Enterprise Architecture

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Two EA Definitions

Dragon1, the open method for Visual Enterprise Architecture, uses the following two shortened definitions for enterprise architecture:

  • 1, Enterprise Architecture, as in the field of EA, is the art and science of designing, realizing, transforming and innovating enterprise-structures (NL, ondernemingsbouwwerken)
  • 2, Enterprise Architecture, as in the architecture of an enterprise, is the coherent set of constructive, operative and decorative concepts applied onto an enterprise.
  • 2.a, in full Enterprise Architecture, as in the architecture of an enterprise, is the coherent set of constructive, operative and decorative enterprise concepts (such as governance, business, information and technology concepts) (that is or will be) applied onto an enterprise, being a structure (NL, het ondernemingsbouwwerk).

These definitions are new insights for EA as a result of the ongoing Phd/Research of Mark Paauwe and the practical application of the open EA Method Dragon1.

These definitions make a lot of things very clear and makes enterprise architecture very analytical and demystifies EA a great deal. Just what a lot of people need.

Having these definitions, working, documenting and visualizing EA becomes much more easy and understandable for management, and is of greater added value for them. I will try to explain this further.

Enterprise as a structure (NL, bouwwerk)

An Enterprise is a set of collaborating businesses and as organization capable of settings or governing it own identity mission, vision, strategy and policies. The enterprise-structure (NL, het ondernemingsbouwwerk) will gain constructive capabilities, operative capabilities and decorative capabilities by the application of the right business & IT concepts in relation to the mission, vision and strategy of the enterprise.

Concepts have principles which state their way of working. A principle in fact is the enforced way an entity works producing certain results. Principles are much more than just guiding statements. It is the knowledge we have about the way things work that is guiding us in designing and realizing structures. We take the principles into account.

Documenting EA

A common misconception is that EA is a document. In fact: EA can be documented by documenting the concepts and principles that are part of the enterprise architecture.

When documenting the enterprise architecture, you can easily pick your domain, like business, information or technology. Write down the concepts that are contained in the domain and write down the actual principles that are working through the unique implementation of a concept. For instance, in the business domain an enterprise may have One-Stop-Shopping or Direct Writing as business concept. The unique way the enterprise has implemented the concepts with processes, activities etc... is what we want to know and even more how well the concept works and conforms to the theoretical way the concept may work and produce results.

An important benefit of documenting you enterprise architecture is that you give insight and overview to management what concepts are applied onto the enterprise, how well these concepts work in producing results (ie. their principles) and how well the concepts match, fit or enable the enterprises mission, vision and strategy.

Visualizing EA

The strange thing is that most organizations, even those having well known EA-methods as standard, do not have their most important concepts, they depend on, insight or overviewed in an architecture-poster. You can have an applicationsblueprint or processlandscape. But that is not architecture. For example we want to see the concept 'Process Orientation' and 'Business Automation' working at a certain maturity level producing results (where business process and business application are not more than two important elements). F.i. how is dealt with ownership, KPI, management-controls, policies, business processes vs workingprocess, etc.... If this is all insight or overviewed with a poster, only then we are looking at the architecture.

Imagine buying, selling or building a house, bridge, church, airplane or shopping mall, without artist impressions, blueprints, conceptsketches and principledrawings.

So, an enterprise being a much more complex architectural structure than a church or bridge, also needs conceptsketches, principle-drawings, blueprints and artist impressions.

Documenting and visualizing the EA, so that it is of value to the CIO, requires looking at and seeing the right concepts, principles and architectures. This requires the usage of new definitions of enterprise architecture and a new definition of principle (the way enforced way an entity works producing certain results).

The purpose if it all

The purpose of an EA definition (and using it correctly) is gaining or having control over the added value of practising EA as a means for designing and realizing business transformations and IT-innovations in enterprises