EA Approaches

The EA3 Cube approach is an example of a complete approach to EA.

A Complete Approach to Enterprise Architecture

A “complete” EA approach must include six core elements, which must be designed to work together.

  • Architecture Governance
  • Architecture Framework
  • Implementation Methodology
  • Documentation Artifacts
  • Architecture Repository
  • Associated Best Practices

EA Core Element #1: Architecture Governance

The first basic element is “Governance” which identifies the planning, decision-making, and oversight processes and groups that will determine how the enterprise architecture is developed and maintained – as part of an enterprise’s overall governance. EA Governance aims at supporting integrated governance, an integrated group of management policies and processes that form an overall governance structure as is shown in the figure above. Typically, architecture governance must be conformant with both the overall corporate governance and the established IT governance mechanisms and structures.

EA Core Element #2: Architecture Framework

The second basic element is “Framework” which identifies the scope of the overall architecture and the type and relationship of the various sub-architecture levels, threads and other viewpoints. Not all frameworks allow for segments or integration of strategy, business, technology, but EA3 does.

EA Core Element #3: Implementation Methodology

The third basic element is “Methodology” which are specific steps to establish and maintain an EA program, via the selected approach.

There are other, more elaborate methods on the market.


EA Core Element #4: Documentation Artifacts

The fourth basic element is “Artifacts” which identifies the types and methods of documentation to be used in each sub-architecture area, including strategic analyses, business plans, internal controls, security controls, and models of workflow, databases, systems, and networks. An artifact is a deliverable.

EA3 describes 46 artifacts.

EA Core Element #5: Architecture Repository

The fifth basic element is “Repository” which includes the EA website, documentation database, and the software applications (tools) that are used for modeling, analysis, and reporting. The repository’s design should reflect the underlying architecture approach. Providing easy access to EA documentation is essential for use in planning and decision-making. This can be accomplished through the establishment of an on-line EA repository to archive the documentation of EA components in the various areas of the EA framework. The EA repository is essentially a website and database that stores information and provides links to EA tools and other EA program resources. Figure 1-7 provides an example of how an EA repository might be designed. This example is called Living Enterprise™ and it is designed to support documentation that is organized through the use of the EA³ Cube framework. Chapter 12 provides additional details on the design and function of an EA repository.


EA Core Element #6: Associated Best Practices

The sixth basic element is “Associated Best Practices” which are proven ways to implement parts of the overall architecture or sub-architectures, in context of meta EA.


Summary of Concepts

Systems-level planning is not sufficient for the management and planning of technology and other resources in enterprises with significant size and complexity. EA is an improved approach that looks at systems holistically as well as provides a strategy and business context. EA was described as being as both a management process and a documentation method that helps enterprises with business and technology planning, resource management, and decision-making. The purpose of an EA management program was presented: strategic alignment, standardized policy, decision support, and resource development. The six basic elements of an EA documentation method were presented: the EA documentation framework, EA components, current EA views, future EA views, an EA Management and Transition Plan and multi-level threads that include security, standards, and workforce planning. An example of how to communicate the various areas of an EA framework was also provided. The following chapters of this section will describe why EA is valuable to many types of enterprises, what the risks of doing EA are, and how to ensure that EA is driven by strategic goals and business requirements.