Does Your Business Utilize Enterprise Architecture? Here’s Why It Should
by Arina Smith Entrepreneurship 23 February 2019
Enterprise architecture is quickly becoming a top priority for successful businesses. Some studies say as many as 60 percent of executives name enterprise architecture as one of the top five keys to executing their strategic plan.
But not all business leaders realize the value enterprise architecture can add to a company.
We’re here to clear things up. We’ve outlined the ins and outs of enterprise architecture and EA frameworks. And we’ve pinpointed the reasons leaders should bump enterprise architecture to the top of their priority list.
What Is Enterprise Architecture?
Enterprise architecture is all about boosting a business’ productivity. But it takes a holistic approach.
It’s a way of bringing a bunch of the different groups or systems in an operation together. That usually means lining up a company’s functions, processes, technology, and information systems. To be a good system, they should be all working towards the same goal.
Technology is growing at a rapid rate. And that means companies use different technologies for different functions. They might even use completely different systems.
For instance, a company might use one set of technology to store customer data. But they could have other sets for sorting through that info, selling products, and responding to customers.
And that same company might use a complicated mix of technology systems too. It might use cloud servers, physical servers, applications, and software all at once.
Enterprise architecture can line all of these systems up with the group’s strategies.
There’s plenty more about experts who specialize in enterprise architecture. But here are some common enterprise architecture frameworks.
Enterprise Architecture Framework for Planning
Enterprise architecture is meant for the whole organization, not one specific part or problem. But there are still some enterprise architecture frameworks for planning out EA.
Here are some common examples:
Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture – This framework is named for the founder of EA. It covers six architecture focuses and six stakeholders. And it zooms in on the makeup of IT.
Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework – Legislation mandated IT efficiency in the government. This was the response. It was originally made for the United States Government, but it can be used by private groups.
The Open Group Architectural Framework – This framework is all about setting up standards. It gives businesses a standard set of EA vocabulary, compliance methods, standards, and tools.
Gartner – It’s less of a set framework and more of a collection of steps and components. It puts a big emphasis on business outcomes.
There are a lot of EA frameworks out there, but these are some popular ones that focus on general EA methods.
There are also software programs that are often used to build enterprise architecture plans. Here are some common ones:
- Software AG
- BOC Group
- Sparx Systems
The Advantages of Enterprise Architecture
Enterprise architecture usually works to shift the focus to broad outcomes. So, it’s meant to get multiple areas of a company unified and working together with the same technology.
Here are some top advantages of mastering enterprise architecture:
It Can Promote Innovation
Simply put, a unified enterprise can adapt to change better. That means, when new disruptive technologies come along, they are set up to use them.
This is because EA lets a group know how systems are set up, how they work, and what change will mean to them.
It makes it easy to see what systems are holding up progress. So, a company can get rid of the dead weight and adapt to the latest advancements.
It also can mean more productivity within individual departments. Rather than some groups having access to technology and others having more primitive systems, EA can get everyone on the same page.
That means groups are freed up to work within their field of expertise with fewer hangups.
It Can Improve Productivity
It’s common for enterprises to have departments that work independently from one another. When it comes to technology systems, this can cause some inefficiencies.
For instance, one department may pick up a software program. Another, within the same company, may have gone through the same process a few months before.
Without solid enterprise architecture, this could turn into duplicated efforts. They might unwittingly go through the same processes and double the work.
Basically, when departments turn into silos, they often end up trying to reinvent the wheel.
Enterprise architecture can prevent this waste of time, money, and productivity.
It Cuts Down Costs and Confusion
Enterprise architecture puts one question in front of every task: Is this necessary for the strategy?
This simplifies tasks and decisions, especially when it comes to information technology. It also frees up IT specialists for projects that are driven by the mission of the company.
That saves time and makes sure money is flowing toward the enterprise’s goals.
It Reduces Overall Risk
Since it gets everyone on the same page, IT systems are usually simplified through enterprise architecture. And that means it’s less risky.
That’s because it takes time to look at potential errors or security breaches. It also can free up staff members so they aren’t distracted by tasks that aren’t central to the mission.
More centralized systems also mean fewer chances of big crashes or catastrophes.
It Makes Everything Measurable
It’s tough to realize progress when there aren’t ways to measure outcomes. This is where focusing on enterprise architecture can drastically strengthen a corporation.
It sets up benchmarks and standards. That way a group can look at results, set up feedback, and improve.
And it also makes sure those measurements line up with the strategy of the enterprise as a whole. Implementing EA and Developing a Business
This guide to enterprise architecture lays out the ways it can streamline a company’s success. But there are lots of little-known keys to developing a business.
We’re here to help entrepreneurs succeed. We have resources for everyone from start-up business leaders to seasoned managers who want to increase their margins.
Visit our business development section here for news, tips, and ways to get the most out of any business.