Business Architecture

The Open Group    TOGAF

Understanding the building blocks of your organisation is essentials to the growth of the organisation. Business Architecture uses various models to build the blue prints for the organisation at a strategic level and this enables business executives to identify gaps in their organisation and develop plans to stay ahead in the markets.

What is an enterprise?

TOGAF defines “enterprise” as any collection of organizations that has a common set of goals. For example, an enterprise could be a government agency, a whole corporation, a division of a corporation, a single department, or a chain of geographically distant organizations linked together by common ownership.

The term “enterprise” in the context of “enterprise architecture” can be used to denote both an entire enterprise – encompassing all of its information and technology services, processes, and infrastructure – and a specific domain within the enterprise. In both cases, the architecture crosses multiple systems, and multiple functional groups within the enterprise.

Confusion often arises from the evolving nature of the term “enterprise”. An extended enterprise nowadays frequently includes partners, suppliers, and customers. If the goal is to integrate an extended enterprise, then the enterprise comprises the partners, suppliers, and customers, as well as internal business units.

The business operating model concept is useful to determine the nature and scope of the enterprise architecture within an organization. Large corporations and government agencies may comprise multiple enterprises, and may develop and maintain a number of independent enterprise architectures to address each one. However, there is often much in common about the information systems in each enterprise, and there is usually great potential for gain in the use of a common architecture framework. For example, a common framework can provide a basis for the development of an Architecture Repository for the integration and re-use of models, designs, and baseline data.

Why do I need an enterprise architecture?

The purpose of enterprise architecture is to optimize across the enterprise the often fragmented legacy of processes (both manual and automated) into an integrated environment that is responsive to change and supportive of the delivery of the business strategy.

Today’s CEOs know that the effective management and exploitation of information through IT is a key factor to business success, and an indispensable means to achieving competitive advantage. An enterprise architecture addresses this need, by providing a strategic context for the evolution of the IT system in response to the constantly changing needs of the business environment.

Furthermore, a good enterprise architecture enables you to achieve the right balance between IT efficiency and business innovation. It allows individual business units to innovate safely in their pursuit of competitive advantage. At the same time, it ensures the needs of the organization for an integrated IT strategy are met, permitting the closest possible synergy across the extended enterprise.

The advantages that result from a good enterprise architecture bring important business benefits, which are clearly visible in the net profit or loss of a company or organization:

  • A more efficient business operation:
    • Lower business operation costs
    • More agile organization
    • Business capabilities shared across the organization
    • Lower change management costs
    • More flexible workforce
    • Improved business productivity
  • A more efficient IT operation:
    • Lower software development, support, and maintenance costs
    • Increased portability of applications
    • Improved interoperability and easier system and network management
    • Improved ability to address critical enterprise-wide issues like security
    • Easier upgrade and exchange of system components
  • Better return on existing investment, reduced risk for future investment:
    • Reduced complexity in the business and IT
    • Maximum return on investment in existing business and IT infrastructure
    • The flexibility to make, buy, or out-source business and IT solutions
    • Reduced risk overall in new investments and their cost of ownership
  • Faster, simpler, and cheaper procurement:
    • Buying decisions are simpler, because the information governing procurement is readily available in a coherent plan
    • The procurement process is faster – maximizing procurement speed and flexibility without sacrificing architectural coherence
    • The ability to procure heterogeneous, multi-vendor open systems
    • The ability to secure more economic capabilities

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