What is enterprise architecture?

Many organisations struggle to define terms such as “Enterprise Architecture”.

Below is my view which hopefully makes sense!

Enterprise Architecture is …

The practice of mapping and understanding the relationships between the:

  • elements of a business (strategy, model, processes, organisation etc);
  • information necessary to operate the business;
  • applications that serve the business operations; and
  • technologies that enable these.

Enterprise architecture documentation is a blueprint showing a description of the current and target states of a business.

Enterprise architecture is used to guide decision-making, both by identifying new initiatives to improve business performance, and by evaluating proposals for changes to the business and its ICT systems.

The CIO would typically consider developing policies, standards and guidelines in the following domains:
  • Mobility;
  • Cloud computing;
  • ICT asset management;
  • ICT project governance and management; and
  • information interchange between systems.

To support the CIO, an Enterprise Architecture Practice (or Centre of Excellence) will be engaged and typically deliver frameworks, reference models, policies and standards.

Governance will typically be managed through Design Authority Boards or different committees who are responsible for providing assurance, guidance and advice to those involved in delivering change (affecting business and/or technology).

The CIO’s role in enterprise architecture is to:

  • encourage and support departments and agencies to develop, manage and utilize their own internal enterprise architecture;
  • facilitate the exchange of information to develop enterprise architecture skills; and
  • support ICT projects whether undertaken within Lines of Business, IT or elsewhere.

One thought on “What is enterprise architecture?

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