Enterprise Architecture Roadmap for success: introduction


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Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk
Posted by Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk on Nov 5, 2011

Enterprise Architecture

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More and more organizations turn to their enterprise architects for help with the implementation of their strategies, to deal with constant change, to build a roadmap to success. Many definitions, frameworks, and tools for enterprise architecture (EA) have been proposed and used in practice. We define it as follows: EA is a conceptual tool that helps organizations get a deeper understanding of their own structure and of the way they work. It provides a map of the enterprise and it is a “route planner” for business and technology change. Important uses of it are in systematic IT planning/ architecting and in enhanced analysis and support for decision-making.

We strongly believe in the combination of TOGAF and ArchiMate for being successful with EA. TOGAF focuses mostly on process and ArchiMate on modeling. With both standards being adopted by the Open Group, the two standards are increasingly well aligned. Therefore, we take these two standards as a point of departure.

In order to be successful, architecture professionals should sharpen their tools and get ready to deliver value. In this series of 13 articles, we present a roadmap to success for the EA-practice. The series is structured in three parts. First we zoom in on “aiming” the architecture function: what are the goals for EA, and how does it align with the enterprise? In the second part we shift the focus to establishing the architecture function: how to setup the architecture team, and how to support it with tooling. Finally in the third part we shift the focus to execution and cover some practical topics in the field of EA. We end the series with a wrap-up posting:

The following outlines the topics covered in each of the posting:

Aiming the Architecture function

  • Top-down vs bottom-up
    there are many different ways architecture is being used by organizations. We sketch two opposite scenario’s: top-down (strategy implementation), and bottom-up (governance-based, focused on avoiding projects to fail). There are many shades of grey in this area, but looking at the extremes should provide a nice framework for the remainder of the series
  • Embedding an EA practice
    EA doesn’t exist in isolation. Indeed, the EA group forms an active part of the enterprise and helps in answering crucial questions. In order to do so, architects have to interact with other groups in the enterprise. In this posting we’ll re-use the top-down/bottom-up dichotomy from the first posting and discuss what we typically come across in organizations
  • Role of the Architecture Board
    In order for architects to be successful (a) it must be clear to all involved what architecture is accountable for, and (b) there should be a platform at the management level to decide on architecture-related issues. In this posting we zoom in on the Architecture Board (AB), illustrating its role again in the context of our top-down/ bottom-up dichotomy.
  • Using an open approach
    As mentioned previously: many frameworks and approaches have been proposed for doing EA. In this posting we dive into the advantages of using an open approach

Establishing the architecture function

  • Project based implementation
    Getting started with architecture is far from easy as many different groups of stakeholders are involved. As one EA-professional once said “EA is about everything the organization is and does”. Given these complexities, we make the case for implementing EA as a project with clear goals, budget, scope etcetera.
  • Establish the team
    Since EA touches on so many different aspects of the organization, establishing a solid team is far from easy. In this post we zoom in on different skills, competences etcetera. Again, we attempt to relate this to the top-down/ bottom-up dichotomy.
  • Tooling
    Modeling is a large part of EA-work. This is understandable, since architecture models – especially when kept up to date – can give a lot of insight in the way the organization is, and will be structured. ArchiMate is quickly becoming the de facto standard for architecture modeling and several tools support this language. In this posting we zoom in on the advantages and capabilities of architecture tools.
  • Using consultants
    Architecture touches the essence of the organization. As such, it seems to be a bad idea to ask consultants to tell you what your architecture should be. However, there are many situations and topics that consultants can help with such as training, guiding the organization through the first few cycles etcetera.

Execution

  • Architecture principles and models
    with the goals for architecture set, and the team established, we now zoom in on the manifestations of architecture: principles and models. We zoom in on the interplay between these two manifestations, also diving into roles and responsibilities for defining / maintaining them.
  • Governing projects
    one of the key vehicles for implementing change is projects. Therefore it isn’t all that strange that many organizations start by supporting their projects with EA. In this posting we zoom in on supporting and governing projects, linking to standards, principles, modeling, and architecture contracts.
  • Capability based planning
    planning and road mapping is one of the key activities we see in architecture practices. TOGAF uses the capability based planning technique. ArchiMate also has concepts that support implementation and migration. In this post we outline the relation between the two to help you get started effectively.

In the final post we wrap-up the series and provide links to further reading. Also, we will announce more topics to be discussed in new blog post series. If you have any topics you want us to discuss, please drop us a note!

If you’d like to know more, please contact the authors directly at b.vangils@bizzdesign.com / s.vandijk@bizzdesign.com, or leave a comment. The next post in this series covers top-down versus bottom-up architecture. It is scheduled to be posted on the 26th of November.

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