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.

BCS to recognise The Open Group certifications towards CITP status

LONDON, March 9th, 2012 – BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and The Open Group have signed a new agreement that will allow Open Group certifications to be accepted towards Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status.

The agreement allows individuals who hold The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) and Certified IT Specialist (Open CITS) certifications at Level 2 (Master) and Level 3 (Distinguished) to be exempt from the initial review and interview elements of the BCS Charted IT Professional (CITP) process. Applicants will still need to take and pass the BCS breadth of knowledge test as well as be Professional members of BCS to achieve CITP status. The Open Group certifications complement CITP status as they are globally recognised, credible qualifications which demonstrate that IT professionals have the knowledge, skills and expertise required to complete certain jobs.

The CITP assessment process was developed by BCS in response to industry and government demands for deeper expertise and relevance from the IT profession.

Adam Thilthorpe, Director of Professionalism, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, explains: “We have assessed The Open Group’s Open CA and Open CITS certifications and are happy that the criteria and processes established by The Open Group meet the level of experience and competence demanded for CITP. Globally there are about almost 6,000 IT professionals who will be able to take advantage of this new agreement when it is launched supporting our objectives to champion global IT professionals and give practitioners the professional development and career support that they deserve. This is important as employers are increasingly demanding CITP recognition from candidates for key IT roles.”

James de Raeve, VP of Certification, The Open Group adds: “This agreement is great news for IT professionals who want to complete both a qualification from The Open Group and achieve CITP status without duplicating effort. The chartered status demonstrates the same degree of professionalism recognised in other chartered professions in the UK and provides independent validation that Level 2 and 3 of The Open Group’s professional programmes are at least equivalent to SFIA Level 5.”

CITP status shows that senior practitioners possess a broad technical knowledge and can demonstrate business experience, commercial accountability and competence in their individual IT specialism(s). Applicants need to have eight to ten years experience with at least three of the last five years in a complex IT role requiring business insight. Professionals also need to demonstrate competence in their chosen specialism(s) and interpersonal skills via an online interview with expert assessors.

Holders of The Open Group certifications forming part of this agreement can register their interest in achieving CITP status through the scheme at: www.bcs.org/citp-theopengroup [1]

About The Open Group

The Open Group is an international vendor- and technology-neutral consortium upon which organisations rely to lead the development of IT standards and certifications, and to provide them with access to key industry peers, suppliers and best practices. The Open Group provides guidance and an open environment in order to ensure interoperability and vendor neutrality. Further information on The Open Group can be found at http://opengroup.org [2].

HP Discovery and Dependency Mapping


Understanding the capability of an organisation is becoming fundamental to any transformation/change programme. Typically, this capability is often captured through Business Process mapping and modelling techniques. However, as technology advances continue, more and more vendors are providing automated solutions and tools to help with “discovering” assets across the enterprise and interpreting the “dependency” between Business services and Technology typically delivered through IT Departments.

This article introduces interesting advances being made by HP in the area of Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM).

I’d encourage CTOs, Enterprise Architects and IT Directors to continue reading and to embrace these new advances to help them better understand how to align Business and Technology in their organisation.

Advanced visibility into services and infrastructure

HP Discovery and Dependency Mapping Advanced Edition (DDMA) software automates discovery and dependency mapping of services, applications, and underlying infrastructure. Mapping helps you perform failure impact analyses which minimize downtime. Improved visibility into IT helps you transform into a modern, flexible, and converged infrastructure that reduces operational expense, defers capital expense, and improves business uptime. 80% of all service disruptions are caused by faulty changes, and DDMA provides the visibility required for more effective changes.

Key benefits

  • Increased productivity by automating the discovery of infrastructure and software
  • Lowered mean time to resolution for critical events by understanding service decomposition
  • Increased business service availability by intelligently choosing issues to address
  • Improved visibility into existing legacy IT infrastructure for data center transformation
  • Better planning for modernization of application portfolios and IT infrastructure

Further Reading

If you’re organisation is looking to map IT dependencies to reduce downtime and expense, and plan for change, you should consider HP’s DDMA solution. See below a white paper and a rich media demonstration.

Read the latest EMA Radar Report ranking HP Discovery and Dependency Mapping Advanced Edition (DDMA) software as the “best of show” product.

For a demonstration of this solution, click here. Note that this is a Silverlight demonstration and works best in Internet Explorer v8+.

The Seven Layers of the OSI Model


As interest and take up of Cloud Computing and XaaS-based (PaaS, IaaS, DaaS, SaaS, etc) utility computing solutions increase, CIOs, CTOs, Enterprise Architects and IT Directors find themselves increasingly under pressure to understand the impact of new technologies that could help improve the agility of the an organisation and improve the competitiveness of an organisation.

However, when embarking on transformation/change initiatives, several organisations stop at Business Process Re-engineering, Business Process Management and Business Capability Mapping activities in an effort to understand how to re-align the Business and Technology functions.

To properly comprehend an organisation all aspects of “people, process and technology” need to be understood.

