Friday, August 29, 2014

Enterprise Architecture Defined

When examining the various flavors of IT Architecture it is worthwhile perhaps to start at what some might consider the “top.” By Top, we don’t mean the best or most difficult but rather the top level of architecture – e.g. that level which has an enterprise level or higher (cross-enterprise) scope. Many people define Enterprise Architecture (EA) differently, but the common thread that passes through all definitions is scope and reliance on formalized “Frameworks.”  Also, many EA practitioners view themselves as architecture integrators who provide oversight across all types of design work done within their respective organizations.

Other key considerations about EA include:

  1. Most people who know about EA think of it in terms of the “Frameworks” which are used to produce EA “products” or “artifacts” (the output of EA). 
  2. Frameworks represent design and notation paradigms and are generally supported by meta-models constructed to emulate IT enterprise environments.
  3. Frameworks include: DoDAF, ToGAF, FEAF, Zachman, UML, MODAF, BPMN & BPEL, IDEF, C4ISR, ITIL…
Enterprise Architecture as a practice is most often associated with higher level processes such as Portfolio Management, Acquisition Management (mainly government-focused) and IT Strategy. EA artifacts tend to be more conceptual in nature with the expectation that the higher level description drives lower level designs (Solution Architecture) and artifacts. EA is also often times viewed in a more agnostic fashion in regards to specific technology than Solution or Infrastructure Architecture. 

This diagram illustrates how EA framework considerations might be reconciled with solution architecture elements
We will define EA frameworks in an upcoming post...

copyright 2014, Stephen Lahanas



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