Enterprise architecture

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Enterprise architecture (EA) is "a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a comprehensive approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy. Enterprise architecture applies architecture principles and practices to guide organizations through the business, information, process, and technology changes necessary to execute their strategies. These practices utilize the various aspects of an enterprise to identify, motivate, and achieve these changes." [1]

Contents

Practitioners of enterprise architecture, enterprise architects, are responsible for performing the analysis of business structure and processes and are often called upon to draw conclusions from the information collected to address the goals of enterprise architecture: effectiveness, efficiency, agility, and continuity of complex business operations.

Overview

In the enterprise architecture literature and community, there are various perspectives in regards to the meaning of the term enterprise architecture. As of 2012, no official definition exists; rather, various organizations (public and private) promote their understanding of the term. Consequently, the enterprise architecture literature offers many definitions for the term enterprise architecture; some of which are complementary, others are nuances, and others yet are in opposition. [2]

The MIT Center for Information Systems Research (MIT CISR) in 2007 defined enterprise architecture as the specific aspects of a business that are under examination:

Enterprise architecture is the organizing logic for business processes and IT infrastructure reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of the company's operating model. The operating model is the desired state of business process integration and business process standardization for delivering goods and services to customers. [3]

The Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge defines enterprise architecture as a practice, which

analyzes areas of common activity within or between organizations, where information and other resources are exchanged to guide future states from an integrated viewpoint of strategy, business, and technology. [4]

IT analysis firm Gartner defines the term as a discipline where an enterprise is led through change. According to their glossary,

"Enterprise architecture (EA) is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes. EA delivers value by presenting business and IT leaders with signature-ready recommendations for adjusting policies and projects to achieve target business outcomes that capitalize on relevant business disruptions. EA is used to steer decision making toward the evolution of the future state architecture." [5]

Each of the definitions above underplays the historical reality that enterprise architecture emerged from methods for documenting and planning information systems architectures, and the current reality that most enterprise architecture practitioners report to a CIO or other IT department manager. In a business organization structure today, the enterprise architecture team performs an ongoing business function that helps business and IT managers to figure out the best strategies to support and enable business development and business change – in relation to the business information systems that the business depends on.

Topics

The terms enterprise and architecture

The term enterprise can be defined as describing an organizational unit, organization, or collection of organizations that share a set of common goals and collaborate to provide specific products or services to customers. [6]

In that sense, the term enterprise covers various types of organizations, regardless of their size, ownership model, operational model, or geographical distribution. It includes those organizations' complete socio-technical systems, [7] including people, information, processes, and technologies.

The term architecture refers to fundamental concepts or properties of a system in its environment, embodied in its elements, relationships, and in the principles of its design and evolution. [8]

Understood as a socio-technical system, the term enterprise defines the scope of the enterprise architecture.

Scopes

Perspectives, or beliefs, held by enterprise architecture practitioners and scholars, with regards to the meaning of the enterprise architecture, typically gravitate towards one or a hybrid of three schools of thought: [9]

  1. Enterprise IT design – the purpose of EA is the greater alignment between IT and business concerns. The main purpose of enterprise architecture is to guide the process of planning and designing the IT/IS capabilities of an enterprise in order to meet desired organizational objectives. Typically, architecture proposals and decisions are limited to the IT/IS aspects of the enterprise; other aspects only serve as inputs.
  2. Enterprise integrating – According to this school of thought, the purpose of EA is to achieve greater coherency between the various concerns of an enterprise (HR, IT, Operations, etc.) including the linking between strategy formulation and execution. Typically, architecture proposals and decisions encompass all the aspects of the enterprise.
  3. Enterprise ecosystem adaptation – the purpose of EA is to foster and maintain the learning capabilities of enterprises so that they may be sustainable. Consequently, a great deal of emphasis is put on improving the capabilities of the enterprise to improve itself, to innovate and to coevolve with its environment. Typically, proposals and decisions encompass both the enterprise and its environment.

One’s belief with regards to the meaning of enterprise architecture will impact how one sees its purpose, its scope, the means of achieving it, the skills needed to conduct it, and the locus of responsibility for conducting it [9]

Architectural description of an enterprise

According to the standard ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010, [8] the product used to describe the architecture of a system is called an architectural description. In practice, an architectural description contains a variety of lists, tables, and diagrams. These are models known as views. In the case of Enterprise Architecture, these models describe the logical business functions or capabilities, business processes, human roles and actors, the physical organization structure, data flows and data stores, business applications and platform applications, hardware, and communications infrastructure.[ citation needed ]

The UK National Computing Centre EA best practice guidance [10] states:

Normally an EA takes the form of a comprehensive set of cohesive models that describe the structure and functions of an enterprise. The individual models in an EA are arranged in a logical manner that provides an ever-increasing level of detail about the enterprise.

