In enterprise architecture, there are a number of different types of enterprise architecture frameworks, tailored to meet specific business and/or industry needs.
What is an Enterprise Architecture Framework?
An enterprise architecture framework is a standardized methodology that organizations use to create, describe and change their enterprise architectures.
Enterprise architecture (EA) itself describes the blueprint and structure of an organization’s systems and assets. It’s needed to make informed changes that help bridge the gap between the enterprise architecture’s current and desired future state.
Just like any building or infrastructure project, EA has different stakeholders and plan views.
You wouldn’t build a house without understanding the building’s architecture, plumbing, electrical and ground plans all within the context of each other.
So enterprise architecture provides the plans for different views of the enterprise, and EA frameworks describe the standard views an organization can expect to see.
What Makes Up An Enterprise Architecture Framework?
The EA discipline views an organization as having complex and intertwined systems. Effective management of such complexity and scale requires tools and approaches that architects can use.
An enterprise architecture framework provides the tools and approaches to abstract this information to a level of detail that is manageable. It helps bring enterprise design tasks into focus and produces valuable architecture documentation.
The components of an enterprise architecture framework provide structured guidance for four main areas:
1. Architecture description – How to document the enterprise as a system from different viewpoints
Each view describes one domain of the architecture; it includes those meta-types and associations that address particular concerns of interest to particular stakeholders; it may take the form of a list, a table, a chart, a diagram or a higher level composite of such.
2. Architecture notation – How to visualize the enterprise in a standard manner
Each view can be represented by a standard depiction that is understandable and communicable to all stakeholders. One such notation is ArchiMate from The Open Group.
3. Design method – The processes that architects follow
Usually, an overarching enterprise architecture process, composed of phases, breaks into lower-level processes composed of finer grained activities.
A process is defined by its objectives, inputs, phases (steps or activities) and outputs. Approaches, techniques, tools, principles, rules and practices may support it. Agile architecture is one set of supporting techniques.
4. Team organization – The guidance on the team structure, governance, skills, experience and training needed
Kanban boards and agile architecture can help provide team structure, governance and best practices.
Types of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks
There are a number of different types of enterprise architecture frameworks. Here are some of the most popular:
An Open Group architecture framework this is widely used and includes a notation for visualizing architecture. It may be used in conjunction with TOGAF.
The Open Group Architecture Framework that is widely used and includes an architectural development method and standards for describing various types of architecture.
The Department of Defense Architecture Framework that is the standard for defense architectures in the United States.
The Ministry of Defense Architecture Framework that is the standard for defense architectures in the United Kingdom.
The NATO Architecture Framework that is the standard adopted by NATO allies.
A Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework issued by the U.S. CIO Council. FEA, the Federal Enterprise Architecture, provides guidance on categorizing and grouping IT investments as issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
A classification scheme for EA artifacts launched in the early 1980s by John Zachman, who is considered the father of EA.
Telemanagement Forum is the standard reference mode for telecommunication companies.
What’s the Best Enterprise Architecture Framework?
Although this might be somewhat of a non-answer, it’s the only one that rings true: the best enterprise architecture framework is the one that’s most relevant to your organization, and what you’re trying to achieve.
Each different type of enterprise architecture framework has its particular benefits and focus. For example, there are types of enterprise architecture frameworks best suited for organizations concerned with defense.
Having a good understanding of what the different types of EA framework are, can help an organization better understand better understand which EA framework to apply.
Ultimately, organizations will benefit most, from an enterprise architecture management system (EAMS) that supports multiple EA frameworks. This way, the most relevant enterprise architecture framework is always available.
How to Implement an Enterprise Architecture Framework
So you’ve established you need an enterprise architecture framework and assessed the different types of enterprise architecture frameworks, but how should you go about implementing and managing your chosen framework?
The answer? Using an enterprise architecture management suite (EAMS).
An EAMS is used to facilitate the management of an organization’s EA. It adds uniformity and structure, whereas many organizations had previously taken an ad-hoc approach.
And enterprise architecture tools are becoming increasingly important.
Thanks to the rate of digital transformation and the increasing abundance of data organizations have to manage, organizations need more mature, formal approaches to enterprise architecture.
Organization’s seeking to introduce an EAMS, should evaluate which frameworks the technology supports.
With erwin Evolve, users can expect a wide range of support for different types of enterprise architecture frameworks among other benefits, such as:
- Remote collaboration
- High-performance, scalable and centralized repository
- Ability to harmonize EA and business process use cases, with a robust, flexible and Web-based modeling and diagramming interface
erwin Evolve was included in Forrester’s “Now Tech: Enterprise Architecture Management Suites for Q1 2020” report.
To understand why erwin excels in the large vendor category, you can see for yourself by starting a free trial of erwin’s Enterprise Architecture & Business Process Modeling Software.