Enterprise Architecture

What is Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture is an important element in any organisation because it addresses the principles, methods and models used in designing the organisational infrastructure, business processes and information systems. Organisations are now starting to realise the importance of Enterprise Architecture when adopting new business strategies. Enterprise Architecture is about understanding all of the different elements that go to make up the organisation and how those elements
inter-relate.

Why is it Important?
Enterprise Architecture is a coherent description of products, services and processes within the organisation. The degree of usage varies between organisations. As organisations are now tending to focus on strategy and to introduce new business models that require the complete integration of technology, processes and the business itself, organisations are starting to understand how Enterprise Architecture can:
• Efficiently align business (processes, strategies, goals and so on) with technology (computer applications, data controlled by processes, etc )
• Provide control over Information Technology costs.
• Reach the expectations of customers (supply versus demand).
• Create a strategic vision for the whole organisation, particularly now that Information Technology has become such a powerful force, which is bringing about many fundamental changes.
• Manage and control organisational changes.
• Easily adapt to changes in meeting customer demands.

The need to move toward an Enterprise Architecture approach becomes more important when the current architecture stops supporting the organisation, or when the organisation starts to modify its current architecture. Also, the recent trend of migrating towards new modelling tools and frameworks has been increasing steadily.
Regarding the usage of Enterprise Architecture, such as how, when and to what degree it should be used by an organisation, JOHN A. ZACHMAN, in his “A Framework for Information Systems Architecture”- (IBM Systems Journal, vol 26, no 3 1987), states: ‘’Without a predetermined structure in the development of organisation-wide information systems, all efforts will lead to chaos and disintegration of the organisation’’.

What are the advantages in Using Enterprise Architecture?
The advantages for any organisation in using Enterprise Architecture are:
• Increasing controllability of organisational change.
• Clarifying connections between different domains.
• Offering a tool for improving business ICT (Information and Communication Technology) alignment.
• Increasing efficiency of the organisation’s Information Technology function.
• Minimising investment risks by reducing the complexity of the Information Technology infrastructure and increasing its flexibility.
Finally, although Enterprise Architecture is not a revolution in itself, it does offer a different perspective on the management of organisations and provides an effective execution of change management. However, it still all depends on how the organisation interprets Enterprise Architecture and how it is used.

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