Innovations are constantly emerging, forcing organisations to constantly adapt to keep up with these rapid changes within their sectors. Almost every day, it seems there is a new focus or technology trend impacting how businesses operate.
Whether it is a cloud migration or digital transformation strategy, innovation continues to drive businesses to modify how they operate to meet these changes. Yet understanding the importance of what a new technology product, service, or company can deliver to an enterprise can be a complex and difficult process.
Fortunately, enterprise architecture offers organisations an easier way to plan for and use new technologies to meet their business vision, whether it’s cloud technology, automated analytics, or machine learning. Enterprise architecture provides the opportunity for organisations to reduce inefficient and unnecessary spending and identify directions to invest in. This ensures the cost/benefit analysis of proposed projects includes the big picture.
What is enterprise architecture?
There is more than one definition of enterprise architecture (EA) however it is commonly understood to be the practice of organising processes to create an IT infrastructure that supports business goals. This defines the structure and operation of a company, and supports digital transformation and the modernisation and growth of the IT department within a business.
The origins of EA trace back to the Business Systems Planning (BSP) methodology initiated by IBM in the 1960s. Enterprise architecture framework came as business technology began to increase in the 1990s, when computer systems started to become more widely used in the workplace. Businesses began to realise a long-term strategy was needed to support the rapid growth of technology. Today, EA takes into account the entirety of a company, not just the information technology, to ensure business goals are aligned with technology growth and digital transformation.
What is an enterprise architecture framework?
Enterprise architecture refers to the process for creating a blueprint for an organisation that outlines its future state. The enterprise architecture framework defines how to create and then use enterprise architecture.
Enterprise architecture is used in a variety of industries from telecommunications, healthcare, and engineering, among others.
There are many different types of enterprise architecture framework. All of them have a different focus and goal. It is important to find the right enterprise architecture framework for your business goals.
The aim of the different types of enterprise architecture framework is to facilitate the design and development of an enterprise architecture. There are four typical layers or domains:
- Business – defines and supports business strategy and organisation. It also defines key business processes and management standards.
- Application – Identifies the various applications in use, their specific uses and how they interact in relation to the core business. It also explains how business capabilities or services are implemented.
- Data and information – defines the structure of data centres and data management, and data analytics provide a positive feedback loop to improve IT performance and business flexibility
- Technology – identifies the software, hardware, and network infrastructure needed to support the other domains
Why is an enterprise architecture framework important?
There are multiple parts of an organisation that must all work together to create business success. These components include the people, business processes, and the technology that underpins everything. Modern organisations require a large amount of data, technology, and business processes to run efficiently and productively, sometimes across multiple teams and departments with specific and unique roles that overlap others.
Enterprise architecture framework plays an important role in strategic planning, decisions making, and change implementation when digital transformation is required. Developing an enterprise architecture framework allows a business to organise the infrastructure, manage and connect the inter-relationships, and create strategies that meet challenges and leverage business opportunities.
Enterprise architecture frameworks provide a blueprint of how to align business and IT strategy and growth, and how to best implement these changes for optimal outcomes. When choosing an enterprise architecture framework, it’s vital to identify the problems the business faces, then work to decide which framework can become the launching place to work toward the solution.
The framework needs to have the ability to be flexible, in order to adapt to the changes brought about by addressing the original challenges. It can be pertinent to merge other, existing frameworks, to achieve the business end goal.
Enterprise architecture has the potential to transform how an enterprise organises business information, which leads to clear plans for future growth, and allows the greatest value to be returned from digital transformation. Talk to the digital transformation specialists at INTELLIWORX for more information about how your business can stay relevant through changes in technology and business practises.