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Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a strategic planning process that aligns business objectives with IT strategy, processes, and infrastructure. The main goal of EA is to create a unified IT environment across the firm or all departments in a public organization, with tight symbiotic links to the organization’s business side.

This integrated IT environment facilitates the achievement of the organization’s objectives.

Enterprise architects are the professionals who manage this process and create strategic and operational blueprints that define the structure and operation of an organization from an IT perspective.

Key Elements of Enterprise Architecture

The main components of EA include business architecture, data architecture, application architecture, and technology architecture:  

  • The business architecture defines the business strategy, governance, organization, and critical business processes. 
  • The data architecture describes the structure of an organization’s logical and physical data assets and data management resources. 
  • The application architecture provides a blueprint for the applications to be deployed, their interactions, and their relationships to the organization’s core business processes. 
  • The technology architecture describes the hardware, software, and network infrastructure necessary to support the deployment of core, mission-critical applications.

Benefits of Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture brings several benefits to an organization.

A key one is being able to accomplish enhanced decision-making as a result from having a holistic view of the relationship between an organization’s IT and business operations. This holistic view helps identify areas of inefficiency and provides strategic improvement solutions.

Additionally, EA facilitates better alignment between IT and business goals, resulting in more effective achievement of the organization’s objectives.  

Enterprise architecture can also foster innovation, as it provides a clear view of all IT systems and processes, enabling the identification and exploitation of emerging technologies.  

Common Enterprise Architecture Frameworks

Several established frameworks for enterprise architecture exist, including The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture, and the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA).  

These frameworks provide comprehensive methodologies for designing, planning, implementing, and governing an organization’s EA. They offer a disciplined approach to the design and governance of enterprise architecture, including guidelines and principles for its creation and management.  

Role of Enterprise Architect

An enterprise architect is a key role in any organization implementing EA.

They work to align IT strategy with business goals, ensuring that IT investments contribute to achieving the organization’s strategic objectives. Their responsibilities may include designing the enterprise architecture, implementing it, and monitoring its ongoing performance.   

They work with various stakeholders, including senior executives, to ensure the organization’s IT and business strategies are integrated and mutually supportive. They need a comprehensive understanding of IT, business operations, and strategic management. 

What is Enterprise Architecture? – 7 mins

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