Why Enterprise Architecture ?

Why Enterprise Architecture ?

A question which is often debated within Organisations is what is Enterprise Architecture (EA) and do we need it ?

The question is often due to a mis-understanding of what EA is and sometimes down to the fact the company may already have Solution Architects and are unclear in the distinction between the roles and of Solution Architecture and Enterprise Architecture.

What is Enterprise Architecture (EA)

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a methodology which provides a structured,  co-ordindated, integrated and business driven approach to successful enterprise and IT transformation, which optimises costs, maximises business value and manages associated risks.

The Role of an Enterprise Architect

The role of an Enterprise Architect is complementary but distinct from that of a Solution Architect.

Consider a new hosing development each house has a building architect ‘Solution Architect’ responsible for the creation of the design, they work closely with the building developer ‘Technical Architect’  to produce detailed drawings, and to construct the house they use skilled craftsman ‘Domain Experts’, however each house must adhere to building regulations and standards ‘principles’ for use of external services ‘Enterprise Architecture’

The Enterprise Architecture works closely with the business to agree a target vision and establishes principles, re-usable standard architectures ‘building blocks’,  design blueprints and components  which support interoperability, governance and maximum ROI.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) Frameworks

An Enterprise Architecture framework describe a method for developing systems  in terms of a set of building blocks, and for showing how the building blocks fit together. There are a number of EA frameworks which can be used for developing a wide range of different architectures, some aligned to specific industries, government agencies, generic (Zachman) or be flexible (TOGAF)

EA Framework Examples include:

  • US Department of Treasury Enterprise Architecture Framework (TEAF)
  • US Federal Enterprise Framework (FEAF)
  • US Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF)
    • Previous frameworks include:
      • C4ISR  AF (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) Architecture Framework
      • US Department of Defense Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management (TAFIM)
  • UK Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework (MoDAF)  
  • Zachamn
  • The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)
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Managing Organisational Change with Enterprise Architecture

The Role of the Enterprise Architect

As key change agents, Enterprise Architects are often critical in the success of organisational change, working closely with all areas of the businesses and IT to produce ‘As-Is’ architectures, developing ‘To-Be’ architectures and any intermediate transition architectures.

Enterprise Architects need to combine architecture and domain knowledge with other skills such as leadership, persuasion, negotiation, communication and the ability to ‘Sell’ the value of particular options to sponsors and key stakeholder so that their ‘shared’ vision can be realised.

Change Management

The Open Groups ‘TOGAF’  (Phase H: Architecture Change Management) and some other Enterprise Architecture (EA) frameworks include change management

TOGAF provides a comprehensive Change Management and describes it’s approach as:

“The goal of an architecture change management process is to ensure that the architecture achieves its original target business value. This includes managing changes to the architecture in a cohesive and architected way.

This process will typically provide for the continual monitoring of such things as governance requests, new developments in technology, and changes in the business environment. When changes are identified, change management will determine whether to formally initiate a new architecture evolution cycle.

Additionally, the architecture change management process aims to establish and support the implemented enterprise architecture as a dynamic architecture; that is, one having the flexibility to evolve rapidly in response to changes in the technology and business environment.

Monitoring business growth and decline is a critical aspect of this phase. Usage of the enterprise architecture is the most important part of the architecture development cycle. All too often the business has been left with an enterprise architecture that works for the organization of yesterday but may not give back sufficient capability to meet the needs of the enterprise of today and tomorrow.”

JP Kotter, a professor from the Harvard Business School, is a world-renowned leadership and organisation change expert http://www.kotterinternational.com/

In his 1995 book ‘Leading Change’, John introduced us to his Change Management process framework and the now famous concept of the ‘Burning Platform’.

His framework identified 8 steps to successful organisation change based on observations of where companies repeatedly go wrong and fail to meet their aspirations.

Kotters 8 Steps

The first three steps are about creating a climate for change

The next three steps are about engaging and enabling the whole organisation

The last two steps are about implementing and sustaining change

By using Kotters 8 step Change Management framework with Enterprise Architecture best practices we can deliver complex organisational changes to the business

I a future blog I will describe each of the 8 steps in more detail, enjoy