It is a common notion that Enterprise Architecture (EA) focuses on Information Systems only. It rather focuses on the whole enterprise.
EA connects the four pillars of the company: Business Architecture, Information Architecture, Application Architecture, and Technology Architecture.
We asked Jomar Bernedo, a former enterprise architect of a telecom company and now a cofounder of Rebar (a technology company that specializes in research, analysis and implementation of software solutions), on what EA is and why it is important.
Technically, Enterprise Architecture is defined as the analysis and documentation of an enterprise in its current and future states from a strategy, business, and technology perspective.
The term “architecture”, as originated from the building trade, is now commonly used in various departments across an enterprise referring to different types of outlines that provide guidance to processes, structures, and many more. Just as building companies would not commence a construction of a house without documented blueprints, anyone should not undertake any project without a detailed plan, documented with “blueprints” of various kinds.
To explain EA in simplest terms, it is basically answering the following questions:
What is your current strategy?
First and foremost, what is the company’s strategy? What are the policies, business processes, systems and applications in place? How do they interact and depend on each other? How is information gathered and relayed to each other?
These are just some of the more detailed questions you need to answer and document. The resulting blueprints or artifacts as we call it will give you an overall view of your current state.
What is your ideal and ‘want to have’?
Keeping your corporate strategy in mind, what do you want to have? Are there Key Performance Indices that need to be improved?
Can some business processes be enhanced or automated? Are the current systems that you have enough or do you need more? What is the ideal corporate structure?
Documenting these things will now paint a picture of your future state, the company’s ideal state in X number of years (depending mainly on the corporate strategy).
Having these artifacts available, it will now be easier for everybody to know how far the company is to its ideal state.
How do we go from what we have to what we want to have?
Having your current and future states documented, you can now strategize on how to achieve your ideal state through various analyses.
Gap-analysis can help you see what departments in your company need more attention, or the areas that need more focus.
Exploring redundancies in systems and applications may help you mitigate unnecessary resources and expenses.
Automation of some processes might lead to better service. Proper analysis is the key in all of these, so make sure you use your artifacts wisely. Various projects can now be planned to attain the future state of the company.
And that is it! As you can see, Enterprise Architecture doesn’t necessarily focus on Information Systems only, but rather the whole enterprise. Just remember, these artifacts that you will produce should be treated and maintained as “living documents”, meaning they should always be updated when needed.
Having up-to-date current state artifacts will make it easier for everybody to know if your company is still on the right track to its future state.
The Inquirer Academy will hold a workshop entitled “Practical Enterprise Architecture” on Aug. 17, 2017.
The workshop will be ideal for various department members of an organization, especially those who are directly involved in organizational transformation or improvement initiatives.