What function does Enterprise Architecture play for most businesses?
If you look at any problem or process from a vantage point (big picture), it’s often possible to arrive at solutions which are able to make things run much more smoothly and efficiently. When it comes to business strategy, Enterprise Architecture is something that’s created to address all concerns while simultaneously facilitating change which will improve operations on all fronts. In other words, EA (Enterprise Architecture) practitioners look at all elements of a business and then design strategies and goals that seek to improve stability, and / or spur growth.
There are 4 main components to Enterprise Architecture:
Improvement and constancy is often needed in each of these areas for a business to take advantage of its true capabilities.
What makes Enterprise Architecture so unique is its omniscient focus; this is to say that it isn’t simply concerned with business processes or IT resources, but everything that entails the business itself. In fact, a great deal of attention is usually paid in EA toward integrating the goals of business with that of IT; this is why many people who go devote themselves to this area usually come from an IT background. After all, as one might expect, it’s generally much easier for an IT / tech-minded individual to accumulate business knowledge than it might be for a business-minded individual to comprehend the finer points of a complex IT operation.
Your typical Enterprise Architect will perform a variety of analysis procedures carried out on multiple fronts (as previously mentioned), both on the business side of things as well as in the more technical areas. The goal is to paint a picture of what each individual area is capable of in terms of abilities and production and then determine what their true output is (as well as how they might be affecting / influencing other sectors). To say that this is a very complex and serious task is an understatement, often times certain groups within any business are completely unaware of how their actions might be inhibiting or influencing work in other areas.
The ultimate goal is to bring a greater sense of order and purpose to the organization in any case; aligning goals and strategies. At the end of the process, the Enterprise Architect will arrive at some conclusions which will indicate any and all changes which might need to be made both inside and outside of the institution.
EA is becoming more important on a global scale as well, due to the fact that new technologies, concepts and ideas keep rolling in which businesses are eager to take advantage of. Naturally, whenever you add new components to a machine (in this case the business is the machine) you run the risk of creating malfunction or disturbances. However, if an organization has a great Enterprise Architecture program in place, they can easily and painlessly integrate new items into their overall business strategy without jeopardizing their operation(s). This ability to provide a “first contact buffer” against anything new is arguably, EA’s greatest asset from an overall business standpoint.
If you’re looking for examples of institutions which have already implemented solid, successful Enterprise Architecture programs, then look no further than the US federal government. However, they’re not alone, many healthcare organizations as well as automobile manufacturers have also derived quite a bit of value from Enterprise Architecture. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of course, nearly any business can use employees with EA training and certification to help improve production and general efficiency. Even small to mid-sized organizations can greatly benefit from implementing even a short-term Enterprise Architecture strategy and analysis.
Change is considered to be a constant by most businesses, and for good reason; it’s more-or-less impossible to accurately predict what’s going to happen in the short and long-term when it comes to nearly any individual component of any operation. In this way, the purpose of having an Enterprise Architecture solution on hand isn’t to react; it is to anticipate these forthcoming changes with a suitable set of strategies. As the business, tech and IT landscapes continue to become more and more volatile and complex, it’s vitally important that institutions have an EA solution available which can help to circumvent potential threats (both internal and external).