Enterprise Architecture is the organizing logic for business processes and IT infrastructure reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of the firm’s operating model.  Practitioners are called enterprise architects. Enterprise architects are practitioners of Enterprise architecture; an Information technology discipline that operates within large enterprises
Developed to respond to the need to align information technology investments with business strategy, the practice of enterprise architecture has evolved into a broad category of activities designed to understand, justify, optimize and, communicate the structure and relationships between various business entities and elements. Information technology ( IT) as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA is "the study design development implementation support Included in these practices are business architecture, performance management, organizational structure and process architecture. The term Business Architecture, is used to refer to a process model or profession Performance management is closely connected to Performance measurement. An organizational structure is a mostly hierarchical concept of subordination of entities that collaborate and contribute to serve one common aim Process architecture is the structural design of general process systems and applies to fields such as computers (software hardware networks etc
Modelling the Enterprise Architecture is becoming a common practice within the U.S. Federal Government to inform the Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) process. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The federal government of the United States is the central United States Governmental body established by the United States Constitution. The Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) reference models serve as a framework to guide Federal Agencies in the development of their architectures. The Federal Enterprise Architecture ( FEA) is an initiative of the US Office of Management and Budget that aims to comply with the Clinger-Cohen Act and The primary purpose of creating an enterprise architecture is to ensure that business strategy and IT investments are aligned. Information technology ( IT) as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA is "the study design development implementation support As such, enterprise architecture allows traceability from the business strategy down to the underlying technology.
Companies such as BP,Independence Blue Cross,Intel and Volkswagen AG also have applied enterprise architecture to improve their business architectures as well as to improve business performance and productivity. BP plc, previously known as British Petroleum, is the third largest global Energy company, a multinational oil company (" Oil major Volkswagen Group, or Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (German (listed as Volkswagen AG) is a German automobile manufacturing group currently
The Practice of Enterprise Architecture involves developing an architecture framework to describe a series of "current", "intermediate" and "target" reference architectures and applying them to align change within the enterprise. An Enterprise Architecture Framework (or EA Framework for short defines how to organize the structure and views associated with an Enterprise Architecture. Another set of terms for these are "as-is", "migration plan" and "to-be".
A subtly different alternative approach (and use of terminology) begins with the development of an unconstrained "should be" Strategic Architecture which may be thought of as a "stretch view". The Target Architecture then becomes an intermediate step towards this idealized, unconstrained Strategic Architecture for a specific change initiative. It results from the real-world trade-offs between the "should be" desired state versus affordability, business policies and so on. Therefore, under this approach there is a subtle but important difference in the meaning of "Target Architecture": it is not the ultimate goal, but rather an achievable, planned state with a delivery date. A possible advantage of this approach is that the trade-offs become more explicit than if one simply deals with "as is" and "to be", without considering the "should be" stretch view provided by the Strategic Architecture. Reference Architecture is often confused with Strategic Architecture, but encompasses the Strategic Architecture (the point on the horizon) and the other strategic building blocks, which may of course have become realised, that act as points of reference for each individual change initiative.
These frameworks detail all relevant structure within the organization including business, applications, technology and data. This framework will provide a rigorous taxonomy and ontology that clearly identifies what processes a business performs and detailed information about how those processes are executed. Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification The word comes from the Greek, taxis (meaning 'order' 'arrangement' and, nomos An ontology in both Computer science and Information science is a formal representation of a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships between The end product is a set of artifacts that describes in varying degrees of detail exactly what and how a business operates and what resources are required. The term artifact in connection with software development is largely associated with specific development methods or processes e These artifacts are often graphical. The term graphic design can refer to a number of artistic and professional disciplines which focus on visual communication and presentation
Given these descriptions whose levels of detail will vary according to affordability and other practical considerations, decision makers can make informed decisions about where to invest resources, where to realign organizational goals and processes and what policies and procedures will support core missions or business functions.
A strong enterprise architecture process helps to answer basic questions like:
A value-based approach to implementing an enterprise architecture is recommended in order to realize quick wins, most notably when the team is first being formed. An analysis of key questions as listed above that provides the most value in an organization should lead the enterprise architecture team towards their highest priority tasks. Teams that spend too much time documenting the plan, without providing real value to decision makers, will be at risk of being disbanded.
Implementing Enterprise Architecture generally starts with documenting the organization's strategy and goals. One part of this work is the company's Operating Model, which describes how the company wants to operate. An operating model for a Business is a schematic which shows the operating units for the business and the relationships between these operating units What are the requirements for Business Process Standardization and Integration.
