What does an enterprise architect do? One of the primary roles is to be a planner and strategist. This involves accounting for trends, identifying options, and developing recommendations that result in positive business outcomes. Along the way, you can never lose sight of cost benefits and risks. Below is an example of how the process works to attain the desired goals.
There are many different enterprise architecture (EA) frameworks. One of the best and most widely recognized is The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF). This modified example focuses on what I consider key areas.
- Business vision
- Document high level business requirements, identify stakeholders, confirm business goals
- Evaluate your organizations capabilities and assess readiness for transformational change
- Define scope
- Identify risk mitigation activities
- Develop a statement of work (SOW)
- Define the types and sources of data needed to support the business
- Define key application systems that will process the data and support the business
- Document the target technology including hardware, software and network communications that will form the basis of implementation
- Opportunities and solutions
- Organize the different architectural components into a way that delivers the desired business outcomes
- Migration planning
- Ensure a plan is created and coordinated with the various stakeholders
- Prioritize the migration projects through a cost/ business assessment and risk validation
- Develop a monitoring process that ensures conformance with the desired architecture
- Change management
- Provide continual monitoring and a change management process that ensures benefits realization
A key thing to note is that there are many different roles involved in the process. Start with the business vision that you desire to achieve. This step is driven by senior leaders based upon their knowledge of a specific business problem they are seeking to solve. That information is utilized by the architecture team who are made up of technology specialists who know what needs to be achieved either utilizing existing resources or some variation of hosted or cloud services. The architectures are all pulled together into a comprehensive solution that is the best fit for the organization to implement and sustain. A change management team can ensure a smooth cutover and develop a plan to address ongoing change. Governance surrounds the project to ensure everything is on track, focuses on value creation and that decisions are made with the best interest of the stakeholders in mind.
Of course smaller organizations or projects don’t have the luxury of having a large staff address all of these steps in a comprehensive manner and must make do with resources at hand, but still should address the major steps to ensure the project’s success.