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What Is Enterprise Architecture? – Definition, Methodology & Best Practices

Enterprise architecture (EA) is a strategic planning initiative that helps align business and IT. It provides a visual blueprint, demonstrating the connection between applications, technologies and data to the business functions they support.
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erwin Expert Blog

Top Use Cases for Enterprise Architecture: Architect Everything

Architect Everything: New use cases for enterprise architecture are increasing enterprise architect’s stock in data-driven business

As enterprise architecture has evolved, so to have the use cases for enterprise architecture.

Analyst firm Ovum recently released a new report titled Ovum Market Radar: Enterprise Architecture. In it, they make the case that enterprise architecture (EA) is becoming AE – or “architect everything”.

The transition highlights enterprise architecture’s evolution from being solely an IT function to being more closely aligned with the business. As such, the function has changed from EA to AE.

At erwin, we’re definitely witnessing this EA evolution as more and more as organizations undertake digital transformation initiatives, including rearchitecting their business models and value streams, as well as responding to increasing regulatory pressures.

This is because EA provides the right information to the right people at the right time for smarter decision-making.

Following are some of the top use cases for enterprise architecture that demonstrate how EA is moving beyond IT and into the business.

Enterprise Architecture Use Cases

Top 7 Use Cases for Enterprise Architecture

Compliance. Enterprise architecture is critical for regulatory compliance. It helps model, manage and transform mission-critical value streams across industries, as well as identify sensitive information. When thousands of employees need to know what compliance processes to follow, such as those associated with regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, CCPA, etc.) it ensures not only access to proper documentation but also current, updated information.

The Regulatory Rationale for Integrating Data Management & Data Governance

Data security/risk management. EA should be commonplace in data security planning. Any flaw in the way data is stored or monitored is a potential ‘in’ for a breach, and so businesses have to ensure security surrounding sensitive information is thorough and covers the whole business. Security should be proactive, not reactive, which is why EA should be a huge part of security planning.

Data governance. Today’s enterprise embraces data governance to drive data opportunities, including growing revenue, and limit data risks, including regulatory and compliance gaffes.

EA solutions that provide much-needed insight into the relationship between data assets and applications make it possible to appropriately direct data usage and flows, as well as focus greater attention, if warranted, on applications where data use delivers optimal business value.

Digital transformation. For an organization to successfully embrace change, innovation, EA and project delivery need to be intertwined and traceable. Enterprise architects are crucial to delivering innovation. Taking an idea from concept to delivery requires strategic planning and the ability to execute. An enterprise architecture roadmap can help focus such plans and many organizations are now utilizing them to prepare their enterprise architectures for 5G.

Mergers & acquisitions. Enterprise architecture is essential to successful mergers and acquisitions. It helps alignment by providing a business- outcome perspective for IT and guiding transformation. It also helps define strategy and models, improving interdepartmental cohesion and communication.

In an M&A scenario, businesses need to ensure their systems are fully documented and rationalized. This way they can comb through their inventories to make more informed decisions about which systems to cut or phase out to operate more efficiently.

Innovation management. EA is crucial to innovation and project delivery. Using open standards to link to other products within the overall project lifecycle, integrating agile enterprise architecture with agile development and connecting project delivery with effective governance.

It takes a rigorous approach to ensure that current and future states are published for a wider audience for consumption and collaboration – from modeling to generating road maps with meaningful insights provided to both technical and business stakeholders during every step.

Knowledge retention. Unlocking knowledge and then putting systems in place to retain that knowledge is a key benefit of EA. Many organizations lack a structured approach for gathering and investigating employee ideas. Ideas can fall into a black hole where they don’t get feedback and employees become less engaged.

When your enterprise architecture is aligned with your business outcomes, it provides a way to help your business ideate and investigate the viability of ideas on both the technical and business level.

If the benefits of enterprise architecture would help your business, here’s how you can try erwin EA for free.

Enterprise Architecture Business Process Trial