Sunday, September 8, 2013

What Are Critical EA Domains

Enterprise Architecture has three layers, abstract, logical and physical, the success criteria of the EA initiatives, relies heavily on how the business vision and goals are aligned and mapped to the architecture and design components across domains and eventually to the implementation. Ideally, how many architecture domains an enterprise architecture should encompasses to address all business need?

1. EA is beyond an Abstract Concept

EA suppose to cover all areas of LOB, and help enterprise to achieve their overall business objectives through IT, so, at the high level, the model is Business Model -> Business Capability -> Solution Domain, and then at the lower level, within the highlighted domains, the model can be Business -> Information -> Application -> Technology.

·       It appears EA is more of an abstract concept:
(1) It is measurable
(2) It has deliverables and those are universally accepted
(3) Those deliverables can be used in next phase of architecture work, and
(4) EA is supposed to cover all areas of LOB, and help enterprise to achieve their overall business objectives through IT, and
(5) The EA framework you take also depends on the nature of business and the type of project

·       EA Domains may include:
1) Business Architecture
2) Application Architecture
3) Security Architecture
4) Infrastructure Architecture
5) Information Architecture
6) Network Architecture
7) Integration Architecture: Sub domains may be Message, Data, Service based depending on the maturity model.
8) Data Architecture: Sub domains may include structure data, semi-structured and unstructured contents as well. 

·       Structural architecture vs. functional architecture: EA could benefit hugely from a language that clearly differentiates the structural systems of an organization from the functions of the organization that are the result of those systems interacting. Ideally we need a structural architecture (anatomical) and an accompanying functional (metabolic) architecture. For example, are services a part of the organization’s "anatomy" or a "metabolic process" produced when technology, information and roles interact?

2. Business Architecture is Critical EA Domain

Most critical EA domain is the Business Architecture that allows the Application Architecture to be functionally aligned, business information aligned by the Data Architecture and finally quality serviced by the Technical Architecture. 

·       Business Domain drives other domains. Whatever framework(s) you take and whatever number of domains you classify and put naming on them - there is always one common domain that drives others: This is BUSINESS DOMAIN and having necessary information about how your business runs, what is its structure (or architecture) define other domains (Systems or Applications, Security, Technology, Data or Integration Domains).

·       EA is measurable in terms of
-Overall Value delivered per iteration
(reduced costs of duplication, overlaps in activities, time-to-market...),
-Value delivered to specific stakeholders (blueprint and solution saves so much...) 

3. The Success Criteria of EA Initiatives

There are very low success rate of EA projects to satisfy customer, EA may even have troubles to identify loyal customers besides enterprise architects themselves. What are the success criteria of EA initiatives, and what are tools or mechanism to steering success?
(1) EA is measurable, that is the one important purpose of EA Governance.
(2) EA has deliverables, although it cannot be sure that they are universally accepted, at least, they should benefit decision makers or other EA users/customers with tangible result.
3) Those deliverables can be used in next phase of architecture work; EA deliverables are at high level and will add more granular details as diving deep into specific domain architecture at low levels. 

A forward and reverse traceability matrix can help steering towards these criteria. As the EA initiative is taken up mostly in a top-down approach, obviously in its first iteration,  many of these initiatives will be abstract as it is derived from the business values and goals set up by the business owners and stakeholders. However in subsequent iterations, these abstractions are decomposed for realizations.


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