Which Comes First, Strategy or Architecture?

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Tanaia Parker and Tyson Brooks


This article discusses the “chicken or the egg” dilemma between business strategy and enterprise architecture. Presenting the use of strategy as an influencer in determining the enterprise architecture approach, the article progresses by discussing how enterprise architecture may be used to execute strategy and inform the strategic management process. For every enterprise architect working within either the public or private sector, strategic alignment of the enterprise architecture approach should be made as important a priority as the strategic alignment of the enterprise architecture artifacts themselves. In this article, we stand on the premise that an organization’s strategic foundation should serve as the guiding principle for all business management disciplines including the development and maintenance of enterprise architecture. However, we also make painstakingly clear that effective strategy formulation and execution cannot occur without a reliable and actionable enterprise architecture.

The Community Education Center (CEC) is located in Chicago, Illinois and is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to delivering secondary-education to at-risk students, as well as promoting adult literacy and community development. CEC’s management embarked on an Enterprise Architecture (EA) program as a tool to implement the goals and objectives of their strategic plan; to significantly enhance their service-delivery capability through improved integration and communication between their lines of business, and to improve and stabilize their sources of funding. CEC selected the EA3 “Cube” Framework because of its’ focus on linking client-focused services to an organization’s strategic business plan, and organizing both the in-house and outsourced IT investments to directly support business capability delivery.


Parker, T. and T. Brooks (2008) Which Comes First, Strategy or Architecture? Journal of Enterprise Architecture. Vol 4, No 4.

Journal of Enterprise Architecture

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