What is an Enterprise Architecture?

In this modern world there is lots of confusion about enterprise architecture, in that sense I would write a short scribble about enterprise architecture or called as EA in short.

I will start with a definition by Architecture and Governance Magazine, Issue 9-4, November (2013) :

Enterprise architecture (EA) is “a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a comprehensive approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy.

Enterprise architecture applies architecture principles and practices to guide organizations through the business, information, process, and technology changes necessary to execute their strategies.

These practices utilize the various aspects of an enterprise to identify, motivate, and achieve these changes.”

Now that sums up as EA is putting together a practice for translating business goals and strategy into practical enterprise to  Business Process + Information Systems (Data and Applications)  and Technologies within an “Enterprise”.  This also conclude a desired state of the enterprise and facilitate towards its change.

How do you achieve that? Answer is short, through Architecture Governance through a selection of desired Architecture Framework. That makes EA an essential practice that at any organizational level to have all the systems functioning as desired.

Goals of enterprise architecture are:

  1. Effectiveness
  2. Efficiency
  3. Agility
  4. Durability.

Subsets/Layers of enterprise architecture or Architecture domain:

There are four kinds of “architecture” that are commonly accepted as subsets of a well defined Enterprise Architecture system:

  1. Business Architecture:
  2. Data Architecture:
  3. Application Architecture:
  4. Technology Architecture:

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NIST Enterprise Architecture Model initiated in 1989, one of the earliest frameworks for enterprise architecture. (Courtesy: Wikipedia.)

What is an Enterprise Architecture Framework?

An enterprise architecture framework (EA framework) defines how to create and use an enterprise architecture.

As per Wikipedia there are countless EA frameworks and some of them are categorized as below: (Courtesy: Wikipedia.)

Consortia-developed frameworks:
  • ARCON – A Reference Architecture for Collaborative Networks – not focused on a single enterprise but rather on networks of enterprises.
  • Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology (GERAM)
  • RM-ODP – the Reference Model of Open Distributed Processing (ITU-T Rec. X.901-X.904 | ISO/IEC 10746) defines an enterprise architecture framework for structuring the specifications of open distributed systems.
  • IDEAS Group – a four-nation effort to develop a common ontology for architecture interoperability
  • ISO 19439 Framework for enterprise modelling
  • TOGAF – The Open Group Architecture Framework – a widely used framework including an architectural Development Method and standards for describing various types of architecture.

Defence industry frameworks:

  • AGATE – the France DGA Architecture Framework
  • DNDAF – the DND/CF Architecture Framework (CAN)
  • DoDAF – the US Department of Defense Architecture Framework
  • MODAF – the UK Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework
  • NAF – the NATO Architecture Framework

Government frameworks:

  • European Space Agency Architectural Framework (ESAAF) – a framework for European space-based Systems of Systems
  • Government Enterprise Architecture (GEA) – a common framework legislated for use by departments of the Queensland Government
  • FDIC Enterprise Architecture Framework
  • Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) – a framework produced in 1999 by the US Federal CIO Council for use within the US Government (not to be confused with the 2002 Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) guidance on categorizing and grouping IT investments, issued by the US Federal Office of Management and Budget)
  • Nederlandse Overheid Referential Architecture (NORA) – a reference framework from the Dutch Government E-overhead NORA
  • NIST Enterprise Architecture Model
  • Treasury Enterprise Architecture Framework (TEAF) – a framework for treasury, published by the US Department of the Treasury in July 2000.

Open-source frameworks:

Enterprise architecture frameworks that are released as open source:

  • MEGAF is an infrastructure for realizing architecture frameworks that conform to the definition of architecture framework provided in ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010.
  • Praxeme, an open enterprise methodology, contains an enterprise architecture framework called the Enterprise System Topology (EST)
  • TRAK – a general systems-oriented framework based on MODAF 1.2 and released under GPL/GFDL.
  • SABSA is an open framework and methodology for Enterprise Security Architecture and Service Management, that is risk based and focuses on integrating security into business and IT management.

Proprietary frameworks:

  • ASSIMPLER Framework – an architecture framework, based on the work of Mandar Vanarse at Wipro in 2002
  • Avancier Methods (AM) Processes and documentation advice for enterprise and solution architects, supported by training and certification.
  • BRM (Build-Run-Manage) Framework – an architecture framework created by Sanjeev “Sunny” Mishra during his early days at IBM in 2000.
  • Capgemini Integrated Architecture Framework (IAF) – from Capgemini company in 1993
  • Dragon1 – An open Visual Enterprise Architecture Method recently recognized by The Open Group as Architecture Framework
  • DYA framework developed by Sogeti since 2004.
  • Dynamic Enterprise Enterprise architecture concept based on Web 2.0 technology
  • Extended Enterprise Architecture Framework – from Institute For Enterprise Architecture Developments in 2003
  • EACOE Framework  – an Enterprise Architecture framework, as an elaboration of the work of John Zachman
  • IBM Information FrameWork (IFW) – conceived by Roger Evernden in 1996
  • Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture Framework (PEAF) – part of Pragmatic Family of Frameworks developed by Kevin Lee Smith, Pragmatic EA, from 2008
  • Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture developed by Theodore J. Williams at the Purdue University early 1990s.
  • SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework
  • Service-oriented modeling framework (SOMF), based on the work of Michael Bell
  • Solution Architecting Mechanism (SAM) – A coherent architecture framework consisting of a set of integral modules.
  • Zachman Framework – an architecture framework, based on the work of John Zachman at IBM in the 1980s

Hope that covers the initial concepts of Enterprise Architecture. Later sessions I would write more on an interesting and widely used Enterprise Architecture framework called TOGAF – The Open Group Architecture Framework. 

Read about my previous article in the mean time: TOGAF 9.1 Certified

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