Enterprise Architecture ‎- Subbu Bodem

February 2, 2011

Twenty years ago, a new field Enterprise architecture was born. The field initially began to address two problems:

  • System complexity—Organizations were spending more and more money building IT systems; and
  • Poor business alignment—Organizations were finding it more and more difficult to keep those increasingly expensive IT systems aligned with business need. (5)

Enterprise Architecture is a comprehensive framework used to manage and align an organization’s Information Technology (IT) assets, people, operations, and projects with its operational characteristics. In other words, the Enterprise architecture defines how information and technology will support the business operations and provide benefit for the business. (6)

The Enterprise architecture is a corporate asset that should be managed as a formal program.

Enterprise architecture should be a key support element of the operations of the corporate, and should assist the operations function in performance of its customer-focused mission. Successful execution of the enterprise architecting is not simply an IT task, but needs the total enterprise participation including management, allocation of resources, continuity, and coordination. Effective enterprise architecting needs internal and external communication and sharing of lessons learned.

Obtaining the needed support from executives is not easy. Creating an Enterprise architecture program calls for sustained leadership and strong commitment. This degree of sponsorship and commitment needs the leadership by the CIO, and early designation of a Chief Architect. (4)

Layers of the Enterprise Architecture (2)

  • Business processes and activities
  • Applications such as custom or off-the-shelf software tools
  • Data that must be collected, organized, safeguarded, and distributed
  • Technology such as computer systems and telephone networks


The Clinger-Cohen Act holds each Agency CIO responsible for developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of an information technical architecture. (4)


Many enterprise-architectural methodologies have come and gone in the last 20 years. At this point, perhaps 90 percent of the field use one of these four methodologies:

  • The Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architectures: Developed by Zachman
  • The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF): Developed by The Open group
  • The Federal Enterprise Architecture : Developed by CIO Council
  • The Gartner Methodology: Developed by Gartner

When examining each of these methodologies in depth, one is struck by the fact that none of these approaches is really complete. Each has strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others.

For many enterprises, none of these methodologies will therefore be a complete solution. Such organizations might choose bits and pieces from each of these methodologies, and modify and merge them according to the specific needs of your organization. (5)

Four best practices to get Enterprise Architecture on track (3)

· Focus intensely on clearly defined goals.

· Base Enterprise architecture goals on what matters to the business now.

· Create an Enterprise architecture practice effective for your needs and culture.

· Align the application portfolio with business strategy.

Enterprise architecture, when done correctly, provides a systematic assessment and description of how the business function operates at the current time; it provides a “blueprint” of how it should operate in the future, and, it provides a roadmap for getting to the target state. (1)

Some of the predicted benefits from a successfully implemented enterprise architectural include: (5)

  • Improvements in using IT to drive business adaptability.
  • Closer partnership between business and IT groups.
  • Improved focus on organizational goals.
  • Improved morale, as more individuals see a direct correlation between their work and the organization’s success.
  • Reduced numbers of failed IT systems.
  • Reduced complexity of existing IT systems.
  • Improved agility of new IT systems.
  • Closer alignment between IT deliverables and business requirements.

Without Enterprise architecture, the following risks exist, among others: (1)

· Locally optimal, rather than globally optimal solutions

· Expensive, non-shared, Run-the-engine intensive solutions

· Closed vendor/proprietary environments-little leverage.

· Solution band-aiding for the short term, but constraining in the long term

· No adherence to standards; complex solutions; plethora of one-off designs.

With ambitious goals, Enterprise architecture often face the daunting task of convincing business and IT leaders with operational responsibilities, near-term deliverables, and parochial interests to focus on the value of enterprise synergies. It’s all too common to see Enterprise architecture programs crash and burn because architects fail to convince key stakeholders of their value. (3)


1. Enterprise Architecture A to Z by Daniel Minoli.

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_architecture_framework


4. http://www.gao.gov/bestpractices/bpeaguide.pdf

5. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb466232.aspx

6. http://enterprisearchitecture.nih.gov/About/What/


One Response to “Enterprise Architecture ‎- Subbu Bodem”

  1. Symya Williams said

    Is Clinger-Cohen Act the only known legislation out there that regulates Enterprise Architecture?

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