What is EA?
Enterprise Architecture (EA) is defined in the IT industry in a multitude of ways. One appropriate definition for SLU is “a blueprint that explains and guides how ITS elements interact with strategic and business-level functions to accomplish SLU’s mission. It must accurately characterize SLU’s current architectural state, the target state toward which SLU is driving, and lay out a sequenced migration plan via a gap analysis between the current and target states. It is a holistic effort that takes into account SLU’s business, performance measures, information, and work flows.”
Enterprise Architecture is the high-level structure of enterprise systems. This can be viewed as a layered model:
Business architecture: the business processes and supporting organizational structure
Application solution architecture: the architecture of applications that support the business processes
Technology architecture: addressing the infrastructure that supports the applications
Information/data architecture: addressing the information that supports the applications
What distinguishes enterprise architecture from architecture at the business unit and product/service level, is its enterprise scope. This allows enterprise architects to create an architectural platform that is the springboard for resounding competitive advantage. By focusing on strategic differentiators and working across the enterprise, there is a unique opportunity to create leverage and synergies, and avoid duplication and inconsistency across the enterprise.
The Scope of EA
EA answers the following questions:
1. What must be decided BEFORE we do the work?
2. What decisions must be made across the enterprise? What are the cross-cutting concerns?
EA also takes a minimalist approach to architectural decision making, which means EA only makes decisions that are essential to implementing the Business Strategy.
Why implement an Enterprise Architecture team within ITS at SLU?
In order to help SLU achieve its mission and its vision to be the finest Catholic university in the United States, ITS must be seen as an enabler, not a cost center. In order to help ITS be seen as an enabler, its architecture should be standardized, simplified, understood, and well-documented. An Enterprise Architecture team will accomplish these goals.
Enterprise Architecture Links and Resources
1.0 ITS Enterprise Architecture Framework
2.0 University Policies and Procedures
6.0 News and Trends
7.0 Strategy 101 -- Under Construction
October 27, 2006