The implementation of enterprise architecture means that an organization adopts processes for the development and governance of EA artifacts and deliverables.
The discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) was developed in the 1980s with a strong focus on the information systems landscape of organizations. Since those days, the scope of the discipline has slowly widened to include more and more aspects of the enterprise as a whole. This holistic perspective takes into account the concerns of a wide variety of stakeholders. Architects, especially at the strategic level, attempt to answer the question: “How should we organize ourselves in order to be successful?”
The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is an enterprise architecture methodology that offers a high-level framework for enterprise software development. TOGAF helps organize the development process through a systematic approach aimed at reducing errors, maintaining timelines, staying on budget and aligning IT with business units to produce quality results.
The Open Group developed TOGAF in 1995, and in 2016, 80 percent of Global 50 companies and 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies used the framework. TOGAF is free for organizations to use internally, but not for commercial purposes. However, businesses can have tools, software or training programs certified by The Open Group. There are currently eight certified TOGAF tools and 71 accredited courses offered from 70 organizations.
EA touches on many aspects such as business, IT (and especially the alignment of these two), strategic portfolio management, project management and risk management. EA is by definition about cooperation and therefore it is impossible to operate in isolation. Successful embedding of an EA capability in the organization is typically approached as a change project with clearly defined goals, metrics, stakeholders, appropriate governance and accountability, and with assigned responsibilities in place.
Think big, start small
The potential footprint of a mature EA capability is as big as the entire organization, but one of the key success factors for being successful with EA is to deliver value early on. Experience from our consultancy practice proves that a “think big, start small” approach has the most potential for success. This means that the process of implementing an EA capability is a process with iterative and incremental steps, based on a long term vision. Each step in the process must add measurable value to the EA practice, and priorities should be based on the needs and the change capacity of the organization.
Combine process and modeling
The TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language are a powerful combination. Deliverables in the architecture process are more effective when based on an approach that combines formal models with powerful visualization capabilities.
The TOGAF standard describes the architecture process in detail. The Architecture Development Method (ADM) is the core of the TOGAF standard. The ADM is a customer-focused and value-driven process for the sustainable development of a business capability. The ADM specifies deliverables throughout the architecture life-cycle with a focus on the effective communication to a variety of stakeholders. ArchiMate is fully complementary to the content as specified in the TOGAF standard. The ArchiMate standard can be used to describe all aspects of the EA in a coherent way, while tailoring the content for a specific audience. Even more, an architecture repository is a valuable asset that can be reused throughout the enterprise. This greatly benefits communication and cooperation of Enterprise Architects and their stakeholders.
Use a tool
It is true, “a fool with a tool is still a fool.” In our teaching and consulting practice we have found, however, that adoption of a flexible and easy to use tool can be a strong driver in pushing the EA initiative forward.
EA brings together valuable information that greatly enhances decision making, whether on a strategic or more operational level. This knowledge not only needs to be efficiently managed and maintained, it also needs to be communicated to the right stakeholder at the right time, and even more importantly, in the right format.
EA has a diverse audience that has business and technical backgrounds, and each of the stakeholders needs to be addressed in a language that is understood by all. Therefore, essential qualifications for EA tools are: rigidity when it comes to the management and maintenance of knowledge and flexibility when it comes to the analysis (ad-hoc, what-if, etc.), presentation, and communication of the information to diverse audiences.
— To the point overview of TOGAF, ArchiMate, and its fitness for purpose for a tool supported Enterprise Architecture practice.
— Example description of a transformation case in finances, the applicability of TOGAF and ArchiMate for rationalizing an IT applications portfolio