Enterprise Architecture (EA) – Definition, Importance, And Implementation Methodology

EA Definition and Importance

By statistic, System-level planning also means failure, while on the other hand Enterprise architecture (EA) develops a scalable and a platform-independent application architecture solution. It can also be defined as a program or the systems-level perspective which is not enough for the planning and management of technology and other related resources in entire enterprises with a significant complexity and size. EA is the single discipline that analyses systems holistically and gives a strategy and business context (Valtonen, Seppanen & Leppanen, 2009). 

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EA can be determined as both a management program and as a design and analysis method because it provides actionable and capability coordinated views of the enterprise’s strategic direction, information flows, business services and utilization od resources (Wang, Li, Wang, & Jones, 2012).

  1. Strategic Alignment: This can help to maximize the effectiveness and efficacy of the resources, which in response can help to promote the organisartion’s competitive capabilities.
  2. Standardized policy: policy documents can include those which can be categorized as the general guidance, detailed process guidance, and specific program guidance. By using these policy documents succinct and a purposeful policy is established.
  3. Decision Support: Enterprise’s Architecture provides a support for IT resources decision-making at the executive, staff and management level of the enterprise.
  4. Resources Oversight: EA supports the application of a better process for selecting and examining investment in the IT resources from a financial and business perspective.

Six-element of an EA

  1. Framework:  it identifies the scope for developing architecture and establishes a relationship between the areas of architecture.
  2. Components: EA components are basically the changeable goals, standards, processes, and resources that can extend enterprise wide or can be contained within a specific line of segment or business.
  3. Current Architecture: it contains those Enterprises architecture components that are currently present with the enterprise at every single level of the framework.
  4. Future architecture: it documents those latest or modified components of EA that are required by the enterprise to fill an performance gap and support the new strategic initiative, technology solution and operational requirement
  5. EA management plan: it basically articulates the Enterprise architecture program and the documentation approach; it can provide descriptions of present and upcoming views of the architecture.
  6. Threads: the documentation contains threads of general activities that are present in all levels of the framework. The threads can incudes its standards, the standards and skill consideration (Lankhorst, 2009).  

Documentation (Artefacts) describing an organization’s current goals and initiatives are a strategic plan, SWOT analysis approach, existing operating scenario & the operating model specs and balanced scorecard specs. At the business level, EA artefacts enterprises continuously change their business services in response to some factors like customer requirements, new technologies, changes in the resource availability and different competitive strategies. These factors are recorded in at both the strategic and a business level for future perspective. Current and future architecture is also used at different levels of an EA3 cube (Simon, Fischbach, & Schoder, 2014).

The EA can be used by all type of enterprises. It can only be used by the enterprise firms. Because this framework is best suitable for them as they have to collaborate across disciplines and the requirement s of their own technology to function properly and also satisfactorily. If they failed to function together the customer experience may not work smoothly. Therefore EA system can be helpful for the enterprise firms only. Most importantly the result of enterprise architecture is not simply an organization. Relying on these EA practices of the architecture they required to execute their business plans or strategies. The enterprise must rely on technology for storing and collecting data, selling and implementing the good, and providing customer services. In this case, EA can help them to achieve the good technological practices in order to gain customer services (Reed et al., 2009).

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The effectiveness of enterprise architecture implementation plays a major role in determining the degree at which EA implementations. The enterprise architecture Implementation methodology focuses especially on the migration plan. It also provides methods and different practices to develop the To-Be architecture. The EAIM provides the approaches for examining developing as well as deploying ISs for requirements of business (Rouhani, Mahrin, Nikpay, Ahmad, & Nikfard, 2015).  

