What is Enterprise Architecture (EA)? Wikipedia defines it this way: “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”. Wikipedia quoted: A Common Perspective on Enterprise Architecture Developed and Endorsed by The Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations.
Why study EA? EA gives us insights as to why a particular software application is being developed. If we are participating in this project, we want to be able to be sure it is successful. Why does this project exist in our organization? Is there a real need for it who will use it? Is it for our internal processes or are we developing something to sell to outside consumers? Studying EA will help us to ask the right questions.
Most Significant Challenge
What’s the most significant challenge facing organizations in the 21st century? According to an article by A Common Perspective on Enterprise Architecture Developed and Endorsed by The Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations “Poor strategy execution is the most significant management challenge facing public and private organizations in the 21st century according to Gartner (Lapkin & Young, 2011).” The article goes on to say “There are many reasons for the failure of an organization to bring its strategies to life. Escalating complexity and rapid change have made the development and execution of effective strategy increasingly difficult (Kaplan & Norton, 2006). The field of Enterprise Architecture (EA) has rapidly evolved to address these challenges.”
Back to the Definition of EA
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. This definition is from the International Institute of Business Analysts, in their publication called Business Analysis Body of Knowledge.
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.
Enterprise Architecture analyzes the gaps between the future state and the current state, and provides the road maps that support the evolution of the enterprise to the future state by closing the gaps. EA answers the question of the best way to get to where we want to be from where are currently are.
Intersection with Other Disciplines
Wikipedia says: “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.'”
The next step in our study could be having a look at EA Frameworks.