At this stage, when considering “processes and technology”, it is worthwhile taking a step back and reminding ourselves of the “old school” Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) which touches on functions of a communications system in terms of abstraction layers. This model is something that all Architects should be mindful of when looking to understand an organisation holistically. It holds the key to properly capturing information that underpins the IT related considerations that all IT departments must manage.

The OSI Model (a gentle reminder)

The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) is a product of the Open Systems Interconnection effort at the International Organization for Standardization. It is a prescription of characterizing and standardizing the functions of a communications system in terms of abstraction layers. Similar communication functions are grouped into logical layers.

The OSI, or Open System Interconnection, model defines a networking framework for implementing protocols in seven layers. Control is passed from one layer to the next, starting at the application layer in one station, and proceeding to the bottom layer, over the channel to the next station and back up the hierarchy.

Application (Layer 7)

This layer supports application and end-user processes. Communication partners are identified, quality of service is identified, user authentication and privacy are considered, and any constraints on data syntax are identified. Everything at this layer is application-specific. This layer provides application services for file transfers, e-mail, and other network software services. Telnet and FTP are applications that exist entirely in the application level. Tiered application architectures are part of this layer.

Presentation (Layer 6)

This layer provides independence from differences in data representation (e.g., encryption) by translating from application to network format, and vice versa. The presentation layer works to transform data into the form that the application layer can accept. This layer formats and encrypts data to be sent across a network, providing freedom from compatibility problems. It is sometimes called the syntax layer.

Session (Layer 5)

This layer establishes, manages and terminates connections between applications. The session layer sets up, coordinates, and terminates conversations, exchanges, and dialogues between the applications at each end. It deals with session and connection coordination.

Transport (Layer 4)

This layer provides transparent transfer of data between end systems, or hosts, and is responsible for end-to-end error recovery and flow control. It ensures complete data transfer.

Network (Layer 3)

This layer provides switching and routing technologies, creating logical paths, known as virtual circuits, for transmitting data from node to node. Routing and forwarding are functions of this layer, as well as addressing, internetworking, error handling, congestion control and packet sequencing.

Data Link (Layer 2)

At this layer, data packets are encoded and decoded into bits. It furnishes transmission protocol knowledge and management and handles errors in the physical layer, flow control and frame synchronization. The data link layer is divided into two sub layers: The Media Access Control (MAC) layer and the Logical Link Control (LLC) layer. The MAC sub layer controls how a computer on the network gains access to the data and permission to transmit it. The LLC layer controls frame synchronization, flow control and error checking.

Physical (Layer 1)

This layer conveys the bit stream – electrical impulse, light or radio signal — through the network at the electrical and mechanical level. It provides the hardware means of sending and receiving data on a carrier, including defining cables, cards and physical aspects. Fast Ethernet, RS232, and ATM are protocols with physical layer components.

Blade Servers: Blade Servers – Easier Management, Better Power Usage and Quicker ROI


Blade Servers: Easier Management, Better Power Usage and Quicker ROI

HP and AMD

Learn how CIOs are embracing virtualization as a way to reduce overall costs, decrease power consumption and footprint requirements, and improve resource utilization. Companies of all sizes are rapidly moving to server virtualization — running multiple server OS instances on a single physical machine — because it is an ideal solution to the perennial problem of limited resources and server sprawl in the data center.

To read the article, click here.

Enterprise Architecture – TOGAF® 9.1

A revised version of the TOGAF specification, version 9.1, was released on 1st December 2011. There are no new features in this version; it is intended to introduce a number of relatively minor corrections and improvements to TOGAF version, launched at the start of 2009.

Mike Lambert, Chief Technical Officer and Principal Instructor with Architecting the Enterprise, and a core member of the TOGAF 9.1 Specification team throughout the period answers your questions about TOGAF® version 9.1. Click on the following link to read more. TOGAF® 9.1.

Continue reading

Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects (SSFEA)

I recurring theme over the past few years is the need for Enterprise Architects (EAs) to use soft skills to help influence the business stakeholders in an organisation.

Much focus has been spent on gaining TOGAF (and other EA framework e.g. Zachman, FEAF, PEAF, etc.) certification and other training qualifications but little effort / time is typically spent on learning the art of communication and influencing skills necessary to convince business stakeholders (C-level execs, Senior Management, etc).

Architecting the Enterprise (ATE) have developed a training course specifically to address soft skills required by EAs. Read on by clicking on the link: Training – Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects (SSFEA).

What is Enterprise Architecture?

I attended an EA conference in Barcelona, Spain last week (23-25 Nov, 2011) and what really struck me was that everyone had questions about the definition of Enterprise Architecture (amongst other terms).

I’ve also noted that there are (too) many forums springing up on LinkedIn where people from several organisations (globally) are asking basic (and important!) questions about the Practice of Enterprise Architecture and the role of the Enterprise Architect.

I thought I’d share a collection of clips from several eminent and respected colleagues.

What does Enterprise Architecture mean to you? Share your thoughts by replying to this blog post.