Six-Elements of EA and Documentation Artifacts

A large sized enterprise: KPMG

  1. Technology has become more than just supporting the toolset, it is considered and used as strategic assets that can be useful for non-profits accomplish company’s goal and fulfill their targets. Technology enables the organizations to make strategies that can be labour intensive or non-cost effective. It can also be used as a substitution of non-digital approaches.
  2. KPMH has been implemented enterprise architecture program
  3. EA is able to identify the gaps in the business and technology performance and the capabilities of the supporting it services networks and systems. Future architecture component required to close an present performance gap (Magoulas, Hadzic, Saarikko, & Pessi, 2012).
  • The people have the capacity, limitations, and choice that may not always along with business initiatives.
  • It is difficult to manage uncertainty or uniqueness without involving the real people making a human judgment (Ahlemann, Stettiner, Messerschmidt, & Legner, 2012)

In an organization, people get together to pursue many shared objectives. On the other hand, an enterprise is the business-oriented orgalization formed so that a founder can earn profits. A community group which is formed for planning an event is also considered a formal organization. Purpose of the enterprise is to attract clients, services, earning profits and selling goods. Example of an organization is a group of friends that formed an organization when they initiate a social club. On the other hand, enterprises are different from clubs or other non-commercial organization because of their entrepreneurial purposes.  Organisation and enterprise both are formal and informal. A formal organization has a structure or element. The employees that meet in the break every day for lunch form an informal organization. Formal enterprises may include partnerships, less liable companies, joint ventures, corporations, and the S- corporations. An enterprise is either formal or informal. It is more commonly used in reference to informal entrepreneurial activities. In an organization when there is no official leader, the more dominant person would likely to direct the conversation. The organization can be affected by both internal and external influences (Webb, Kistruck, Ireland & Ketchen Jr, 2010).

Some of the academic areas that can influence the fields of EA are Business management, IT management and IT governance (Enterprise Architect, 2015).

Technical level: This part of the company or organization carrying on the production function which can transform the inputs into outputs.

The managerial level: this level of the organization responsible for controlling and designing the production system in order to procure the inputs and disposing of outputs.  

Institutional level: in this part of the organization the organizations relates to its diverse environment, establishes its boundaries, determines its domain and secures its legitimacy (Baporikar, 2013).

An organizational network model or ONM is the executive team which sets goals and policy, evaluate results, and approves resources while the semi-autonomous functional groups and independent workers monitor ongoing programs of the business, team-specific resources and new development projects.  On the other hand, Persons/ Thompson Model is a three-level model in which an organization is very open to the new environment for determining its domain and to secure legitimacy. In this organization model, the organization is a rationale as it carries on the production function and tries to close the function from outside to protect them from other external uncertainty (Proper & Lankhorst, 2014).  

Different Levels of an EA

Stakeholders are all the individuals who have any type of concern with regards to the organization.  Example of stakeholders is head of the department, CIO, CFO, COO, business owner, DATA owner, software developer, controller, application owner, head of the department IT, portfolio manager, requirement engineering, internal/external audit consultant and business analyst. They are the people who deal with evolution, creation, operation or excretion of the elements of EA. The interest of these stakeholders can be expressed as the concerns. These stakeholder’s concerns over the interest in the system and environment, personal development, business, operational, organizational, economic, legal, political, regulatory, ecological, and social influences (Reyers, O’Farrell, Cowling, Egoh, Le Maitre & Vlok, 2009).

For ways to manage the change with the stakeholders

  1. Frame the team: this is the first step in which a clear and concise problem statement has been built that describes the issues that are being addressed. The key is to avoid some naming change such as specific organizational change.  
  2. Form a team:  after making the problem statement a list of stakeholders should be prepared, identify the levels of interest and influence of each all the stakeholders by using analytical techniques like stakeholder maps.  
  3. Engage the community: the community engagement is the important step which helps to drive makes sure that the process is consistent. The interview is the most effective way of engagement.
  4. Building consensus: provides stronger end results. It can be started just after engaging the community (Fakeeh, Qayyum, & Albarakati, 2014). https://evolllution.com/opinions/ways-manage-change-preparation-major-implementation/
  5. Structural aspects should be captured by EA are corporate mission and strategy, building enterprises, hosting the system architecture.  And a cultural aspect that needs to be captured includes communication style, leadership style, management style, strategy thinking, problem-solving, education, belief, expectation system, and experience.  
  6. A stakeholder is a team, an individual or company with interests in, or the concerns relative to the results of the architecture. Each stakeholder has different roles for different concerns. Some of the stakeholders in the company are CIO, CEO, business analyst, and owner of the company (Fakeeh, Qayyum, & Albarakati, 2014).
  7. By using viewpoints to frame the concerns, a special treatment of the concerns is enabled which allows the stakeholders to focus on the relevant topics. Viewpoint, identification of triggers and stakeholder mapping encourage management support, proactive stakeholder engagement and stakeholder buy-in which is most important for the success of the EA program.   
  8. Above mentioned strategies can be sued to manage the change to different stakeholders it includes identifying and examining the essential factors for the projects. It will allow the company to investigate whether they have the right resources and efficacy of the team (Worldcom, 2018)

