What is Enterprise Architecture?

What is Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a practice and discipline that manages the processes that support IT infrastructure. EA offers a strategic framework for understanding the business and its requirements, as well as how to deliver technology solutions that support those requirements. It's a way of thinking about IT in its entirety — from hardware to software, from applications to data — rather than focusing on individual components.

The goal of EA is to create an overarching architecture that allows an organization to make better decisions about IT investments and strategies in order to improve their overall competitiveness.

It plays a major role in determining the technologies that should be used by directing the relationship between the goals and strategies of the business. In general, it has the function of managing many issues such as the goals, operation, structure, systems and technologies of the business. Enterprise Architecture (EA) combines legacy processes and applications to create a seamless business environment. It is very useful for large businesses that are in the process of Digital Transformation.

EA is focused on building, designing and maintaining the portfolio of applications, systems and services that enable business strategy execution within an organization.

EA is often confused with architecture in general, but there is a distinct difference between enterprise architecture and other types of architecture. Enterprise architects are responsible for designing an approach to solve specific business problems within an organization's context. They are not just focused on designing buildings or bridges. When used to describe software development, enterprise architecture refers to an overall plan for how all of the various parts of an organization's software systems should work together.

Enterprise architects use software models such as process models or data models to describe how information flows from one system to another in an organization. They also use technology stacks — collections of hardware and software — to determine which technologies are best suited for different roles within the enterprise architecture model.

What are the Goals Of Enterprise Architecture?

The goal of enterprise architecture is to create value by building a blueprint for an organization's infrastructure so it can keep pace with business needs while minimizing costs over time. Enterprise architecture is often seen as a subset of information technology (IT) management because it focuses on managing an organization's IT assets or resources. However, EA encompasses more than just IT management; it also includes non-technical areas such as human resources management and business process improvement.

  • To contribute to IT's decision-making processes.
  • To create an environment that supports the implementation of strategies that can respond quickly to changes in the business.
  • To create an integrated and standards-compliant working environment.
  • To create and maintain IT inventory.
  • To provide infrastructure for synergy between business units.
  • To visual a holistic view of the business.
  • To contribute to the Digital Transformation process.

What are the Benefits Of Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture (EA) provides support in areas such as system development, IT risk management and decision making to eliminate system failures, errors and security breaches. It is also an ideal way to bring more discipline to the business.

A good EA framework helps you align your business goals with IT goals, while making sure that your IT investments are aligned with those goals. It's not just about managing your existing systems — it's also about planning for the future.

  • It reveals what a business has and what it does not have.
  • It enables open collaboration between IT and business units.
  • Business processes and information progress consistently.
  • Businesses become more responsive to their competitors.
  • Evaluates existing architecture against long-term goals.
  • It ensures the formation of processes in keeping up with technology and procurement processes.
  • It provides a comprehensive flow of information about the IT architecture to all non-IT business units.
  • It provides a benchmarking framework to compare business processes with other businesses or standards.

What are Enterprise Architecture Methodologies?

Enterprise Architecture must address the entire business as a whole, rather than individual needs, problems or departments. For this reason, various frameworks have been developed for the effective implementation of Enterprise Architecture. Some of the leading Enterprise Architecture Frameworks are as follows:

TOGAF (Open Group Architecture Framework)

Enterprise IT architecture is designed, planned, implemented and managed with TOGAF. Within the framework of TOGAF's principles, businesses create a standard approach to Enterprise Architecture with a common language and compliance methods. TOGAF is a very popular Enterprise Architecture framework. More than 80 percent of the world's leading companies adopt TOGAF. 

Zachman Framework

It is named after one of the founders of Enterprise Architecture. The Zachman Framework includes six architectural focal points and six key stakeholders to help standardize and define IT architecture components and deliverables. It continues to exist as another popular EA methodology.

Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework

An architectural framework developed in response to the Clinger-Cohen law that imposes certain requirements for IT effectiveness. Although it is designed for the US government, private companies can also opt for it.


In 2005, Gartner identified some applications for EA and integrated these applications with the company's general consulting practices. It is not an individual framework. It is considered a practical methodology focused on business results.

There are frameworks other than the four common Enterprise Architecture methodologies we listed. For example, the Ministry of Defense Architectural Framework, the European Space Agency Architectural Framework, and the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework. Frameworks in these examples appear in more niche markets and target individual industries or products. For example SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework:

SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework has been developed by adding a number of changes on top of the most preferred TOGAF. These changes are mostly intended to support some features of service-based architectures.

What Are The Enterprise Architecture Challenges?

There are some concerns about the use of Enterprise Architecture frameworks today. Some of these are as follows:

  • The lack of comprehensive documentation is a concern. Numerous updates have been made on the frameworks developed in the 80s and 90s. Yet nowadays they can be seen as outdated and simple. In addition, it is impossible to reach some resources necessary to fill the gap in Enterprise Architecture documents.
  • They can cause a waste of time. It takes time to identify the needs of a business and not plan. Some EA frameworks are not as dynamic as desired. This makes applications difficult.
  • A preferred Enterprise Architecture framework may have trouble integrating with the enterprise's system. New resource requirements may arise for the integration of old systems with new systems.

Despite the difficulties we have mentioned, when the Enterprise Architecture frameworks are applied correctly and a good job is achieved, it will add very high value to your business. All businesses trying to rationalize their business models and processes with IT investments need to have an Enterprise Architecture framework.


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