The Basics of Enterprise Architecture: What You Need to Know

The Basics of Enterprise Architecture: What You Need to Know

The Basics of Enterprise Architecture: What You Need to Know

The Basics of Enterprise Architecture: What You Need to Know

Enterprise architecture (EA) is how organizations organize and standardize their IT infrastructure to align with their goals. Read this to learn more about EA.

Keyword(s): enterprise architecture

Are you struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing tech environment? Are your customers demanding newer products and more technology?

If so, then enterprise architecture could be the answer for you. But if you’re left wondering what that means and how it can help you, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to learn the basics of enterprise architecture and how to implement it for your organization.

What Is Enterprise Architecture?

One reason enterprise architecture is hard to define is that it is best described as a culture or environment in which teams are encouraged and assisted in meeting the company objectives or goals. There are several enterprise architecture definitions, but we will stick with the basics.

The enterprise architect sees the big picture of the company while also working with the teams who do the day-to-day technical work of the company. They are the liaison between the executives and the employees.

The EA has a pulse on the company’s target market and their desires so that your business is creating products that will sell. It can be difficult to manage all three sectors of the product development process so having a solid framework is key.

You create the blueprint that everyone else will follow. This blueprint must align with the key initiatives of your organization while also giving structure for your operations team. It gives everyone a path to follow.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one single agreed-upon definition or standard in EA. However, as you build your program you will use the elements that fit with your company.

There are several benefits to using enterprise architecture and you’re sure to see your team’s productivity increase with this system. The key is to create a framework that supports your team to achieve their goals.

What Are the Six Basic Elements of Enterprise Architecture

There are six basic elements of enterprise architecture. These can be considered the layers of your plan. We will go over each one so you can see how you can utilize this helpful resource to reach your business goals.

1. Architecture Governance

This is your oversight committee. This person or team develops the plan and ensures that the rest of the team stays on track. This person ensures that the goals set by the team align with the overall goals of the company and fits within the current IT infrastructure.

2. Architecture Framework

The enterprise architecture framework is the foundation on which the next four sections are built.

It establishes the scope of the project (similar to the definition of done in the Agile method) as well as the strategy and technological pieces necessary. There are several frameworks that work well for different companies and organizations. Some of these courses include TOGAF, TEAF, and Zachman.

3. Implementation Methodology

The methodology takes the strategy and scope from the framework and outlines the steps necessary to complete the project. This can change between, and within, organizations.

Some teams might choose to use Agile sprints for their methodology, while others will use Kanban, Lean, or another method. However you choose, you will need to decide this upfront and ensure everyone is on the same page.

4. Documentation Artifacts

These are your deliverables. How will you and your team document your strategy, plans, and workflow?

If multiple people will need to work in this document and have access to it simultaneously, you might want to use Google Docs or Sheets. If only one person will create the document and then share it, Excel will work. You might choose to use a database or other online-based software.

The key is to establish this in the beginning and keep it uniform throughout the process. Everyone who needs this information should be given access to the program, or repository, you use to document each piece of the project.

5. Architecture Repository

Your repository holds your tools and processes for everyone to access. The beauty of a framework is that it becomes the structure that holds up the rest of your program. Your tools and processes do not become the framework, they are merely used to support the blueprint.

Different teams might choose to use different tools than others. However, they can all follow the same framework to ensure that everyone ends in the right place, which are the goals and objectives established at the beginning.

6. Associated Best Practices

Your best practices are your standard operating procedures and are outlined in the beginning before you start the project. This needs to be transparent so everyone on the team knows what is expected of them.

These six elements will allow you to build the blueprint that your team will follow to accomplish your objectives. As the EA, you ensure that your team is building the right thing at the right time to reach your business goals.

The problem with traditional business planning is that it takes months or years. In today’s market consumers want new products released regularly. To ensure this, you need a more dynamic planning process. And enterprise architecture provides that.

Standardize Your Processes With EA to Reach Your Goals

As you can see enterprise architecture can be hard to define. But when implemented you will see an increase in productivity while breaking down silos around your company. You will have a roadmap that everyone can follow. It is transparent and accessible to everyone regardless of being in the marketing department, sales, or IT.

When everyone has the same blueprint that maps out the tools and processes to complete their projects you will see transformation through standardization, decreased duplication, and tech alignment.

For more information on how your organization can get the proper training to fully implement EA for your company, contact us today.

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