Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The New Enterprise Architecture

The March 1, 2005 edition of CIO Magazine has as its cover story "The New Enterprise Architecture". Its lead article, written by Christopher Koch, entitled "A New Blueprint for the Enterprise", explains Enterprise Architecture (EA) as:
  • city planning for IT
  • an overarching plan of the total data, business processes and IT assets inside a company
  • how they're used
  • how they should be built and shared
Below is an excellent excerpt describing "How EA Came in from the Cold":

[EA] has always been a big, difficult and expensive undertaking, and its ROI has often been opaque to the business. Standardizing, mapping and controlling IT assets does not make the business obviously more flexible, capable or profitable. As a result, IT architecture efforts often fail or become completely IT-centric.

But now that's changing.

Advances in integration technology -- primarily intelligent and flexible middleware and Web services -- are providing new ways for designing more agile, more responsive enterprise architectures that provide the kind of value the business has been seeking. With these new architectures, IT can build new business capabilities faster, cheaper and in a vocabulary the business can understand.

These advances are giving new life to a couple of old concepts that could inspire new EA efforts and revive failing ones.

The first concept is services, better known today as service-oriented architecture. SOA provides the value to the business that in the old enterprise architecture was rarely more than a vague promise.

The second concept currently driving enterprise architecture is events.
I wholeheartedly agree on the importance of a services-and-events approach. I've written a pair of articles that directly address both of these topics: I also concur completely with Koch's comment:
The grail of EA is to create a map of IT assets and business processes and a set of governance principles that drive a constant discussion about business strategy and how it can be expressed through IT.
Flashmap Systems technology portfolio products, FlashAtlas (soon to be renamed ITatlas) and the soon-to-be-announced ITguide, are both designed to help organizations create and communicate IT roadmaps.

Finally, although my nomenclature is slightly different (see my previous post, What is IT Architecture?), I am in full agreement regarding Koch's framework for describing an enterprise effort:
  • Information architecture: identifies where important chunks of information, like a customer record, are kept and how people typically access them.
  • Infrastructure architecture: the jumble of hardware and networks.
  • Application architecture: maps the relationships of software applications to one another.
  • Business architecture: outlines the company's most important business processes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen this EA blog:

4:17 PM  
Blogger ITscout said...

I hadn't yet seen I've now added it to My Feeds within Bloglines.

Slowly, but surely, I'm building up a number of other people's blogs that I'm tracking within Bloglines. I began doing so after writing RSS -- Part Two. I'm sure sometime soon I'll post a blog sharing a list of My Favorites -- those blogs I have found most interesting and informative.

6:05 PM  

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