Enterprise Architecture | The Ultimate Guide | Bluestonex

The ultimate guide to Enterprise Architecture

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What is Enterprise Architecture

Business ecosystems are only getting more and more complex with the rise of higher data processing needs. When taking into account the facets of a business- people, data, products, processes, technologies and more, these complexities are only amplified by the interactions of the various facets. So how can a business get all of these aspects working together effectively so that data can be channelled into moving a business forward and keeping a business running?

This is where the concept of Enterprise Architecture was born. In its most simple form, EA is a conceptual framework used to display how a business is constructed. This is used to highlight relationships between each of these aspects and shed light on inefficiencies or where improvements & automation can be introduced. This is a great tool to use during digital transformation as it's an easy way to identify how IT is currently supporting the business and which emerging technologies can be utilised by a business depending on its needs.

What is Enterprise Architecture used for?


Map business processes and turn them into objectives to priories improvements for better business operations.


Create the blueprints for the future interactions of your business to optimise processes based on individual business goals.


Balance day-to-day operations with digital transformations to keep your business innovating.

Why is Enterprise Architecture Important?

Enterprise Architecture modelling is used to help large organisations which have complex data processing needs amongst multiple departments understand the interplay of how processes and data support the business. This visually displays potential inefficiencies that could pose a risk to the business. This helps businesses make the best-informed decisions about remedying inefficiencies, streamlining processes and making the business the most effective version of itself. It’s often used in tandem with digital transformation to create a value case for the introduction of relevant emerging technologies- like using AI to process new orders instead of manually adding them to sales and other relevant sources.

What are the Benefits of Enterprise Architecture

The largest organisations are often decentralised with various groups with individual data processing needs. Whilst the needs and size of these data users vary, it’s important that collaboration and communication remain streamlined and clear. Enterprise Architecture supports this by visually mapping how these users interact with technology, data and each other. Here are some of the incumbent benefits that large organisations can expect to achieve from utilising EA:

• Make better use of IT resources and prioritise business-critical tasks first.
• Implement innovations faster at a departmental level.
• Creates an optimised technology infrastructure- better for communication and costs.
• Reduce inefficiencies and risks.
• Centralise efforts and systems.
• Increases ROI of existing systems and assets

What are the Four Pillars of Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture is a framework designed to enable organisations to plan and arrange information technology assets and infrastructure. To do this each compent that touches the IT infrastructure must be analysed. If you need a quick answer, here are the four pillars:

• Business
• Data
• Application
• Technology

4 examples of Enterprise Architecture Models

When putting Enterprise Architecture into action, there are several approaches a business can choose from. Each model provides a unique style of guidance for enterprise architecture, addressing problems and how technology can align to solve them. Here are four of the most popular models and what they are used for.

The Zachman Model

The Zachman model was developed in the 1980s and is represented in the form of a two-dimensional 30-cell taxonomy. It creates a two-dimensional classification highlighting the intersection between two chosen classifications. Its widely used today as the ontology for Enterprise architecture.

Federal Enterprise Architectural Framework (FEAF)

Coming later in 1999, the Federal Enterprise Architectural Framework (FEAF) is an approach towards enterprise architecture designed by Chief Information Officers to facilitate shared development of common processes and information across governments and their federal agencies. It’s an ideal approach for large organisations that need to balance sharing large amounts of data with the safety and governance of said data.

Department of Defence Architecture Framework (DoDAF)

The Department of Defence Architecture Framework (DoDAF) model is used by the said department of the US Government by CIO to identify areas of development and maintenance for its enterprise architecture. This model differs from the aforementioned ones due to its ability to visualise these concerns specifically for stakeholders, which is particularly useful for communicating issues and value cases to decision-makers.

The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF)

The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF) is an enterprise architecture framework designed to help organisations define their requirements and organise them prior to beginning a project. Theoretically, this helps an enterprise architecture project run faster and with fewer mistakes. It also helps an organisation to stay focused on its specific needs. It is often depicted as a looped circle with ongoing, repeating checks.

Why does Enterprise Architecture fail?

Enterprise Architecture models are a great way to futureproof a business. To identify issues and overcome them using technology. But it’s worth noting that its not guaranteed to be successful. EA is often carried out and lobbied by CIOs, data users and business development teams. However, without the support and understanding of stakeholders, EA can rarely gain enough traction to deliver organisational change. Decision makers are crucial to have onboard for this, which is why selecting the type of Enterprise architecture model is so important. This means those carrying out need to be good at communicating or selling a value case as well as being an Enterprise Architect.

Secondly, the pace is everything with enterprise architecture. Technology moves fast, markets move faster. If organisational architects are too rigid, they stand a chance of missing the boat and falling behind. With 65% of organisations adopting EA into their digital transformation strategy today its never been more important to build in agility to an organisation on both a technological level and a cultural level.

How to increase Enterprise Architecture success

Everyone looking to employ Enterprise Architecture into their digital transformation strategy wants it to be as successful as possible. But how can that be done. As we have already mentioned, it can go wrong if not communicated or not capitalised on fast enough. To make enterprise architecture successful, trust is important. Build it between users, their data and their systems to bring them onboard. Furthermore, expect change and innovation. Expecting enterprise architecture to produce little or no errors only results in little innovation and digital transformations stagnating- which in turn can hinder business growth and scalability into the long-term.

