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Introduction to Enterprise Architecture

Organisations have begun to look for standard ways to describe and document their processes and systems using Enterprise Architecture frameworks such as Zachman, TOGAF, TEAF, FEAF...


An architecture is the framework of principles, guidelines, standards, models and strategies which directs the design, construction and deployment of business processes, resources and information technology throughout the enterprise.

Architectures are usually high-level views of the system they describe.

An architecture is typically made up of

  • a picture of the current state
  • a blueprint or vision for the future
  • a road-map on how to get there

So what is an Enterprise Architecture?

An enterprise architecture (EA) is a conceptual blueprint that defines the structure and operation of an organization. The intent of an enterprise architecture is to determine how an organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives.

Zachman defines an Enterprise Architecture as...

..."that set of descriptive representations (i.e. ‘models’) that are relevant for describing an Enterprise such that it can be produced to management’s requirements (quality) and maintained over the period of its useful life (change)"

Enterprise Architecture Frameworks


Frameworks are commonly used to organize enterprise architectures into different views that are meaningful to system stakeholders. These frameworks, commonly referred to as enterprise architecture frameworks are often standardized for defence and commercial systems. Frameworks may specify process, method or format of architecture activities and products. Not all frameworks specify the same set of things, and some are highly specialized.

The practice of Enterprise Architecture involves developing an architecture framework to describe a series of "current", "intermediate" and "target" reference architectures and applying them to align change within the enterprise. Another set of terms for these architectures are "as-is“ and "to-be".

There are many examples of widely used Enterprise Architecture frameworks across different industries. Some of the most widely know are:

FEAF, TEAF, EAP, DODAF, TOGAF, ZACHMAN, GARTNER

The Different Architectural Views Within A Framework

These frameworks detail all relevant structure within the organization including business, applications, technology and data. They provide a rigorous taxonomy and ontology that clearly identifies what processes a business performs and detailed information about how those processes are executed. The end product is a set of artifacts that describes in varying degrees of detail exactly what and how a business operates and what resources are required. These artifacts are often graphical.

  • A Business Strategy Architecture - defines the overall strategic direction of the business, the vision, mission, business plans and overall business objectives.
  • A Business Process Architecture describes the business processes that have to be put in place in order for the business to operate efficiently and support effectively the enterprise business objectives.
  • A Data/Information Architecture describes the structure of an organization's logical and physical data assets and data management resources.
  • An Application Architecture provides a blueprint for the individual application systems to be deployed, their interactions, and their relationships to the core business processes of the organization.
  • A Technology Architecture describes the software and hardware infrastructure intended to support the deployment of core, mission-critical applications.

Integration and Security Architectures

Integration Architecture can be broadly defined as the discipline of bringing data and information together and sharing it between repositories, applications, business processes, and organizations. Successful integration allows a company's entire organization to be brought into a cohesive, responsive infrastructure for making better decisions, driving the organization toward new business opportunities, and adapting to change in the marketplace.

The Integration Architecture domain also defines the discovery, interaction and communication technologies joining business processes across the enterprise, disparate systems and information sources. It documents the cooperation and interoperability among applications (Integration Services), the definition of the roles, technologies and standards to protect information assets (Security and Directory Services) and portal requirements to provide access to applications and data within the enterprise (Web Services).

The purpose of the security architecture is to bring focus to the key areas of concern for the enterprise, highlighting decision criteria and context for each domain.

The Security Architecture is a unifying framework and reusable services that implement policy, standards, and risk management decisions. The security architecture is a strategic framework that allows the development and operations staff to align efforts, in addition the security architecture can drive platform improvements which are not possible to make at a project level.

Since security is a quite often a system characteristic, it can be difficult for Enterprise Security groups to separate the disparate concerns that exist at different system layers and to understand their role in the system as a whole. The architecture provides a framework for understanding disparate design and process considerations; to organize architecture and actions toward improving enterprise security.

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