Enterprise Architecture, widely used in commercial ventures and federal agencies, has been viewed primarily as an IT discipline and has been relegated to the office of the Chief Information Officer or the Chief Technology Officer. In this paper, the authors argue that EA has the potential for far-reaching impact on an organization’s “bottom line.” In many organizations, the EA is the only repository of enterprise-wide abstractions of the business. To begin to realize its potential, the EA needs to be exploited by enterprise management processes and should be organizationally re-located where its influence can be far more pervasive. By positioning the EA as a repository for enterprise management, it can integrate discrete business operations and strategies to enable a more efficient, more agile organization.
In this article, we argue that ontology’s and semantic web technologies are important to the future of Enterprise Architecture (EA). The article outlines the value and need for dynamic models of enterprises, and points to semantic web technologies as the most promising way to do this. First, we observe that Enterprise Architecture (EA) models that could be distributed, federated, and executed will be essential to support the needs of agile enterprises to respond rapidly to opportunity and change. As the value propositions, applications and uses of EA move toward executable models, we note that ontology’s and semantic web standard languages are well suited for the next generation of EA solutions. Semantics involve knowledge representation and semantic web technology not only makes it easier to aggregate and analyze information, but also paves the road to active or executable enterprise architectures driven by its capabilities for expressing, querying and federating enterprise models and information.
The District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) recently completed a set of Citywide Enterprise Architecture (EA) blueprints that illustrate IT systems and enterprise business processes with a near-term focus of the nine Services Modernization Programs (SMP). The Citywide WA is compliant with the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework Level III. The Citywide EA is comprises four blueprints: business architecture, information architecture, application architecture, and infrastructure architecture. The Citywide EA application blueprint comprises a Services Oriented Architecture for hared software components. Three of these EA blueprints will be published in the District’s IT Strategic Plan 2005-2008. The fourth viewpoint, infrastructure architecture, is classified as Protected Critical Infrastructure Information by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the District is designing long-term Concepts of Operations that constitute strategic program plans and target architectures for each SMP. The District’s to-be planning approach incorporates best practices from Business Process Reengineering and EA.