What Is Enterprise Architecture?

For those new to the subject of Enterprise Architecture or indeed for those who have differing views on what it should be take a look at some of the international definitions available:

Agile EA's definition of Enterprise Architecture

There are many different Viewpoints on EA, but the two most common ones that differ are:

Enterprise Architecture (Software Developers or Project Managers (segment) (view)) = The development of a coherent set of Application Architectures for an Enterprise level system or set of Application systems. In some cases this might also involve the definition of Business processes and other business domain modeling specifically for the Application. Typically caried out by a Solutions Architect (and those) who know about Databases, Messaging, Portals, Application and Web servers, etc. This would also typically be implemented in a Programme, a Project of work or even as a Business as usual process.

Enterprise Architecture (CEO, CIO (enterprise or holisitc view)) = the management and definition of the Architecture of the Enterprise (set of organisations) that includes everything from the Business Strategy, to the Business Operation Architecture (static and dynamic) for the purposes of optimizing the enterprise; the Information systems (made up of Applications, Services and Data) and the Technology and Infrastructure that this runs on. EA also includes aspects such as Security, Data, People and Performance. The primary purpose of creating an enterprise architecture is to ensure that business strategy and IT investments are aligned. Enterprise architecture models allow traceability from the business strategy down to the underlying technology, in order to do impact analysis and have the ability to react to changes quickly, govern the Architecture and guide the business. To contain the Knowledge and the memory of the Enterprise (Architecture) in a single point of truth.

Agile Enterprise Architecture follows the latter definition, but this encompasses the former definition as a sub-set of the latter super-set.

What's the purpose of EA?

EA’s purpose is to help the organisation understand that the business it does is itself a ‘Product’ that needs to be architected, grown, strategized about and evolved just like the Products and Services it creates for consumption by clients (EA can be achieved by using similar principles we use for full software development lifecycles and architectures)

Useful articles:

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