Enterprise Architecture Roadmap for success: Wrap up

Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk
Posted by Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk on Jun 22, 2012

Enterprise Architecture

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This posting wraps up our blog series on Enterprise Architecture implementation. In the series we described our experiences with implementing enterprise architecture, and how to be successful with that. We followed a step wise structure: Aim, Establish, and Execute. The structure and the postings that are part of this series are depicted in the figure below.

Roadmap for success

Roadmap for success: an overview

Enterprise architecture can be a powerful tool, mostly if an organization has clear ideas and plans as to how enterprise architecture is going to deliver value to the organization. We described that enterprise architecture can benefit an organization in many ways, and that there are several approaches, the extremes being the top-down and bottom up approach. In a top-down approach enterprise architecture helps the organization plan for change on a more strategic level. In a bottom-up approach enterprise architecture can achieve better coordination and coherence among projects and application portfolios by leveraging enterprise architecture practices such as standards and principles. Whatever the approach is, enterprise architecture can never operate in isolation. enterprise architecture processes need to be explicitly aligned with other processes and frameworks in the organization. Often, implementing enterprise architecture is more about reusing, coordinating and leveraging existing processes, rather than introducing exclusively brand new ones. For the task of coordinating enterprise architecture work, the Architecture Board plays an important role. The way in which the architecture board should be organized and operate differs somewhat depending on the approach that the organization takes (i.e. top-down or bottom-up) describes all the details.

There are a number of Enterprise Architecture frameworks that could be used by an organization as a starting point for the organization specific enterprise architecture framework. These frameworks differ in scope and level of detail. We think the TOGAF standard (The Open Group Architecture Framework) is very complete, especially when combined with ArchiMate (also by the Open Group). ArchiMate can be used to model the Enterprise Architecture. Using ArchiMate, the viewpoints for various stakeholders as described in the TOGAF standard can be created. Independent of what framework an organization chooses it is of importance to tailor it to organization specifics. The framework should never be the goal in itself.

In the establish phase we covered a number of aspects such as project based implementation, how to establish the team, what tools(e.g. modeling tools) to use, and whether or not to use consultants to assist in the establishment of the enterprise architecture practice in the organization. Very important is, especially since the word enterprise architecture often comes with humongous expectations, to make sure that enterprise architecture implementation is broken up into pieces that the organization can absorb. We talk rather about evolution of the enterprise architecture practice, where an organization builds the enterprise architecture practice from the situation today, gradually introducing more enterprise architecture tasks and expanding scope and footprint. This approach lets the organizations enterprise architecture maturity grow steadily.

So trying to boil the ocean often does not prove to be a successful strategy for enterprise architecture implementation, following a sustainable growth path does.In the last section of the series we covered concrete aspects of doing EA, such as defining architecture principles and modeling, project governance, and capability based planning.

Learn more

We think we touched upon important aspects of enterprise architecture implementation throughout this series. Of course there is a lot more to learn about Enterprise Architecture, implementation, modeling etc. BiZZdesign offers a number of courses on these subjects, for example training and certification in TOGAF and ArchiMate. Please see our web site for more information and dates. Also, we frequently run webinars on enterprise architecture and other topics in the Business Design field. Dates and more information can also be found on our website: www.bizzdesign.com.

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If you’d like to know more, please leave a comment. 

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