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Please find my brief overview of Enterprise Architecture and its role for the business solution. Enterprise Architecture maturity begins when a business starts thinking by notions of business capabilities. Focus on Enterprise Product (outcome and value) is the highest level of maturity. Enterprise Architectures are positioned to deliver the value.

What is Enterprise Architecture about

Businesses get more digital, and IT complexity grows with new technology investments.

Enterprise Architecture

According to Gartner’s glossary,

Enterprise Architecture 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. Enterprise Architecture 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.

All was not done once the USA Constitution was written. It still had to be ratified; remember, three months to create the Constitution and three years to gain the support of the states and get it ratified! Enterprise architects and their chartering managers must realize, too, that their job is not done once the architecture is written. The next phase, gaining broad support and getting the architecture rolled out, is generally the more significant challenge.

Enterprise Architecture landscape is generally composed of the following 5 categories:

  1. Business architecture. Understanding how the business is running, what its needs are, what is missing, and what needs to be changed or improved.

  2. Information architecture. Finding out what is the data that the business uses, who manages the data, who uses the data, the classification of data to “information worlds” (also known as information entities) and of constraints that should be applied to data according to the business needs and limitations.

  3. System architecture. Finding out current systems inventory, which systems are missing, how systems should be architected, and developed to support the business architecture.

  4. Technology architecture. Current and wanted technology architecture that is needed to support business, information, and system architectures. Finding out if new technologies might help reach the business vision.

  5. Enterprise Architecture governance steps. Ensuring that the new architecture manifests itself in daily IT work.

Who is Enterprise Architect

Even in organizations in which enterprise architecture is not fully embraced, and the function is not empowered correctly, architects can make very significant future-shaping contributions to the enterprise. At any rate, with enterprise-wide perspective, decision scope, and influence, enterprise architects have the opportunity to be celebrated by helping their organizations be great.

Role of Enterprise Architect

The Enterprise Architect is one of the strategic roles within the organization. Enterprise Architect job covers five distinct areas:

  1. Business Architecture

  2. Information Architecture

  3. Application Architecture

  4. Technology Architecture

  5. Solution Architecture.

The Enterprise Architect is the senior level of Technical Architect. The Enterprise Architect ensures that the overall Information and Communications Technology (ICT) architecture are maintained coherently, and those appropriate considerations are made for its security and quality.

The primary role of the EA is to ensure that the respective business, application, data, and technology perspectives are in line with the organization’s technology and governance strategies, policies, and standards. The EA is challenged with taking a company’s business strategy and then defining an IT systems architecture to support that strategy.

The EA uses models and architectural frameworks to identify significant relationships and gaps between business objectives, processes, and ICT systems. Deliver roadmaps that enhance operational efficiency and provide visionary guidance for project solutions.

Responsibilities and main activities of an Enterprise Architect

  1. Manage, use and maintain IT architecture models

  2. Implement the strategy for the development of IT architecture work

  3. Direct IT architecture activities

  4. Control the management of IT architectures

  5. Participate in the design and implementation of IT service management standards, tools, and methodologies

  6. Develop the architectural whitepapers, standards, policies, patterns and communicate to stakeholders

  7. Develop and maintain strategic and technology roadmaps.

  8. Model and assess the organizations’ Baseline, Transition, and Target Architectures.

  9. See how enabling the right architecture practice helps structure the organization, allowing leaders to have a good overview of the capabilities, processes, systems, and technology in a connected way, and bring a new innovative vision to the company.

  10. Balance relationship with different stakeholder groups, especially ones that challenge his/her ideas

  11. Collaborating with teams across the broader organization

  12. Dealing with high-level business stakeholders

  13. Evangelize architectures and strategies to executives

The Enterprise Architect is usually familiar with and experienced in the application of one or more architecture frameworks and any associated architecture development methods, including at least one of the following: TOGAF, Zachman, SAFE, and others.

Enterprise Architect is an Expert in the Domain

Enterprise architects today must understand their businesses and the qualities their stakeholders care about. They need to actively study exemplars in their organizational spheres of interest and understand how they achieve the qualities and capabilities that make them successful.

Capabilities are the essential building blocks of the enterprise. Capabilities are generated by a mix of

  • people (knowledge, experience, talent, and skill),

  • process (activities and collaborations),

  • technology (application solutions and computing systems),

  • and all above supported by resources (financial and facilities).

They need to see the big picture, think in terms of the system, and make tradeoffs across the system to address cross-cutting concerns.

The big picture is the entire business.

The architect must be comfortable with the concept of “good enough”.

“Just in time, just enough” architecture

Enterprise Architect is a Strategist

Enterprise architecture supports business goals and strategy.

In short, the business strategy formulates how the business is thriving. Being great requires focused attention on what matters.

The essential components of business strategy are:

  • identity,

  • value proposition,

  • and business capabilities.

Identity determines the organization’s defining purpose, the scope of value contribution, and the essential properties or characteristics of the business. The value proposition establishes what unique and compelling value the organization provides to its shareholders, to its customers, and its employees and partners in the value chain. The business capabilities establish how the business provides this value and achieves its identity.

Strategy determines how the business competes for capital, customers, employees, and partners.

Enterprise architecture provides the essential bridge, allowing a conscious, deliberate process for moving from business strategy to a business capabilities architecture that can be used to partition the problem, making the strategy executable.

Technology is used to underpin strategies.

The entire enterprise architecture team must have an up-to-date understanding of the business strategy as well as the business context in which the strategy makes sense. An enterprise architect understands the current capabilities of the business and what it would take to build new capabilities.

Moreover, the enterprise architecture team is responsible for reinterpreting the business strategy in terms that are actionable within the communities it leads. Thus, enterprise architects set objectives for enterprise architecture work that contributes directly to business objectives, exploring and documenting this contribution to the business strategy through strategy maps.

Several questions arise when you first decide to employ enterprise architecture in your organization

  1. What do we want to achieve by working with enterprise architecture in our organization?

  2. What level of ambition should we select?

  3. Which enterprise architectural artifacts should we consider?

  4. How will we define the role of the enterprise architect?

  5. Who is involved in our efforts, when, and in what ways?

  6. How will we gain support and acceptance for enterprise architectural practices?

Few recipes before start doing Enterprise Architecture

  1. When addressing enterprise architecture, don’t grasp it in one bite. Do it bit by bit in a structured and controlled manner, just enough just in time.

  2. Think about a practical and powerful approach to improve your maturity of enterprise architecture thinking and to work within your organization.

  3. Increase your professionalism with enterprise architecture to make concrete steps and deploy an enterprise architecture and related practices in your organization.

  4. Share enterprise architecture knowledge not just within the enterprise architecture group, but also with stakeholders like business relationship managers, operation and development groups, the CIO.

  5. Creating the architecture in isolation means that it is not alive to the organization. It is impossible to establish entirely professional architectural practices within a month. All kinds of things are involved, and not everything can happen simultaneously.

  6. Use enterprise architecture to coordinate the content of change occurring in an organization. If nothing has to be changed, there is no need for enterprise architecture.

  7. Enterprise architecture is not a goal in itself, but a tool for managing the changes formulated in strategic dialogue and realized in development with architecture.

  8. There is a big difference between a good product and getting that good product accepted.

  9. Prepare enterprise architecture vision document before deep dive.

  10. Enterprise architecture is not just something for the IT department, but involves business and IT together.

  11. Enterprise architecture practice is a part of the organizational culture. - It is as natural as project planning.

  12. Make quick scan and position yourself (your organization) where you: enabling, isolation, barrier, losing.

  13. Assess your organization’s maturity level (enterprise architecture maturity matrix).

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