7 years, 5 months ago

Do Enterprise Architecture Frameworks matter?

Last week I explained why embracing organizational change is important.  This week I will talk about Enterprise Architecture frameworks and whether or not they matter.

What is an Enterprise Architecture framework?

An Enterprise Architecture framework defines how to organize the structure and communication for a given enterprise architecture within an organization.

Why were they developed?

IT systems are extremely costly and complex.  IT typically has a tough time keeping these systems aligned with the needs of the business. Frameworks have been developed to enable IT business alignment and to model the enterprise in a way that everyone can understand.

Do they matter?

Enterprise architecture frameworks absolutely matter.  Think about building a house without a blueprint or a process to follow.  It would not be safe.  It may not even resemble a house to an onlooker when finished!  Now think about building a house with a blueprint and an efficient easy to follow process included.  Designing enterprise architecture can be thought of in a similar way.  Below are the main benefits for using an enterprise architecture framework:

  • Prevents architects from reinventing the wheel.
  • Predictable and repeatable Enterprise Architecture design
  • Saves extraneous effort and cost by allowing architects to focus on the enterprise and not the process or methodology.

Which framework is best?

There are many frameworks available today.  I have listed the four most commonly used ones below:

  • Zachman – this is more of a taxonomy than a framework, but it was the first EA methodology which formed the basis for all others.
  • The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) – this is the world leading methodology and framework.
  • Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF)
  • Gartner Enterprise Architecture Framework – formerly Meta, includes the Zachman taxonomy with TOGAF processes

If your organization does not have any hard requirements or mandates to use a specific framework, then TOGAF is the framework of choice.  Because TOGAF is a generic framework and methodology for enterprise architecture, it does not compete with the other frameworks.  It is also freely available and starting to be recognized as a practical, industry standard for enterprise architecture.

No matter which framework you choose, you will be more successful with tailoring it to your organizations’ needs and making sure it is consumable for the level of maturity your organization is at.

What Enterprise Architecture frameworks have you had the most success with?

See you next week, same time, same place.

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