Architecture provides the foundation for a building, as well as for a digital organisation. Every professional involved in digital transformation should at least understand the basics of enterprise architecture (EA).
Organisations with higher digital maturity have their enterprise architecture well in order. They recognise and connect processes, all the information that belongs to those processes, the application landscape, and the technology deployed for it.
Whenever the digital strategy is adjusted, the architecture can directly and adequately respond to it. Competitors are left behind.
Introduction to enterprise architecture
There are various definitions of enterprise architecture in circulation, but such a definition does not sufficiently clarify what it really means. Arron Rouse therefore explains in a 13-minute video what enterprise architecture is.
Four layers of enterprise architecture
Both the business architecture (or process architecture), the information architecture (or data architecture), the application architecture, and the technology architecture all come together in the enterprise architecture (EA).
The business architecture, with the goals, governance, and processes of the organisation, is leading.
The information architecture gives semantics and structure to the information (or data) and connects the information to the processes within and outside the organisation.
The application architecture determines which applications at what time need to exchange which information and data in the process.
The technological architecture makes it technically possible for the systems and information to be used optimally.
Everything is connected
Every organisation has business processes, which come together in a 'business architecture'. In the video, Arron goes into more detail on processes, procedures, activities, and performance indicators. He also makes the connection between a strategy and the 'value stream' with the processes associated with it. This way, it can be measured optimally whether the strategy is successful.
The next layer in enterprise architecture (EA) is the information or data architecture. Information is always connected to a process. And information and data are usually managed in an application. And that application is part of a technological infrastructure.
Compliancy by design
After 3.5 minutes, Arron explains how enterprise architecture can help every organisation comply with laws and regulations. For example, think of the new EU privacy legislation (GDPR or AVG). The GDPR specifically affects certain processes and data.
Thanks to EA, the organisation can quickly identify risks in which processes, activities, and data, so that countermeasures can be taken. This is essential for 'privacy by design', 'security by design', and other 'compliancy by design'.
EA quickly answers your strategic questions
Thanks to the holistic approach of EA, every target group can quickly get answers to strategic questions. For example, decision-makers want to know which processes are strategic and what the results are of the various key performance indicators.
The risk manager or data privacy officer wants to know which processes are affected by privacy legislation, which data this concerns, and through which systems - and third parties - this privacy-sensitive information is managed.
Your role in the digital architecture
In my opinion, a professional involved in digital transformation is at least a little bit of a (digital) architect. You have a full-fledged role (!) in the discussion about the enterprise architecture of the organisation.
The video of Arron gives professionals in digital transformation, in my opinion, a good idea of what EA means and what the advantage is of this approach. It also helps in your conversations with the different types of architects, as identified by Arron from 9:50. These include the business architect, the data and/or information architect, the solutions architect, the application architect, the infrastructure architect, and the enterprise architect responsible.