Enterprise architecture is the total picture of an enterprise. It incorporates the broad decisions that should be taken by an organization to build its information support system. It also acts as a master plan that coordinates different aspects of a business enterprise. These aspects includes the goals, objectives, and strategies in the business planning process; the business terms, organization structures, processes and data in business operations; application systems and databases involved in automation; and the computers, operating systems and networks that make up the technological infrastructure. Thus, enterprise architecture has become an inevitable knowledge domain for enterprises in the information age.
To address the various issues involved in the business process, enterprise architecture is divided into business architecture, data architecture, application architecture and technical architecture. The objective is to deliver business solutions.
Enterprise architecture works in different ways. It has different applications for different aspects of a business enterprise, such as intellectual capital, organizational learning, strategic planning, organizational design, competitive advantage, business process reengineering, systems delivery, etc. Most business enterprises in the information age thrive on intellectual capital, not equipment or machinery. Thus, people who contribute by means of new ideas, knowledge and skill sets have to be counted as an asset, not a cost. These intellectual assets of the present day business exceed the value of assets that appear on the balance sheet. But tapping intellectual assets requires structural intellectual assets such as manuals, software, and other knowledge. Enterprise architecture helps to procure and exploit the structural intellectual assets.
The process of procuring enterprise architecture is called organizational learning.
In other words, it is a process by which people share ideas and knowledge through procedures integrated with the work environment. It conserves the learning or the structural intellectual assets of an organization, by recording it. It records knowledge about ideas, objectives and plans; governance principles and models; business terms and organizational structures; processes and data; application systems and technical infrastructure.
In the information economy businesses can never be planned, they have to be designed. Thus, strategy in the traditional sense ceases to exist as a plan and becomes an enterprise design.
Organizational design is the other factor that makes use of the knowledge building and analyzing mechanisms of enterprise architecture. Adaptive enterprise design, which prescribes a firm-specific governance mechanism, has become important for present-day business enterprises. Enterprise architecture can help with necessary knowledge inputs. It can also help in building modern concepts like manage-by-wire, that builds mechanisms for sensing and responding to changes in the market many times faster than the competition.
Present-day businesses are looking to reduce product development time. In enterprises where the information content of the product is high, enterprise architecture can help product differentiation to occur at a low cost. Business process reengineering is another area where enterprise architecture can assist. Business process reengineering is a fundamental rethinking, suggesting redesign of the business enterprises to achieve improvements in performance by cost, quality, capital, service and speed. Enterprise architecture can provide the necessary information inputs for facilitating improvements.
Systems delivery is the final area which is vital to any business enterprise. The components in systems delivery, such as systems architecture, technical architecture, data and information architecture, can be very well integrated through enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture has thus become a business solution, rather than a model.
Enterprise Architecture provides detailed information on Enterprise Architecture, Federal Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture Inputs, Enterprise Architecture Planning and more. Enterprise Architecture is affiliated with Contract Management Services.
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