Weak 3

Reasons why we need EA

  1. To align IT with the business
  2. For efficient IT operations
  • For the better return on existent investment
  1. To reduce the risk for the future investment
  2. For faster, cheaper, and simpler procurement (Tamm, Seddon, Shanks, & Reynolds, 2011)

Values of establishing EA program in an enterprise

  • It plays a major role in order to provide readily available documentation of the enterprise
  • The ability of EA to integrate and unify business processes in all over the enterprise
  • Ability to integrate and unify the data across an enterprise  and to bond with external partners
  • Its increased agility in decreasning the complexity barriers which is an inhibitor of change
  • It also reduces the time of solution delivery and develops costs by increasing reuse of enterprise models.
  • Ability to develop and maintain the common goal of the future which is shared by both IT and the business communities, driving continues IT/business alignment (Rodrigues & Amaral, 2010).

The risk associated with establishing EA

  • Stakeholders have no or very less knowledge of EA, therefore may not support it
  • A chief architect who does not have effective leadership results in a chaotic architectural design.
  • Not establishing effective governance early on may lead to a risk that everyone may develop their own working style.
  • Communication problem
  • It focuses only on technology, due to this the risk of making the technical decision by a non-technical individual may appear ((Rodrigues & Amaral, 2010).

 Ways to mitigate the risk related to establishment of the EA program

  1. Educate the stakeholders prior to state the EA program
  2. Making effective Communication with the stakeholders
  • Replacing the ineffective lead architect by someone with strong skills like communication, enthusiasm, and passion.
  1. Should focus on a diverse area and let the technical person make the technical decision.
  2. A person with a strategic mind should be hired to deal with the establishment of an EA program (Bernard, 2012).

Enterprises architecture implementation methodology

EAIM prepares a combination of methods and related practices to develop manage and maintain an enterprise architecture implementation project. The main aims of this approach is to implement the EA documents or artefacts inside the enterprise (Nikpay, Ahmad, Rouhani, Mahrin & Shamshirband, 2017)

The main difference between the EA framework and EA methodology  

EA methodology described how the EA documentation is developed, used and archived; it also includes the selection of modelling tools, framework, and online repository

EA framework is basically the structure for every information of organization that describe the scope of architecture and the relations between different areas of architectures (Stelzer, 2010) 

Importance of EA implementation methodology

  • It is important for storing, view and retrieving the EA artefacts
  • Helps the organization to innovate and change by providing flexibility and stability.
  • To reduce the risk associated with the future investment
  • To provide faster, cheaper, and simpler procurement (Rouhani, Mahrin, Nikpay, Ahmad, & Nikfard, 2015).

EA implementation methodology process

  1. establishment of EA program
  2. EA framework and selection of essential tools
  • Documentation process of EA
  1. Use and maintenance of the EA

Steps of Phase 1

Step 1: Establishing the EA management program and find out a chief architect

Step2:  Establishment of an EA implementation methodology

Step3:  Establishment of EA governance and make the link to other processes of management

Step 4: Developing an EA communication strategy in order to achieve the stakeholders buy-in (Schmidt & Buxmann, 2011)

Purpose of the EA framework in EA implementation methodology

The most important purpose of this framework is to identify the scope of a complete architecture. It can be determined as a communication model for the development of enterprise architecture. It provides principles, models, services, standards, approaches, the design rules, concepts, visualization, and configuration which further provide guidance to develop a particular type of architecture. These frameworks consist of various hierarchical architecture layers that maintain design constancy and decrease the number of handled artefacts. The framework can also consist of methods, tools and the documented processes (University of Gothenburg, 2017)

EA Implementation Methodology

EA framework in establishing the scope of enterprise architecture

An EA framework can provide an organizing structure for the contained in and defining an EA. It can also specify the model, data and different views required to understand the EA and define how to portray the connection between various types of EA information like mission requirements, IT capabilities and business processes. By using EA framework sped can be provided to the architecture development process (Magoulas, Hadzic, Saarikko, & Pessi, 2012)

The deeper historic information of Enterprise architecture framework indicated that EA frameworks initiated 2 decades before when the IBM started their business system planning. The main goal of this method was to help in understating the issues and providing opportunities with the current application of technical architecture, to produce a future state and path of migration for enhacing technology that helps the enterprise. It also provided the business executive with the direction and a decision-making framework to the IT capitals expenditure (Engelsman, Quartel, Jonkers, & van Sinderen, 2011).