The architecture of an enterprise is described with a view to improving the manageability, effectiveness, efficiency, or agility of the business, and ensuring that money spent on information technology (IT) is justified.[ citation needed ]

Paramount to changing the enterprise architecture is the identification of a sponsor. His/her mission, vision, and strategy, and the governance framework define all roles, responsibilities, and relationships involved in the anticipated transformation. Changes considered by enterprise architects typically include:

A methodology for developing and using architecture to guide the transformation of a business from a baseline state to a target state, sometimes through several transition states, is usually known as an enterprise architecture framework. A framework provides a structured collection of processes, techniques, artifact descriptions, reference models, and guidance for the production and use of an enterprise-specific architecture description.

Benefits

The benefits of enterprise architecture are achieved through its direct and indirect contributions to organizational goals. It has been found that the most notable benefits of enterprise architecture can be observed in the following areas: [11]

Examples

Documenting the architecture of enterprises is done within the U.S. Federal Government [22] in the context of the Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) process.

The Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) reference model guides federal agencies in the development of their architectures. [23]

Companies such as Independence Blue Cross, Intel, Volkswagen AG [24] and InterContinental Hotels Group use enterprise architecture to improve their business architectures as well as to improve business performance and productivity.

For various understandable reasons, commercial organizations rarely publish substantial enterprise architecture descriptions. However, government agencies have begun to publish architectural descriptions they have developed. Examples include:

Relationship to other disciplines

According to the Federation of EA Professional Organizations (FEAPO), enterprise architecture interacts with a wide array of other disciplines commonly found in business settings. According to FEAPO:

An Enterprise Architecture practice collaborates with many interconnected disciplines, including performance engineering and management, process engineering and management, IT and enterprise portfolio management, governance and compliance, IT strategic planning, risk analysis, information management, metadata management, and a wide variety of technical disciplines as well as organizational disciplines such as organizational development, transformation, innovation, and learning. Increasingly, many practitioners have stressed the important relationship of Enterprise Architecture with emerging holistic design practices such as design thinking, systems thinking, and user experience design. [1]

As enterprise architecture has emerged in various organizations, the broad reach has resulted in this business role being included in the information technology governance processes of many organizations. While this may imply that enterprise architecture is closely tied to IT, it should be viewed in the broader context of business optimization in that it addresses business architecture, performance management, and process architecture, as well as more technical subjects.

Discussions of the intersection of enterprise architecture and various IT practices have been published by various IT analysis firms. Gartner and Forrester have stressed the important relationship of enterprise architecture with emerging holistic design practices such as Design Thinking and User Experience Design. [26] [27] [28] Analyst firm Real Story Group suggested that enterprise architecture and the emerging concept of the digital workplace were "two sides to the same coin." [29] The Cutter Consortium describes enterprise architecture as an information and knowledge-based discipline. [30]

The enterprise architecture of an organization is too complex and extensive to document in its entirety, so knowledge management techniques provide a way to explore and analyze these hidden, tacit, or implicit areas. In return, enterprise architecture provides a way of documenting the components of an organization and their interaction, in a systemic and holistic way that complements knowledge management. [31]

In various venues, [32] enterprise architecture has been discussed as having a relationship with Service Oriented Architecture, a particular style of application integration. Research points to enterprise architecture promoting the use of SOA as an enterprise-wide integration pattern. [33] [34]

Tools

The following table lists some notable enterprise architecture tools listed by Gartner and Forrester Research in their 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 reports. [35] [36] [37] [38] [39]

ProductVendorHeadquarters
Planview Enterprise One - Capability & Technology Management Planview (formerly Troux) United States
ABACUS Avolution Australia
Ardoq Ardoq Norway
BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio BiZZdesign Netherlands
ARIS Software AG (formerly IDS Scheer)Germany
Enterprise Architect Sparx Systems Australia
leanIX LeanIX Germany
HOPEX MEGA International Srl. France
Alfabet Software AG (formerly alfabet)Germany
SAP PowerDesigner SAP-Sybase Germany
ProVision OpenText (formerly Metastorm)Canada
QPR EnterpriseArchitect QPR Software Finland
System Architect Unicomm (formerly IBM (formerly Telelogic))United States
ProductVendorHeadquarters

Criticism

Despite the benefits that enterprise architecture claims to provide, for more than a decade, writers and organizations raised concerns about enterprise architecture as an effective practice. Here is a partial list of those objections:

A key concern about EA has been the difficulty in arriving at metrics of success, because of the broad-brush and often opaque nature of EA projects. [45]

See also

Related Research Articles

Business performance management and "enterprise performance management") is a set of performance management and analytic processes that enables the management of an organization's performance to achieve one or more pre-selected goals. Gartner has officially retired the concept of "CPM" and reclassified it as "financial planning and analysis (FP&A)," and "financial close" to reflect two concepts: increased focus on planning, and the emergence of a new category of solutions supporting the management of the financial close.

Zachman Framework

The Zachman Framework is an enterprise ontology and is a fundamental structure for Enterprise Architecture which provides a formal and structured way of viewing and defining an enterprise. The ontology is a two dimensional classification schema that reflects the intersection between two historical classifications. The first are primitive interrogatives: What, How, When, Who, Where, and Why. The second is derived from the philosophical concept of reification, the transformation of an abstract idea into an instantiation. The Zachman Framework reification transformations are: Identification, Definition, Representation, Specification, Configuration and Instantiation.

