Implementing an Enterprise Architecture function in different organisations: Differentiate in organisations (1/5)

Rob Kroese
Posted by Rob Kroese on Jan 19, 2012

Enterprise Architecture

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Setting up an Enterprise Architecture (EA) function in an organisation requires a structured approach which delivers results. The most used framework worldwide to implement EA in organisations is TOGAF. You can read other posts on this blog to get an introduction in this framework. In this series we give practical tips and guidelines in implementing EA in different types of organisations. In this first posting we focus on the differentiation in organisations, which is a very important topic to consider when implementing EA.

Adapt the approach to the organisation

To implement a framework like TOGAF successfully it is essential to adapt the framework to the characteristics of the organisation. For example, implementing EA in a large organisation (20.000 employees) where lots of architects are working requires a different approach than a small organisation (500 employees) where only a couple of architects are working. Frameworks like TOGAF recognise this problem, and do say you have to adapt the framework to the context of the organisation. We see in our daily practice that this is a key element in making EA a success. To be able to adapt your approach to the context of the organisation, it is necessary to analyse the profile of the organisation. Therefore we need some basic characteristics.

Typical characteristics of an organisation

If we want to differentiate between organisations, the question arises which are the most important aspects to look at. An organisation can be characterised in so many ways. In the context of implementing EA, we list here the seven most important basic characteristics to consider:

  1. Industry: An important factor is the difference between commercial and governmental organisations. But also in commercial organisations, the type of industry (insurance, financial, production, etc.) highly impacts the approach for implementing EA.
  2. Size of the organisation: Number of employees and locations.
  3. Complexity of the organisation: How many different products and services does the organisation produce? How complex is the IT landscape, and what is the level of outsourcing?
  4. Culture: Is it a formal and political organisation or a more informal organisation? What are the key values of the organisation?
  5. Goals and drivers for EA: What are the goals that the organisation wants to achieve with EA, and what are the timelines that are set? Is there top management support for EA?
  6. Available resources for EA function: The available number of (Enterprise) architects is an important factor in relation to the amount of work that can be done and the results that can be achieved.
  7. Maturity: How mature is the organisation in terms of current Architecture approach, IT governance and project management?

Looking at these characteristics and defining them in the context of the organisation you are working in, is the perfect start in setting up a good EA implementation approach.


In the next postings in this series we will give practical tips and guidance in implementing EA in 4 organisation types:

  • Large multinationals
  • Small local organisations (800 employees)
  • Governmental organisations
  • Commercial organisations

Follow the steps in this blog series to discover which EA approach could suit your organisation, or contact us at if we can help you set up your EA strategy.

Forrester Wave Enterprise Architecture 2017


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