One of the greatest challenges that large, complex enterprises face is to develop a way to holistically see themselves as they currently are and as they want to be in the future. It is valuable for large, complex enterprises to be able to do this so they can optimize the use of current resources in accomplishing strategic goals and line-of-business objectives, as well as being able to model and analyze alternative future states that will improve agility and competitiveness. This article proposes that enterprise architecture (EA) is an effective way to develop current and future views of the entire enterprise, or parts of the enterprise, on an ongoing basis. EA does this primarily by integrating the processes for strategic, business, and technology planning in a way that also integrates with other business and technology governance processes (e.g., capital planning, program management, risk management, security, and workforce planning). EA also provides a detailed, repeatable, and scalable methodology for documentation and analysis that utilizes an organizing framework, documentation artifacts, a repository, and best practices. The EA3 Cube Framework™ and the “Living Enterprise™” repository (developed by the author in 2003) will be used to discuss how EA works and how it integrates with other areas of governance. The role of theory in grounding governance and best practices is discussed, and the “Organization Network Model” is introduced as a model of how modern organizations often function and as the underpinning of the EA3 Cube Framework. The article concludes by observing that EA is unique among existing management practices in that it provides a way to abstract and understand large, complex enterprises in their entirety, and is increasing being used on a global basis in the public and private sectors to support planning and decision-making at the executive, management, and staff levels of the enterprise, as well as to guide the selection and implementation of projects to achieve strategic and tactical goals.
Journal of Enterprise Architecture