factors.
In the BIAT model, information is associated with business information and other valuable stored data. Every enterprise runs on information, and therefore, the patterns of information used by the business largely determine the data technology required to support the information needs. This layer contains data information and architecture, data management, data delivery, data modeling, data quality, data security, and content management, as well as enterprise reporting and business intelligence.
Software applications consume, transform, and produce data or information needed by the enterprise's technology users. Often, the heaviest information "consumers" are in HR and finance units, although software increasingly supports facilities management, inventory control, customers, and vendors. This layer contains application integration components, application development models, the definition of services, and service and event architectures. The technology domain includes processors, storage and network connectivity, and the middleware that provide the basic computing and communications capabilities for the enterprise.
They enable the flow of information that is the lifeblood of the organization. Note that the EIT technology domain thus does not typically include physical process technology such as industrial or manufacturing automation equipment. Often this layer is split into a software and hardware component. The business and information layers serve primarily as inputs to the technology design process. However, if the process is rigidly viewed this way, the EA team may run the risk of not putting enough effort into the collaboration and partnership with the enterprise's "business" partners.
Such collaboration ensures that the changes in the business processes and information flows support the changes made to the applications and technology layers. It is common within the EA community to recognize that each of these layers has its own architecture, and that the enterprise architecture is in some sense the sum or union of all these architectures. There are several different models in use for how the integration across the layers or aspects is best achieved.
One of the most common is the service model, in which each layer delivers services to the layers above it. Not surprisingly, the question of what exactly makes something a service remains a subject of considerable discussion. Other models focus on the enterprise's value chain, also known as enterprise capabilities. Enterprise architecture EA informs strategic planning in several ways.
EA supplies "a blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands. These maps provide a variety of perspectives, such as data and processes the enterprise uses to carry out its operations, how processes interact to create value streams, and where technology support is in place.
EA provides input to the strategy function at the highest level. Typically, few artifacts exist when the initial EA program is started. They must be developed with input from all the business stakeholders. Given the amount of information required to produce the enterprise blueprint, a framework is needed to describe the interconnectedness of the business, information, systems, and technology elements often called artifacts.
In , John Zachman published what is commonly viewed as the first framework describing a classification scheme for artifacts at several levels of abstraction. TOGAF 9. It states that "a complete EA description should contain all four architecture domains business, data, application, technology , but the realities of resource and time constraints often mean there is not enough time, funding, or resources to build a top-down, all-inclusive architecture description encompassing all four architecture domains, even if the enterprise scope is While TOGAF may be the most popular EA framework based on published certification numbers , there are many different frameworks available.
Generally, they fall into several categories: consortia developed e. EA is an ongoing activity. It is always in process. It never stops. The architecture team must perennially keep up with the current state of the ever-evolving organization and its business. Just as important, EA is working with management to understand what they want the future to be. The path to get to the future is constantly being refined.
Figure 5. Although there are differing opinions about the way to create an EA, the TOGAF ADM steps provide an excellent outline to discuss the different activities that are part of the process, and that is why we include it here. Note that all these steps collect and drive the refinement of business requirements that are used for business solution design. These requirements need to be carefully managed and kept in a database often called a repository.
During the planning phase, members of senior management usually members of the strategy team define the purpose and focus of the EA program, create the EA team, and define the roles of the team members. Once that is accomplished, the EA team selects the EA framework that will be used by the effort and makes sure that there is an EA information repository in place. The EA team begins its work by collecting information about the workings of the enterprise. More than anything else, the EA effort results in an actionable plan to achieve the enterprise's strategic objectives.
The plan needs to consider laws, mandates, and policies that drive the business. The plan typically builds on the organization's strengths and leverages opportunities, while considering both internal and external impediments and barriers. The EA plan provides the bridge between strategy and execution. Thus, the EA can drive organizational change, enabling the enterprise to achieve important mission outcomes and enhance business success. Once an EA effort has been agreed upon, the enterprise's management needs to give the effort a charter.
This charter could be well defined or not; however, the effort is most successful if management can provide information such as:. Selecting the EA team members is often a difficult process. One needs to have a chief architect who understands the business and communicates well with people at all levels in the organization. This person must be technically savvy, have EA experience, be good at working with diverse groups with diverse agendas, and be excellent at project management in difficult situations.
Few organizations start out with this kind of talent, so it is common for organizations to hire EA consulting firms to get them started, and to help them build and train their own internal team. However, usually the job requires information from several business experts and EIT experts. The number of roles and their duties depends on the scope of the EA effort.
Common roles that are often consulted are:. Note that the team often starts small and increases in size as the EA effort progresses. Many of the future EA activities require a specialist for that particular activity, such as the application architect. The team needs to identify the internal and external forces that push the enterprise in specific directions.
Drivers can come from governmental legislation, policy, business competition, technology changes, cost changes, organizational restructuring and consolidation, or facility changes. These drivers often result in the definition of key business requirements and strongly affect the architecture at many levels. Barriers and impediments obstruct or delay the progress of developing or maintaining a useful EA.
