The role of Architecture in the Enterprise
This will be the first of several posts which explore the role of Architecture in the Enterprise.
What is Architecture?
Well, first of all, let’s level set on the meaning of architecture. Architecture – in the engineering sense – is basically about describing the key elements or components of a system, and how they relate with one another. Architecture is about capturing “the essential shape of the thing”.
Architectures are described by multiple viewpoints
A key tenet of Architecture is that no single view or picture can ever describe the totality of a complex system or organization. Rather, multiple viewpoints are required to capture the
various “aspects” or “dimensions” of a complex system.
The discipline that has emerged to formally model the business and technology domains of an enterprise is called Enterprise Architecture. Enterprise Architecture attempts to formally model key viewpoints in both the business and technology domains, and to ensure that that IT solutions are aligned to business strategies and operations.
Here is an example from a common EA development methodology called TOGAF, which presents some of the key viewpoints in both the business and technology domains:
Business Operating Models
A particularly important model for representing business architecture is that of the business operating model. I have blogged about this concept previously, and will have more to say in future posts.
So what. What should I care?
Given the complexity of modern IT systems, and the business’s dependency on information technology, the capability of a business to execute on its strategy is critically dependent on the formal design of a business operating model, and the underlying IT architecture that supports the business operating model.
Over the next month, I’ll have lots more to say about Architecture in the Enterprise – both Business and Technology architecture. So if you’re interested, stay tuned.