The architecture process addresses documenting and understanding the discrete enterprise structural components, typically within the following four categories:
Wherever possible, all of the above should be related explicitly to the organization's strategy, goals, and operations for planning and decision-making needs. The enterprise architecture is most useful when documenting the current state of the technical components listed above, as well as an ideal-world desired future state (Reference Architecture) and finally a "Target" future state which is the result of tradeoffs and compromises vs. the ideal state. Special software is available and becoming increasingly mature to handle the complex task of mapping the enterprise structure.
Such exhaustive mapping of IT dependencies has notable overlaps with both Metadata in the general IT sense, and with the ITIL concept of the Configuration Management Database. Metadata ( meta data, or sometimes metainformation) is "data about data" of any sort in any media The Information Technology A Configuration management database (CMDB is a repository of information related to all the components of an Information system. Maintaining the accuracy of such data can be a significant challenge. CMDBs are for managing the current state effectively, while EA repositories are employed for corporate project and strategic planning exercises.
Governance is the key process to keep organizational changes on target for meeting articulated goals and strategies defining the future state of the enterprise. Information Technology Governance, IT Governance or ICT (Information & Communications Technology Governance is a subset discipline of Corporate Governance focused on Information Governance can be applied in various strengths from strongly enforced policies, to more subtle means such as the agreement and declaration of IT principles.
Enterprise Architecture requires appropriate positioning in the organization to be successful. One such analogy of city-planning is often referenced for enterprise architecture groups. A common issue for groups that are granted too much authority is becoming known as an "Ivory Tower" group, alienating the teams involved in following architectural governance. A combination of a federated and a small enterprise team can be the most successful implementation, with a focus on democratic instead of authoritarian team involvement.
An intermediate outcome of implementing an enterprise architecture process is a comprehensive inventory of business strategy, business processes, organizational charts, technical inventories, system and interface diagrams, and network topologies, and the explicit relationships between them. The inventories and diagrams are tools to support decision making at all levels of the organization. It is key that the information remain current to be relevant and useful; a process must exist to keep the information "evergreen. "
The organization must design and implement processes that ensure continual movement from the current state to the future state, keeping the details current. The future state planning will generally be a combination of one or more:
Enterprise Architecture is a key component of the Information technology governance process at any organization of significant size. Information Technology Governance, IT Governance or ICT (Information & Communications Technology Governance is a subset discipline of Corporate Governance focused on Information More and more companies are implementing a formal enterprise architecture process to support the governance and management of IT. However, as noted in the opening paragraph of this article it ideally relates more broadly to the practice of business optimization in that it addresses business architecture, performance management and process architecture as well. Performance management is closely connected to Performance measurement. Process architecture is the structural design of general process systems and applies to fields such as computers (software hardware networks etc Enterprise Architecture is also related to performance engineering, IT portfolio management and metadata in the enterprise IT sense. Within Systems engineering, performance engineering encompasses the set of roles skills activities practices tools and deliverables applied at every phase of the Systems IT portfolio management is the application of systematic management to large classes of items managed by enterprise Information Technology (IT capabilities Metadata ( meta data, or sometimes metainformation) is "data about data" of any sort in any media
The following image from the 2006 FEA Practice Guidance of US OMB sheds light on the relationship between enterprise architecture and segment(BPR) or solution architectures. (From this figure and a bit of thinking one can see that software architecture is truly a solution architecture discipline, for example. )
Activities such as software architecture, network architecture, database architecture may be seen as partial contributions to a solution architecture, or at a lower level below solution architecture if you like.
Frameworks are commonly used to organize enterprise architectures into different views that are meaningful to system stakeholders. These frameworks, commonly referred to as enterprise architecture frameworks are standardized for both defense and commercial systems. An Enterprise Architecture Framework (or EA Framework for short defines how to organize the structure and views associated with an Enterprise Architecture.  Frameworks may specify process, method or format of architecture activities and products. Not all frameworks specify the same set of things, and some are highly specialized. The following diagram depicts some common frameworks and their applicability to the architecture levels defined in the 2006 FEA practice guidance from OMB.
|Applicability of Common Frameworks||FEAP||EAP (Spewak)||Zachman ZIFA||Martin (Information Engineering)||IDEF||DODAF (C4ISR)||TOGAF||UML|
The output of enterprise architecture activities are called artifacts. Artifacts may be specified as visual or diagramatic in format. DODAF and UML specify many visual artifact formats. Zachman ZIFA, the first EA framework, and its derivatives Spewak EAP and FEAF, do not specify any visual artifacts and instead concentrate on "primitives", or simple rows of data in an inventory. For example, all the applications at ACME Lumber might be listed, and in a separate list all the locations of ACME Lumber can be found. Zachman claims that most of the value is in the relationships between two such lists or inventories, for example the derivative list of which applications are used at which locations of ACME Lumber.