Barriers hinder development of the EA to accommodate a need or constraint in contrast to drivers, which direct or push the architecture in particular ways. This activity starts in the preliminary phase, but is fleshed out extensively in future phases of the EA project.
One of the most important preparation activities for the EA effort is selecting the architectural framework that drives the process and organizes the collection of information. In the s, people discovered that the simple BIAT layer architectural model was not complete or complex enough to effectively organize most EA efforts. Since then, different groups have developed ever more complex frameworks that connect the architectural aspects of BIAT with the specifics of when and how to create and use the architecture.
The layers extend from the enterprise perspective down to the technical implementations through requirements management and construction:. With these additional layers, different perspectives and dimensions of detail become more apparent than when using the simple BIAT model. Figure 6. Figure 7 shows the Zachman Framework in which artifacts are organized by the audience perspective and the focus of the artifact. Zachman observed that design documents descriptive representations, product descriptions, and engineering documentation of complex products can be classified by the audience the person's perspective when looking at the information for which the artifact is constructed and by the content or subject focus abstraction of the artifact.
Basically, the Zachman Framework is a generic classification scheme referred to as an ontology for design artifacts. This ontology enables an EA team to focus on specific aspects of an artifact without losing the context or perspective from which it comes. In designing and building complex objects, there are simply too many details and relationships to consider simultaneously, and this structure helps decrease the complexity without losing information. Figure 7. This framework and the associate Architectural Development Method ADM uses concepts from the Zachman Framework, but covers each level of architecture with tools and artifacts that are most appropriate for that level.
It doesn't, however, dictate any particular method for creating the architecture. The ADM even has room for integrating in other frameworks that are needed due to the domain or business drivers. There are many other frameworks and some are defined for specific domains or technologies. Some of these frameworks are proprietary and others are available for anyone to use. In general, the EA team selects the framework or frameworks that best match the enterprise's needs, the maturity of the organization, and the team's comfort and experience with the framework. Developing an EA includes all the activities associated with creating and maintaining the enterprise architecture for a specific purpose.
The EA plan provides the blueprint for transforming the enterprise from the current state to the desired end state that can execute the desire outcomes. That desired state will likely need to address organizational change, business process transformations, data integration, systems reengineering, and technology modernization. EA serves as a bridge between the enterprise's vision and strategy and how the underlying layers of business elements including business processes and people are organized, as well as the flow of information and data elements.
Business processes and information are not necessarily automated by EIT. For example, without EIT automation, workers can manually take measurements, create reports, and deliver data and information in those reports. Nonetheless, a complete EA includes those un-automated business elements. On the other hand, where business process and information flows are automated with EIT, EA describes the interdependencies and linkages between different parts of the enterprise, information, applications, and technology infrastructure.
Distinguishing between EA and EIT is important, and by doing so, an organization should clearly recognize that there is a choice to either support business roles, business processes, and information flows with automation or keep them manual. Once senior management has approved the start of the architectural work, the first task is to create the architectural vision. The architecture vision is a high-level description of the current and desired architectures, most likely an enhanced vision from the outputs from senior management's strategic planning sessions see Strategy and Governance.
The vision describes what will be delivered and its desired impact on the organization, including the business, data, application, and technology layers. These high-level descriptions are further developed in subsequent phases. The architectural vision also typically outlines a program to develop and deploy the vision. The artifact of this effort is often called the Statement of Architecture Work. This document is circulated among management and all the stakeholders to build a consensus. This consensus building process is critical and can make or break the entire EA effort.
And, one of the most important aspects of this document is the definition of the scope of the effort. Whether developing a long-term enterprise strategy or understanding your current and desired technical architectural capacity, you can't get to where you want to go unless you know where you are. This is a careful analysis process and it is critical to the success of the endeavor. Along with definition of these states, this process should be able to define the purpose of the upcoming EA effort.
What does the business want to accomplish with the project?
Information architecture: The key to governance, integration and automation
What elements of the business are not well aligned and must be corrected in the future? The team identifies the investment decisions or technical directions that need guidance. The strategy is most often a long-range plan for achieving organizational goals to meet mission priorities while effectively using available resources. A strategy is often formulated to help an organization achieve an economic, competitive, or positional advantage. It is important to note that there is significant disagreement as to exactly how to define the "as is" and "to be" states.
Some AE teams believe that you should describe the current state first and then create the vision of the future state. Others AE teams believe that you should define the future state before understanding the current state. This second group believes that if you know the current state well, it will influence your vision of the future state too much. They believe that people have a tendency of "editing" their vision of the future based upon what they already know about the present.
It is true that the future state definition might need to be "scaled back" when it is determined to be unfeasible; however, during this phase, the vision of the future should be relatively unbridled. The scope of the EA establishes many aspects of this current EA project. In essence, the team defines what part of the "to be" or desired state they want to focus on in this current cycle. Things that can be considered are:.
On the other hand, the EA should not be so detailed that it over-constrains the enterprise. And, it should be sufficiently general to provide latitude in system design decisions and be responsive to technology changes. The business architecture describes the enterprise's product or service strategy, as well as the organizational, functional, informational, and geographic aspects of the enterprise's current business environment.
