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Enterprise Architecture

Platform:  IBM •  Open Source
Overview Challenges Solutions Offering

Enterprise Architecture is the process of aligning a business's strategic vision with its information technology. It connects different business units for synergistic communication and collaboration, creating a more seamless customer (or end-user) experience. It is about business and the IT working together to turn a company's vision of greatness into reality.

In other wards Enterprise Architecture is a logical organization of a business and its supporting data, applications, and IT infrastructure, with clearly defined goals and objectives for the future success of the business. A typical architecture consists of diagrams, or models, that show how aspects of the business relate. For example an organizational chart is a model of how business units relate to each other.

Gartner's definition is this: 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.

Enterprise Architecture focuses on connection, collaboration, communication of customers, partners, employees, stake holders etc . Enterprise Architecture helps the individuals and the groups and the departments or the line of businesses to think the united or corporate way rather than fragmented and siloed way. In otherwards helping to think corporately rather than locally.

The Enterprise Architecture defines the roles, business models, policies, standards, technologies and decision-making criteria for the acquisition and deployment of IT. The architectural process includes governance, business processes and a technology blueprint. As a key component of the architecture, the Enterprise Standards are important for defining the rules by which technology is managed, acquired and configured.

Enterprise Architecture looks for whatever is reusable, such as opportunities for standardized technical platforms and access to shared data. It is the overarching architecture that guides business, data, information, technical and network architectures.

Enterprise Architecture group having understood the macro and micro views of the of the business vision, bridges by mapping, defining and standardizing the technology, data and the business processes for the successful delivery of the project locally and yielding business growth corporately.

For example: Some projects use data that no one else in the company is aware of or is interested in. While there are some projects that use data that might be useful and relevant for many or everyone in the company either locally or even globally. This is where Enterprise Architecture comes into picture to make the later be available for the rest of the company through setting compliance standards and governing body and review board to rightly assign the ownership so that there is control and accountability over the company’s crucial information

Measuring progress is an important element of the Enterprise Architecture and Standards governance process. The Enterprise Architecture must be adaptive and accountable. The performance of the architecture is a critical success factor of its business value

  • Who is the customer that owns the data?
  • Who should receive permission to access the data?
  • What are the criteria to access the data?
  • What is the basis to meter the data to be used by other customers/ departments?
  • What is the impact of retiring an application?
  • What is the impact of moving a location?
  • What applications are needed to support a business process?
  • What is the impact of replacing servers?
  • What processes need to be developed to support a new strategy?
  • Where are the gaps or redundancies in our application portfolio?

How to achieve Enterprise Architecture:

Enterprise Architecture could be achieved by using the industry standard frameworks called:

  • ToGAF
  • Zachman
  • EA3
  • DoDAF

Any industry standard framework gives you an architectural skeleton that can then build with your models, methodologies, standards, compliances etc. A framework also provides guidance as to the information you need to capture based on the stakeholders.

Enterprise Architecture cannot be created in a vaccum. EA team must be prepared to work with people from various departments in the enterprise. Otherwise the very purpose of Enterprise Architecture will not be achieved. Also Enterprise Architecture team must educate stakeholders so that EA could be adopted and used across enterprise who contributes for the maturity of enterprise architecture.

Governance and or review board required for decision making and helps to define rules and strategies that will be used by the architecture. Typical boards that are needed to have a successful EA include:

  • Architecture review board
  • Configuration and control board
  • Administration guidelines

Though multiple frameworks could be used together, a consistent framework is necessary to ensure that investments in infrastructure, data and applications are made with this operating principle in mind. Enterprise Architecture covers the broad spectrum of technology environments to include software, hardware, networks, applications, data, security, access, communications, project management and other relevant architecture disciplines. These technology areas are described in domains, and each domain contains enterprise policies and standards to support the vision. Several enterprise policies are directly related to architecture domains.

  • Hardware Platforms – Desktops, Laptops, Servers, Printers etc
  • Software – Operating Systems, 3rd party software purchased for various purposes
  • Network Services – Routers, Switches, network protocols, network hardware components etc
  • Data and Information - Common data elements, data definitions and standards, naming conventions,
  • Applications Development – Home grown applications, tools
  • Security Services – Firewall, Virus scanning, secure transport
  • Access and Communications, e.g. Internet, telephony, voicemail, interactive voice response (IVR)
  • Systems and Project Management and Delivery

Benefits of Enterprise Architecture :

As the Enterprise Architecture initiative/process matures, some of the benefits that are expected from an Enterprise Architecture are:

  • Better alignment of IT with the business strategy and the vision
  • Reduced redundancy – software, application, data
  • Enhanced and streamlined information sharing across the enterprise
  • Interdependency is properly managed and reduced on key resources
  • Improved accuracy in scheduling software development / implementation
  • More accurate forecasting of development and support costs
  • More efficient deployment of technology solutions
  • More efficient use of resources

What we offer around Enterprise Architecture :

IntegritySpirit has very senior executive architects who could help an enterprise to define and set up Enterprise Architecture frame work, team and jump start it. Also to guide through the adoption of a particular framework that would best fit the enterprise.