Blog

Enterprise Architecture 101: Everything You Need to Know

Enterprise Architecture 101: Everything You Need to Know

Enterprise Architecture 101: Everything You Need to Know

Enterprise Architecture 101: Everything You Need to Know

Enterprise Architecture 101: Everything You Need to Know

Enterprise architecture is a job field that helps determine the overall structure and operation of a company. If you're curious about this field, click here to learn everything you need to know.

Keyword(s): enterprise architecture

 

Want to learn more about enterprise architecture?

Perhaps you're considering a career in the field. Did you know salaries range from EUR78K to EUR151K with additional pay of EUR23K to EUR25K?

Or maybe you're a business owner looking for a way to improve your company. This architecture will undoubtedly do that--so get ready to improve your profit margins.

This article outlines the basic concept and structure of enterprise architecture. By the time you finish reading, you'll know what it is, what it's used for, and why it's essential.

Read on to discover more.

What Is Enterprise Architecture?

If you scan the web for its definition, you'll discover a mountain of conflicting descriptions. To make matters worse, most of these descriptions are incomprehensible.

Take a look at some phrases we found particularly worthy of a head-scratch:

  • Target-conformant placement
  • Embodied in its components
  • Visualization of any given area
  • Comprehensive operational framework

Now picture two or three paragraphs filled with similar gobbledygook. The definitions are so dense with abstract terms that a copyright lawyer couldn't make heads or tails of them.

Rather than circulating similar unintelligible nonsense, let's break it down in terms we can understand.

An enterprise architect is someone who studies how different elements in your business affect one other. System designers can adjust these elements to ensure your business strategy aligns with your goals.

Let's look at an example.

Imagine you teach a rowdy 6th-grade class. You want to reduce the number of in-class conflicts next semester. So, you spend an evening brainstorming solutions.

The in-class quarrels don't follow any discernable trends. Genders, topics, times--the arguments are all over the place. There's no evident pattern until you consider specific students.

Tiffany and Edward fought seven times last month; Lou and Thomas, six. The more you think about it, the more you see a pattern in students' interactions.

Some get along great, some not so much. All the problems arise from personality conflicts.

You spend a week observing your class. You study how each student gets along with every other student. You then use this information to build an alternate seating chart. You make sure conflicting personality types spend less time together.

Bingo! That does it. Conflicts in your class immediately drop by half.

Of course, this is a simplistic example. In in the real world, business owners use this architecture to guide their decisions on the purchase and deployment of technology. It's an amalgamation of business and IT technologies.

Four Perspectives

Microsoft's Michael Platt says you can approach the architecture from multiple perspectives. Each perspective can meet a need.

Microsoft finds the following four general perspectives to be essential:

  1. Business
  2. Application
  3. Information
  4. Technology

Advantages of using this type of framework include:

  • Simpler decision making
  • Optimization of asset use
  • Decreased employee turnover
  • Adaptability to changes in market or demand
  • Elimination of inefficient or redundant processes

If you'd like to learn more, check out our latest blog posts on all things architecture.

Business Perspective

When you approach your businesses' architecture from this point of view, you study how your company operates day in and day out.

This includes broad business strategies and high-level thinking. It also includes plans for moving your business from its current state to your envisaged future state.

Typically this includes the following elements:

  • Performed business functions
  • Major organizational structures
  • Relationships between these structures
  • High-level business objectives and goals
  • Common business processes carried out by your entire enterprise

You keep a close eye on how processes affect one another. You also define and observe standard practices.

Application Perspective

With this perspective, you define your business's application portfolio. There may be some superficial crossover with the business perspective. Recognize this perspective is application-centered.

The following is a typical rundown for the application perspective:

  • Descriptions of automated services that support your business processes
  • Descriptions of the interdependencies and interactions of your businesses application systems
  • Plans for the development of new applications
  • Plans for revision of old applications based on your business's objectives, goals, and sprouting technology platforms

This point of view may represent cross-organization services, functionality, and information. It links users to a variety of skills and job functions to achieve common business goals.

Information Perspective

This one's a little different. It defines and classifies raw data (spreadsheets, images, files, graphs, etc.) your business needs to run effectively.

It includes:

  • Standard data models
  • Data management policies
  • Descriptions of your business's information production and consumption

It also describes the connection of data to workflow. This includes structured data stores (databases), and unstructured data stores (spreadsheets, documents, and presentations).

The data may exist in either physical or digital forms which may require parsing.

Technology Perspective

Remember the IT component? Well, here it is.

The tech perspective lays out the software and hardware that supports your business. It may include, but is not limited to:

  • Printers
  • Modems
  • Operating systems
  • Desktop and server hardware
  • Network connectivity components

This point of view gives you a logical, vendor-independent description of your infrastructure and system components.

It provides evidence to support your application and information perspectives. It defines technology standards. It gives insight into the services necessary for the execution of your business goals.

Recognize that many perspectives may exist, but they're all part of one single enterprise architecture. Experts choose the angle(s) that give them the most significant insight or will help them achieve their goal.

What's Next?

Have you already mastered enterprise architecture?

Be aware this type of high-level reasoning requires an unusual kind of cognition. Think broad strokes and generalizations. It's the same process used by military leaders and corporate gurus alike.

If you study your business using these strategies, new strategies will present themselves. You'll make connections and notice useful patterns that have been right in front of you all along. We promise it'll take your business to a new level.

Are you ready to learn more? We offer a variety of classes on the subject. Courses include TOGAF, ArchiMate, and IT4IT. Jump over to our site and peruse our extensive course list.

See you there!