Examples:  

  1. PRISM paper
  2. Zachman framework,
  3. EA model, NIST
  4. EA Planning, Speak
  5. Federal EA framework, Federal CIO Council ((Engelsman, Quartel, Jonkers, & van Sinderen, 2011)

EA3 cube framework

This framework is also described as an approach. It serves as the way for documentation enterprise from different levels of details. This approach can be divided into two parts. The first view or part is known as AS-IS that covers how the EA is in the moment. Another one is called TO-BE which helps in the future view of the reputed enterprise. The framework is beneficial to build around a cube and consists of different individual modules that are linked to each other and provide various functions. It has total six elements: one is EA documentation framework; second one is current EA views, third is future EA views, fourth is EA components, fifth one is EA management plan, and the last one is multilevel threads.

EA3 cube framework (The EA pad, 2018)

EA components are the described as the changeable goals, standards, processes, network, and resources. The examples of components of EA includes strategic goals and initiative, information’s flows, business items and services, a knowledge warehouse, and data objects, software application,  enterprise resource programs, and websites.  The vertical components serve as the one line of business and horizontal component serves various lines of business (Da Xu, 2011).

 In goals and initiatives components the EA documentation (artefacts) describes the organization’s current goals and initiatives that are: strategic plans, SWOT analysis, current operating scenario & operating models and currently balanced scorecard. In product & services components the EA documentation describes the company’s current product and services such as business plans, business process models, and business project management plans.in data &b information section the artefacts describe the organization’s present data & information like knowledge management plan and various data models.  In system and application, the documentation provides information about the organization’s different current system specifications like system interface diagrams. In the last component of EA, the enterprise documentation provides the information about the organization’s current network design specs like network inventory and capital inventory list (Engelsman, Quartel, Jonkers, & van Sinderen, 2011).

EA Framework and EA Methodology

 EA program is developed by a management program and a design and analysis that are repeatable at different levels of scope. Both the EA program and process methodology can provide capability and coordinated, actionable views of an enterprise’s strategic direction, information flows, business services, and utilization of resource. EA play a role as a management program which can provides strategic alignment: activities connect goals, and resource standardized policy: implementation design support and resource governance. As the design and analysis method, EA can provide the framework, artifact that can set current views: views of AS-IS strategy, resource future views: views to-be strategies. The executive can understand the components of the EA program by its value. For example, EA can help to identify and examine the gaps in the performance of a line of activities of the business and the abilities to help IT services, network, and systems (Bischoff, Aier, & winter, 2014).

References

Ahlemann, F., Stettiner, E., Messerschmidt, M., & Legner, C. (2012). Strategic enterprise architecture management: challenges, best practices, and future developments. London, New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Baporikar, N. (2013). CSF Approach for IT Strategic Planning. International Journal of Strategic Information Technology and Applications (IJSITA), 4(2), 35-47.

Bernard, S. A. (2012). An introduction to enterprise architecture. (3rd ed.). United States: Author House.

Bischoff, S., Aier, S., & Winter, R. (2014). Use IT or lose IT? The role of pressure for use and utility of enterprise architecture artifacts. In Business Informatics (CBI), 2014 IEEE 16th Conference on (Vol. 2, pp. 133-140). IEEE.

Da Xu, L. (2011). Enterprise Systems: State-of-the-Art and Future Trends. IEEE Trans. Industrial Informatics, 7(4), 630-640.

Engelsman, W., Quartel, D., Jonkers, H., & van Sinderen, M. (2011). Extending enterprise architecture modeling with business goals and requirements. Enterprise Information Systems, 5(1), 9-36.

Engelsman, W., Quartel, D., Jonkers, H., & van Sinderen, M. (2011). Extending enterprise architecture modeling with business goals and requirements. Enterprise Information Systems, 5(1), 9-36.

