Enterprise Architecture – In a Nutshell

In simple terms, Enterprise Architecture is a series of processes and methods designed to ensure the business has the technology to fulfil its mission. By working closely with the business leaders, Enterprise Architects will understand what direction the organisation is taking, and will provide strategies which will be used by the technology services to provide what is needed to allow the business to stay ahead of its competitors.

By using Enterprise Architecture to manage data concerning the integration of the business model, processes, data, technology, and applications, allows the business to flex to stay ahead. As technology changes, Enterprise Architects ensure all systems have appropriate roadmaps and replace retiring technology before it becomes a problem, possibly preventing the business from remaining competitive.

When a new opportunity arises, business leaders can enquire of the Enterprise Architecture if a new product, market, or revenue stream can be supported by the current business model. If not, Enterprise Architects can bring together the changes needed to meet this new opportunity, or explain why the investment would yield little or no return.

It’s clear Enterprise Architecture plays a vital role in the continuing success of the business, enabling it to stay ahead of competitors, or helping the business move into new opportunities. Enterprise Architects work closer to the business than the technology, which is a good definition. However, they do keep track of trends in frameworks, technology, and the latest ideas such as cloud, remote working, and so on. It is important for Enterprise Architects to attend product launches, symposiums, and keep a close eye on what the competitors are up to in the technology space. Knowing what is going on in AWS for example will give then an edge when it comes to those all-important decisions when the next big question comes from the board. 

What Enterprise Architecture is Not

It is a popular mis-conception that an Enterprise Architect can design and deploy an enterprise-wide system. While this might be possible, it isn’t the core competency. There is a world of difference between designing a change in business direction, and designing a new desktop service, for example. It is true that many Enterprise Architects would be bruised and bloodied from starting their career designing such systems, or possibly as an application developer. Then, as opportunities arose, they moved up the seniority level, probably to senior Solutions Architect.

The further up the chain the architect goes, the further away from the technology and closer to the business they got. For some, this is possibly a step too far and prefer the excitement of writing code, or putting together a network late into the night. For some, however, the chance to help move a business forward by looking two, three, or even ten years into the future is even more exciting. You get to see technologies, frameworks, and techniques that the competitors probably never look at. But as an Enterprise Architect, you no longer look at the technologies at a fine detail, Instead, they are now ‘black boxes’ with inputs and outputs. You will see them in the context of the business model.

In a nutshell, it would be a waste of an Enterprise Architects talents and skills if you think you need one to develop a new Intranet or upgrade your email service.

Where Provantage can Help

Enterprise Architects should naturally be part of the organisation, and therefore be made up of permanent staff. However, you might be looking to:

  • Expand the number of Enterprise Architects for a short period of time
  • Begin looking at creating an Enterprise Architecture Practice
  • Have started down the road of creating an Enterprise Architecture Practice and would like your EA Charter reviewing
  • Need help in putting together your Business Model and relate your processes, technology, and data to it
  • Assist with helping with Enterprise Architecture questions

Whatever your Enterprise Architecture problems may be, please call today to discuss.