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Shaping a Vision for Where you are Going
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How can architecture create results? If you have questions like these below, we can help :
  • My users are clamoring for iPads or access to Facebook, how do I make decisions like this?
  • What kind of stuff do I put in the cloud, and how do it without breaking things?
  • Is this SOA thing real? How do I build things once and then actually reuse them?
  • I think someone is about to implement a new application that is very similar to one we have...how do I handle this?
  • Where is my industry going to be five years from now? And how do I ensure that I’m on the right path?
  • How do I identify business processes that can be improved and made more efficient?
  • How do I increase access to my users' data, while maintaining quality and keeping costs down?
  • I need to do more (work) with less (resources)...where do I start?
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The Role of Enterprise Architecture

What is Enterprise Architecture?

The role of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is to provide a decision framework for the use of information and technology in the enterprise to support business objectives.

In other words, EA is a resource and is responsible for defining how information and technology will be used to support the business strategy and enable the business to perform efficiently. The practice of architecture is considerably more than ensuring IT remains in alignment with the business.  If done successfully architecture is actually about changing business itself from one state to another.  It is taking the business from its current environment to the desired future environment using a roadmap generated by enterprise architects who understand and can translate business objectives into corresponding information and technology transformation.

Enterprise Architecture is made up of separate but inter-related views.  The Business View is about "what" and "how" the business operates - it is defined in terms of business functions and business processes.  The Information View is about the critical data and information that the business needs to operate - it is defined in terms of physical and logical data models and enterprise information models that define the most important data assets.  The Technical View is about the products and patterns that must be standardized to help the business achieve their objectives - it is defined in terms of technical standards (vendors and products) and architectural patterns that talk about how technologies are connected together.  And finally, the Application View is about how applications are connected together to support the business - it is defined in terms of an application portfolio.  Most EA programs are often missing the very important view of Solution Architecture... described further below.

The Role of Solution Architecture

What is Solution Architecture?

The role of Solution Architecture (SA) is to provide an operational design for a given set of requirements that aligns to the organization’s technology infrastructure while leveraging the business and information models that are found within the Enterprise Architecture.

Solution architectures describe an instantiation of hardware and software to solve a common set of business problems.  Solutions are often implemented using one or more applications, each requiring separate application architectures. Solution architectures are important as they ensure that the applications that are part of that solution are integrated well and following the guidelines established by the Reference Solution Architecture. 
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Enterprise & Solution Architecture Infographic
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Our approach to Enterprise Architecture is simple - there are three distinct points of view, or value propositions, that are found in EA and it is critical that the value and output of your program is in line with what is being expected.  This is why so many EA programs struggle - they are being sold as one thing, but are delivering something else all together different.  "EA for Executives" is about supporting strategic thinking for executives; it is about setting the target-state, not the current-state.  "EA for Management" is about optimizing the current-state and doing more-with-less; it is all about the current-state, and not about where you want to be 5 years from now.  And "EA for Users" is about supporting development of better solutions and applications for users; it is the APPLICATION of EA to a business problem, and is closely linked to Solution Architecture.  If you don't know which of these 3 points of view you are serving, it is difficult to know what kind or artifacts and value you will produce.

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