The role of Enterprise Architecture

In the development of a house, building or any object we can always identify the following main steps:
• A discovery process to identify the needs and requirements in the context of a certain situation;
• A design process which leads to a design of the object in the form of drawings and/or models;
• A transformation process to plan the realisation of the object in its environment;
• A construction process that regards the realisation of the actual object based on the design and realisation plan.

The principles, guidelines and rules identified in the discovery phase are used in both the design, transformation and construction process. As such, the architecture impacts all processes.

The architecture constraints the freedom of the designer and constructor of the object and guides them towards a structure that complies with the business vision and concepts of the architecture. The architecture serves as a prescription for the
design, transformation and construction of the object. As a result the object will be recognised as being ‘designed and constructed under architecture’. The object will inherit the added value of the architecture and will support the (cultural) values, goals and objectives of the organisation. The described role of architecture originates from the building industry. In prescribing the structure, function and style of a building the architecture defines principles, guidelines and rules for:

• The type of components of which the building may be composed; • How these components must fit together; • What assemblies of the components are allowed;

• What functions (usage, living, and working) do the components and component assemblies support;

• And how the style represents the values of the owner. The prescription concerns the overall architecture as well as the design models and the actual construction of the building. IFEAD uses the same approach by defining the architectural steps for architecting business / organisations and IT systems. In prescribing the structure of an organisation and its related business or an IT system the architecture defines principles, guidelines and rules for:

• The type of components of which the business or system may be composed;

• How these components must fit together;

• How the components communicate and co-operate;

• What assemblies of the components are allowed;

• What functions (communication, control, security, and information) the components and component assemblies support;

• And how the style expresses the (cultural) values of the stakeholders of that organisation.

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