Growing Into Enterprise Architecture
By Pat Shepherd on Mar 17, 2010
I am writing this post as I am in an Enterprise Architecture class, specifically on the Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework (OEAF). I have been a long believer that SOA’s key strength is that it is the first IT approach that blends or unifies business and technology. That is a common view and is certainly valid but is not completely true (or at least accurate). As my personal view of EA is growing, I realize more than ever that doing EA is FAR MORE than creating a reference architecture, creating a physical architecture or picking a technology to standardize on. Those are parts of the puzzle but not the whole puzzle by any stretch.
I am now a firm believer that the various EA frameworks out there provide the rigor and structure required to allow the bridging of business strategy / vision to IT strategy / vision.
The flow goes something like this:
Business Strategy –> Business / Application / Information / Technology Architecture –> SOA Reference Architecture –> SOA Functional Architecture. Governance is imbued throughout to help map, measure and verify the business-to-IT coherence.
With those in place, then (and only then) can SOA fulfill it’s potential to be more that an integration strategy, more than a reuse strategy; but also a foundation for tying the results of IT to business vision.
Fortunately, EA is a an ongoing process that it is never too late to get started with an understanding of frameworks such as TOGAF, FEA, or OEAF. Also, EA is never ending in that it always needs to be applied and re-applied, even once a full-blown Enterprise Architecture is established -- it needs to be constantly evolved. For those who are getting deeper into EA as a discipline, there is plenty runway to grow as your company/customer begins to look more seriously at EA.
I will close with a pointer to a Great Book I have recently read on this subject: Enterprise Architecture as Strategy