Enterprise Architect (2015). Theoretical Framework – Business Management. Retrieved from: https://enterprisearchitect.se/business-management.htm

Fakeeh, K. A., Qayyum, J., & Albarakati, A. J. (2014). ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING ON CLOUD FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESS, s. International Journal of Computer Science and Mobile Computing, 3(10), 571-583.

Lankhorst, M. (2009). Enterprise architecture at work: Modelling, communication, and analysis. (3rd ed.). Heidelberg, New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Lapalme, J., Gerber, A., Van der Merwe, A., Zachman, J., De Vries, M., & Hinkelmann, K. (2016). Exploring the future of enterprise architecture: A Zachman perspective. Computers in Industry, 79, 103-113.

Magoulas, T., Hadzic, A., Saarikko, T., & Pessi, K. (2012). Alignment in enterprise architecture: A comparative analysis of four architectural approaches. Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation, 15(1), 88.

Steps Involved in the EA Implementation Methodology Process

Magoulas, T., Hadzic, A., Saarikko, T., & Pessi, K. (2012). Alignment in enterprise architecture: A comparative analysis of four architectural approaches. Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation, 15(1), 88.

Nikpay, F., Ahmad, R. B., Rouhani, B. D., Mahrin, M. N. R., & Shamshirband, S. (2017). An effective Enterprise Architecture Implementation Methodology. Information Systems and e-Business Management, 15(4), 927-962.

Proper, H., & Lankhorst, M. M. (2014). Enterprise architecture-towards essential sensemaking. Enterprise Modelling and Information Systems Architectures, 9(1), 5-21.

Reed, M. S., Graves, A., Dandy, N., Posthumus, H., Hubacek, K., Morris, J., & Stringer, L. C. (2009). Who’s in and why? A typology of stakeholder analysis methods for natural resource management. Journal of environmental management, 90(5), 1933-1949.

Reyers, B., O’Farrell, P. J., Cowling, R. M., Egoh, B. N., Le Maitre, D. C., & Vlok, J. H. (2009). Ecosystem services, land-cover change, and stakeholders: finding a sustainable foothold for a semiarid biodiversity hotspot. Ecology and Society, 14(1).

Rodrigues, L. S., & Amaral, L. (2010). Issues in enterprise architecture value. Journal of Enterprise Architecture, 6(4), 27-32.

Rouhani, B. D., Mahrin, M. N. R., Nikpay, F., Ahmad, R. B., & Nikfard, P. (2015). A systematic literature review on Enterprise Architecture Implementation Methodologies. Information and Software Technology, 62, 1-20.

Rouhani, B. D., Mahrin, M. N. R., Nikpay, F., Ahmad, R. B., & Nikfard, P. (2015). A systematic literature review on Enterprise Architecture Implementation Methodologies. Information and Software Technology, 62, 1-20.

Schmidt, C., & Buxmann, P. (2011). Outcomes and success factors of enterprise IT architecture management: empirical insight from the international financial services industry. European Journal of Information Systems, 20(2), 168-185.

Simon, D., Fischbach, K., & Schoder, D. (2014). Enterprise architecture management and its role in corporate strategic management. Information Systems and e-Business Management, 12(1), 5-42.

Stelzer, D. (2010). Enterprise architecture principles: literature review and research directions. In Service-oriented computing. ICSOC/ServiceWave 2009 workshops (pp. 12-21). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Tamm, T., Seddon, P. B., Shanks, G. G., & Reynolds, P. (2011). How does enterprise architecture add value to organizations?. CAIS, 28, 10.

The EA pad (2018). The EA3 cube approach. Retrieved from: https://eapad.dk/ea3-cube/overview/

University of Gothenburg (2017). Enterprise architecture implementation: a qualitative study in opportunities and obstacles of EA implementation. Retrieved from: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/95665691.pdf  

Valtonen, K., Seppanen, V., & Leppanen, M. (2009). Government enterprise architecture grid adaptation in Finland. In System Sciences, 2009. HICSS’09. 42nd Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 1-10). IEEE.

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Worldcom (2018). 5 Strategies for Effective Stakeholder Management. Retrieved from: https://worldcomgroup.com/5-strategies-for-effective-stakeholder-management