The goal is to create a refined baseline or "as is" description, which is usually an enhancement of what was created in preliminary efforts. The effort then develops a business architecture of the desired state. Once the "as is" and "to be" business architectural states are described, the EA team then performs a detailed "gap analysis" between the current and desired states.
This effort will likely create artifacts such as use case models, activity models, and information exchange matrixes. It will also likely define candidate roadmaps for achieving the desired state. In the figure, the center circle represents concepts and includes capability, value, organization, and information. These concepts are considered core, because they are very stable business perspectives that remain relatively constant. Changes occur as required to accommodate business and EIT as they evolve. EIT inherits some of these blueprints from the business and transforms them into aligned, EIT-focused forms.
The outer orange circle in the figure shows influencing perspectives. For example, strategies continue to evolve in real time while new business and EIT products and services are introduced routinely.
These examples show how the outer circle of business abstractions are more dynamic than the stable core. Collectively, when mapped and presented appropriately, the core and extended views provide a complete planning view. If you look carefully, you can likely see the correspondence between this business ecosystem view and some of the architecture frameworks that have been developed and described in Architectural Framework, Methods, and Processes.
Even simple concepts, like value stream or capability cross-mapping, serve as a basis for business-driven roadmaps and plans. Collectively, all of these perspectives answer important questions such as why take action, what is impacted, or how to accomplish a particular task. Figure 8. Throughout the process, the artifacts are reviewed by the stakeholders to ensure that the architecture is on track. In addition, it provides the EA team with information about the potential impact of early business architecture decisions.
Once the business architecture has been reviewed and approved, all artifacts need to be added to the architectural repository. Once the business architecture effort is complete or nearly so, the EA team can start working with EIT on the information systems architecture. As with the business architectural effort, once the "as is" and "to be" states are defined, a gap analysis needs to be performed, which gives a detailed understanding of the scope of the implementation effort. Some EA specialists recommend a data-driven approach, while others recommend a functional or application-development approach.
It appears that the effectiveness of the approach often depends upon the domain and the scope of the EA effort, and what is required to fill "the gap. This effort needs to not only define the architecture, but also needs to show how the new architecture will support the business architecture and the architecture vision.
The connection needs to be clear to all the stakeholders. It also needs to show how the old elements of the infrastructure will connect to any new elements. There are also typically many application architecture artifacts that are created during this effort. Among them are:. The next set of activities are to understand the current technology architecture and to develop the target future technology architectures that will enable the application and data components of the EIT architecture and, of course, the architecture vision.
This effort includes both creating the hardware infrastructure computers, networks, and devices and the software infrastructure architectures operating systems, software platforms, underlying applications, or tools. This effort requires understanding newly available technologies that might enhance what can be delivered to stakeholders and that might increase application performance.
And, as before, the gap analysis between the current and desired states is critical. The next effort typically concentrates on how to deliver the architectures to the enterprise. It looks at the gap analysis and the recommendations, and creates an optimized roadmap for the implementation that is based upon business requirements, stakeholder requirements, the ability of the organization to change, and available budget. The EA team identifies opportunities and solutions to take advantage of quickly.
It also identifies implementation constraints that should be avoided or solved quickly. The team usually looks at "filling the gap" incrementally, trying to ensure that the enterprise sees the most value for its investment as quickly as possible. The main output of this work provides the basis of a well-considered plan called an implementation and migration plan. Components that are created in this effort are:. When the implementation and migration plan is relatively complete, management and stakeholders need to clearly understand both the cost and the benefits realized value of each step or work package of the migration.
When the migration plan reaches consensus among all the relevant parties, the implementation and migration plan is integrated with the enterprise's other change initiatives. At this point, the architecture development cycle should be completed.
Deriving deeper meaning
All artifacts of the process should be updated and added to the architectural repository. In addition, lessons learned during the process should be documented to enable the enterprise's continuous improvement process. Architecture governance is the practice of managing and controlling enterprise architectures and other architectures at an enterprise-wide level.
It includes the following:. In this section, we discuss only those aspects of governance that are concerned with the EA. By taking a global, enterprise-wide, perspective across all the business services, business processes, information, applications and technology, Enterprise Architecture ensures the enterprise goals and objectives are addressed in a holistic way across all the application development projects and their deployment into production.
Heya i am for the first time here. I am hoping to provide one thing again and aid others such as you aided me. I find that definitions that are helpful need to answer the what, how and why questions in combination. So, a helpful definition of EA goes beyond what you have described here. In my practice of EA, it has been about describing the intended operating model of an enterprise and building the change program to realise this model.
It becomes a means of providing support to business change investment decisions which typically include an element of systems investment. I agree, these days I talk more about EA supporting investments in strategic change and enterprise transformation. A lot of people are wondering what Enterprise Architecture is and how it can help your business. I found a great explanation from the Enterprise Architecture Center of Excellence defining and outlining skills needed to be successful in enterprise architecture. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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