Here are our top tips to make enterprise architecture as successful as possible:
• Create architecture for the whole enterprise, including stakeholders.
• Focus on the real business issues, not just IT issues.
• Use data for active decision-making, not just archiving.
• Balance governance with collaboration.
• Transform data insights into actions
• Always reflect and enhance
• Futureproof your scalability

How to create Enterprise Architecture function?

To get Enterprise Architecture to function for your organisation, there are a few important activities worth noting and applying to your EA strategy. This can be particularly important for larger companies which have to balance the optimising performance to fit the bigger picture, without disrupting day-to-day operations, as well as ensuring these strategic changes are adopted on an operational macro level. Failure to get this right could result in affected agility, reduced effectiveness organisation-wide and no digital-transformational success. By getting EA to function throughout your organisation, complexity challenges can be overcome and data/IT resources can be aligned to help achieve strategic goals. Here are our four steps to get EA functioning in your organisation.

Establish the EA initiative

Establishing an EA program is the most important step. Setting up correctly can directly affect how successful an EA program is. This should begin with appointing a Head EA to define ownership of the project. They should also define the implementation and approach to governance- which can stretch beyond solution and infra and cover users and their adoption.

Secondly, its essential to define the EA goal. This is the first step in forming a strategy. With a goal in mind, Architects can work backwards to plan the best way to update the architecture with the gradual alignment from various business departments.

Select a Framework and Tools

Organisational size, complexities, and decision-makers are all factors which need to be taken into account when choosing the right framework for the initiative. This will also dictate the best tools and technologies to deploy. Larger organisations with hard-to-reach decision-makers may prefer the DoDAF method, whereas organisations looking to move with pace may prefer the ontology of the Zachman model. Tools chosen will need to manage individual aspects of the project, and delivery and create a realistic pipeline of work to keep the initiative progressing.

Documentation of EA

Documentation of the existing architecture is important to create a benchmark to move up. Documentation can also be used to record any minor changes or overcome small setbacks, which may be useful to reference later in the project.

Use and maintenance of EA

Finally, once new Enterprise architecture is deployed and running, it needs to be maintained. This is done via a collaborative management model across all stakeholders within an organisation. Not only does this cover technical staff maintaining systems & data, but also includes government, training and adoption amongst users throughout the organisation. This requires regular meetings and collaboration across the whole organisation. To ensure adoption is successful, user management and HR may wish to employ strategic management strategies like Lewin’s Ice Cube model for maximum chance of success.

Which emerging technology trends are important to Enterprise Architecture?

The Enterprise Architecture model is a great way to identify areas in need of digital transformation to refresh information architecture. Emerging technologies are already having an impact on how businesses operate for the better through automation, better decision making and general efficiency gains. EA and digital transformation go hand-in-hand as an avenue for businesses to adapt to fast-changing markets and customer needs. With these factors becoming more and more uncertain, as much as 65% of organisations have involved EA in their digital initiatives as of this year. This puts organisations not using EA in a minority and at a major disadvantage. Here are some of the emerging technologies organisations are choosing to integrate off the back of Enterprise Architecture:

Ai & Machine Learning

Ai and Machine Learning are effective ways to automate typically mountainous and repetitive tasks. This has the potential to speed up operations as well as minimise errors. Ai and Machine learning can also be applied to other areas like customer service. Due to its evolving nature, this is an emerging technology only set to improve.

ERP & Master data processing software

ERP software used in tandem with master data processing software, such as Maextro, helps an organisation to streamline its data processing workflows and automate governance and compliance. This relieves manual processing pressures that need to adhere to governance and stores it centrally so the information can be accessed by the parties that need it and are given access.

Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) is essentially the use of sim cards in devices to control them via a wireless connection, thus creating an internal network of business devices. With current markets forcing industries like manufacturing to work as streamlined as possible, IoT has been a great strategic tool in balancing the maximum production time of machinery with monitoring for when a cool down is required, thus letting manufacturers produce for longer periods and plan for downtime.

Data Analytics

Data Analytics is perhaps the most transformative technology available to large businesses. Modern Data Analytics from SAP enables real-time reporting for more accurate and agile decision-making. The better the decision-making can be, the faster an organisation can scale and thrive in its market.

Is Enterprise Architecture the Future?

Enterprise Architecture and Digital Transformation go hand in hand. As data consumption mounts and complexities grow, more and more enterprises will rely on Enterprise Architecture to keep businesses efficient and scalable. It’s an easy methodology for businesses to ideate which emerging technologies to introduce to their organisation for growth and efficiency gains. Furthermore, once selected, it highlights a data-driven strategy for how to introduce them and which to prioritise. In strategic digital business development, this is essentially a cheat sheet in what can seem like a complex and uphill battle. It’s also predicted that over 60% of businesses already rely on EA to lead their approaches in Digital Transformation. This tells us it’s not only the future but the present.

Our Enterprise Architecture Services

Enterprise Architecture is a very important & fundamental building block of your SAP estate. Whether you are looking at SAP installations on-premises, SAP solutions in the cloud or even a hybrid solution, speak to us about your thoughts and let us help you with some valuable insight giving you a professional, straightforward approach that adds value to your organisation.

For some businesses, different drivers and industry regulations dictate the landscape. Whether you are looking to get the most from your current estate, new to SAP, upgrading or looking to simplify your environment let us help you with your strategy and technical direction. We have many years of experience in designing landscapes as well as working on many ‘carve out projects’ even working with SAP themselves. (System Landscape and Optimisation – Services).

For more information on mapping your Enterprise Architecture or what to do next with your inefficiencies, get in touch with us today and arrange a call with an Enterprise Architecture expert.