The Open Group Architecture Framework TOGAF

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a framework for enterprise architecture that provides an approach for designing, planning, implementing, and governing an enterprise information technology architecture. TOGAF is a high level approach to design. It is typically modeled at four levels: Business, Application, Data, and Technology. It relies heavily on modularization, standardization, and already existing, proven technologies and products.

A federal enterprise architecture framework (FEAF) is the U.S. reference enterprise architecture of a federal government. It provides a common approach for the integration of strategic, business and technology management as part of organization design and performance improvement.

System Architect software

Unicom System Architect is an enterprise architecture tool that is used by the business and technology departments of corporations and government agencies to model their business operations and the systems, applications, and databases that support them. System Architect is used to build architectures using various frameworks including TOGAF, ArchiMate, DoDAF, MODAF and NAF. System Architect is developed by UNICOM Systems, a division of UNICOM Global, a United States-based company.

Enterprise architecture framework frame in which the architecture of a company is defined

An enterprise architecture framework defines how to create and use an enterprise architecture. An architecture framework provides principles and practices for creating and using the architecture description of a system. It structures architects' thinking by dividing the architecture description into domains, layers, or views, and offers models - typically matrices and diagrams - for documenting each view. This allows for making systemic design decisions on all the components of the system and making long-term decisions around new design requirements, sustainability, and support.

Enterprise modelling

Enterprise modelling is the abstract representation, description and definition of the structure, processes, information and resources of an identifiable business, government body, or other large organization.

Business architecture

In the business sector, business architecture is a discipline that "represents holistic, multidimensional business views of: capabilities, end‐to‐end value delivery, information, and organizational structure; and the relationships among these business views and strategies, products, policies, initiatives, and stakeholders.

Information FrameWork (IFW) is an enterprise architecture framework, populated with a comprehensive set of banking specific business models. It was developed as an alternative to the Zachman Framework by Roger Evernden.

In information systems, applications architecture or application architecture is one of several architecture domains that form the pillars of an enterprise architecture (EA).

Enterprise life cycle iterative process of changing the enterprise over time by incorporating new business processes, new technology, and new capabilities, as well as maintenance, disposition and disposal of existing elements of the enterprise

Enterprise life cycle (ELC) in enterprise architecture is the dynamic, iterative process of changing the enterprise over time by incorporating new business processes, new technology, and new capabilities, as well as maintenance, disposition and disposal of existing elements of the enterprise.

View model

A view model or viewpoints framework in systems engineering, software engineering, and enterprise engineering is a framework which defines a coherent set of views to be used in the construction of a system architecture, software architecture, or enterprise architecture. A view is a representation of a whole system from the perspective of a related set of concerns.

Enterprise Architecture Assessment Framework

The Enterprise Architecture Assessment Framework (EAAF) is created by the US Federal government Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to allow federal agencies to assess and report their enterprise architecture activity and maturity, and to advance the use of enterprise architecture in the federal government.

Treasury Enterprise Architecture Framework

Treasury Enterprise Architecture Framework (TEAF) was an Enterprise architecture framework for treasury, based on the Zachman Framework. It was developed by the US Department of the Treasury and published in July 2000. May 2012 this framework has been subsumed by evolving Federal Enterprise Architecture Policy as documented in "The Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture".

FDIC Enterprise Architecture Framework

FDIC Enterprise Architecture Framework was the Enterprise Architecture framework of the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). A lot of the current article is about the Enterprise Architecture Framework developed around 2005, and currently anno 2011 out-of-date.

NIST Enterprise Architecture Model Reference model of enterprise architecture

NIST Enterprise Architecture Model is a late-1980s reference model for enterprise architecture. It defines an enterprise architecture by the interrelationship between an enterprise's business, information, and technology environments.

BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio

BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio, formerly BiZZdesign Architect, is a visual modeling and design tool for Enterprise Architecture, that supports the application of ArchiMate and TOGAF, as well other enterprise architecture frameworks.

Roger Evernden is a British enterprise architect, musician, composer, writer and speaker.

The history of business architecture has its origins in the 1980s. In the next decades business architecture has developed into a discipline of "cross-organizational design of the business as a whole" closely related to enterprise architecture. The concept of business architecture has been proposed as a blueprint of the enterprise, as business strategy, and also as the representation of business design.

ADOIT is an Enterprise Architecture Management tool, providing functionalities and methods for enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation. The platform supports alignment and improvement of dependencies between business and IT, as well as helps manage and analyse the dependencies between different organizational assets. The EA suite ADOIT is based on various international standards, such as TOGAF, ArchiMate, ITIL and COBIT, and is TOGAF®-9 certified. ADOIT is developed by BOC Group, and represents their second flagship product, along with their Business Process Management and Analysis tool, ADONIS NP.

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