Enterprise Architecture – four meanings

It sounds like a simple question when someone asks – “what is enterprise architecture?”. But if you have been on the responding end of this question, it isn’t always easy to come up with a clear and succinct answer! After 40 or so years, you would think that the answer was simple, but…

I’ve found it helpful to think of “enterprise architecture” as having four meanings:

  1. It is the architecture of an enterprise… which, I know, is a bit tautological, but this is the essence of EA. To answer the question using this sense of the phrase requires explaining what an “enterprise” is and explaining what this type of “architecture” includes. Remember that enterprise architecture isn’t optional!
  2. The description of the architecture of an enterprise… To use this sense of EA requires explaining how we describe an enterprise architecture, and what this description looks like.
  3. The process of architecting an enterprise… In this sense, there are actually several processes, including developing, changing, governing, and monitoring an enterprise architecture.
  4. And finally the discipline of architecting an enterprise… Which is about individual and collective capabilities, experiences, and aptitudes.

What is Enterprise Architecture - Course ImageUsing these four meanings makes it much easier to really get over the concept and value of Enterprise Architecture.

If you are interested in learning more, the four meanings are covered in detail in this course – What is Enterprise Architecture?

There is also a six-minute video on YouTube.

And if you are curious, find out who put the “enterprise” in enterprise architecture?