Enterprise Architecture development involves defining current state architecture, planning for future state architecture, evaluating different scenarios, and developing orientation points, processes, and principles for the architecture. The concept usually contains both a framework and a process of developing and implementing the EA. Its development and implementation must be managed and governed and focus its attention on the requirements of the business.
As indicated in the study, 62 % of Enterprise Architecture programs report to IT leadership, which means that Enterprise Architecture development is seen predominately as a component of IT within most of the organizations. It is a responsibility to deliver the right Enterprise Architecture to accomplish a company’s strategic goals and objectives by streamlining its information technology infrastructure.
Some of the examples that show failures largely attributed to failures in enterprise architectural methodologies include:
- Ford’s failed attempt to build an integrated purchasing system cost them $400 million.
- McDonald’s had to bear a cost of $ 170 million because of failed effort to build an integrated business management system that would tie together their entire restaurant business.
- KMart’s failed attempt to build a state-of-the-art supply-chain management system Cost them $130 million.
- In June 2005,The Department of Defence came under criticism for wasting money and lack of adequate accountability across all areas.
Therefore, having a correct methodology is very important.
An Enterprise Architecture framework is a set of best practice descriptions on how to execute the Enterprise Architecture process.
There are several different frameworks for Enterprise Architecture development.
But in 2007, 90 percent of the field use one of these four methodologies for enterprise architecture development:
- The Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architectures— is a logical structure for classifying and organizing the descriptive representations of an enterprise that are significant to the management and to the development of enterprise systems. It contains 36 intersecting cells in a grid—one for each meeting point between a player’s perspective (for example, business owner) and a descriptive focus (for example, data).Horizontally, different descriptions of the system can be viewed from the same player’s perspective. Vertically in the grid, a single focus can be seen from the view of different players.
- The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF)— TOGAF divides an enterprise architecture into four categories, as follows:
- Business architecture—describes the processes the business uses to meet its goals. The Business Architecture aligns an organization’s operating model, strategies, and objectives with IT; it also creates a business case for IT transformations and provides a business-centric view of the enterprise from a functional perspective.
- Application architecture—describes how specific applications are designed and how they interact with each other. Applications refer to software programs designed to perform a specific task or a group of tasks, such as word processing, communication or database management.
- Data architecture— describes how the enterprise data stores are organized and accessed. Data refers to a collection of organized information; usually the result of experience, intelligence, observation or other important information within the enterprise
- Technical architecture—describes the hardware and software infrastructure that supports applications and their interaction
TOGAF involves phases. A preliminary phase is one that defines architecture principles and governance. The preliminary phase is about developing the framework to be used, and defining both business and architecture principles that will inform any architecture work. The next phase of TOGAF is the architecture vision phase. This phase validates business principles, business goals, and strategic business drivers for the company. It defines the architecture effort, the vision and the goals of the architecture according to the business principles. This phase should secure the alignment between business and the architecture goals, and it needs a secure formal approval to proceed. The next phases of the TOGAF framework are about defining the business architecture, information systems, technology architecture, migrating, defining opportunities and implementing.
- The Federal Enterprise Architecture— can be viewed as either a methodology for creating EA or the result of applying process to a particular enterprise .It consists of five reference models namely: business, service, components, technical, and data. It provides standard terms and definitions to facilitate collaboration and sharing across the federal government. EA provides a perspective on how EA should be, with a set of reference models for describing different perspectives of the enterprise architecture. It also includes a process for creating an EA and way to measure the success of EA to drive business value.
- The Gartner Methodology— believes that EA is a continuous process from the current state to the future state. The goal of a company is the starting point of EA rather than a present state of the company. It is about bringing together three constituents: business owners, information specialists, the technology implementers to a common vision that drives business value.
Analysis of various frameworks helps to understand that none of the enterprise architecture methodologies is really complete or will be able to fit the requirements for every enterprise. Each has its strengths and weaknesses . The process of selecting the right framework for enterprise architecture development has become increasingly challenging for organizations.
As found in the survey conducted, 54% use a hybrid EA methodology for enterprise architecture development by combining various bits and pieces of each of the methodologies . For instance, StatoilHydro has used parts of the TOGAF ADM and Gartner. And Oracle created a hybrid EA framework, influenced by TOGAF, FEA and Gartner.
However, 26% use a popular framework such as The Department of Social Security (DSS) or Chubb Insurance used TOGAF as a blueprint , 9 % use an original EA framework and only 5 % of the people surveyed use a consulting firm framework such as IAG NZ used Sparx Systems .
How is Enterprise Architecture used to enable IT strategy in a business?
Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David C. Robertson wrote a book called “Enterprise Architecture as a Strategy”. They introduced an idea to execute a strategy; firstly a company should build the foundation for business execution. Foundation for business digitizes routine tasks to provide reliability and predictability in processes. Foundation provides fulfillment criteria, IT structure for a company, strategic limits, and IT cooperation model to ensure the business and technological projects are achieved and priorities are established.
IT strategy has two components:
- Operating model: There is a level of standardization and integration of processes based on the organization’s strategies. Standardization is defined as performing business processes regardless of who is performing and when and where. Integration is combining efforts of different business units.
- EA is the structured business process & IT infrastructure based on the operating model. It defines the core capabilities.
A company should first decide on its operating model and then implement the operating model via EA. Based on the scope of standardization and integration level, there are four operating models with different key IT capabilities:
- Diversification: have a low level of standardization and low level of integration. It includes independent business units with different customers and expertise. E.g. Johnson and Johnson, GE. IT provides economic scales without limiting independence.
- Coordination: have a low level of standardization and a high level of integration. It includes unique business units which need to know each other’s transactions. E.g. Scotland Yard, MetLife. IT has access to shared data through a standard technology interface.
- Replication: have a high level of standardization and a low level of integration. It includes independent but similar business units’ .E.g. UNICEF, Marriott Hotel chain. IT provides a standard infrastructure and application components for global efficiencies.
- Unification: have a high level of standardization and a high level of integration. It includes single business units with the global process. E.g. UPS, Delta Airlines. IT has access to global data access with systems reinforcing global processes.
EA can also be categorized into stages according to their maturity level in an organization. There are 4 stages as follows:
- Business Silos: use local data and application but have no integration with the rest of the business unit.
- Standardized Technology: has standardization of IT infrastructure within a whole organization. The application is local but the data is shared.
- Optimized Core: has standardization of technology, application, and data within the organisation. Application and data are used to support general organisation process.
- Business modularity: applications are built in a modular way so that they provide fulfilment of the individual requirement based on common standards.
The implication of maturity of EA in an organisation is that newly developed EA have a high percentage of IT investment in local applications. However, as an architecture matures IT investment increases in shared data and enterprise systems .Also, there is an increase in strategic agility, operational efficiency, risk management, IT development time and management satisfaction.
In a study, 70% of the respondents indicated that their EA programs were in existence for fewer than 10 years and also relatively small in size .It indicates that even though EA was born 27 years ago as a field , only in last 10 years more and more organisations are using it because of the benefits associated with it.