The structure of the enterprise

‘Enterprise architecture’ can be a misleading term. Since its inception in the early 1990s, it has developed in three successive waves:

  • first waveEA = IT technical architecture (TA) – reduce complexity and cost of IT systems
    • increased convergence consolidates purchasing, lowers training costs, etc
  • second waveEA = Enterprise-Wide IT Architecture (EWITA) – support collaboration among different parts of the enterprise:
    • shared access to information across business and with partners / customers
    • elimination of duplication across different functions or business units
    • address concerns that cut across business units, such as IT-system integration
  • third waveEA = EWITA + Business Architecture (EITA+EBA) – increase enterprise agility and alignment with business strategy
    • enable changes in business strategy with quick-response changes in enabling processes and technology solutions
    • inform strategy more effectively with strategic paths to identify and integrate technology-enabled opportunities (and threats)

Although these earlier waves of development brought real benefits to business, one of the less successful characteristics was uncertainty over aims, leading to a lack of trust between business and IT. It’s only through the new insights of whole-of-organisation integration that the ‘disconnect’ between business and IT can be bridged:

  • fourth waveEA = whole-of-enterprise architecture (WEA) – increase integration across value-webs, infrastructures, multi-role / multi-partner enterprises
    • emphasis on overall effectiveness rather than single-point ‘efficiency’
    • increase overall agility, adaptability, responsiveness, resilience, management of opportunity / risk
    • increase synergies between processes and partners
    • increase overall engagement in innovation, productivity, quality

Using frameworks such as SEMPERSCORE and the Tetradian model, Tetradian is a thought-leader in this next wave of enterprise-architecture development.

For more information, see the presentation Whole-of-enterprise architecture: Extending enterprise-architecture beyond IT (PDF: 1150kb).

See the Tetradian Books website for Real Enterprise Architecture: beyond IT to the whole enterprise and other books by Tom Graves on whole-of-enterprise architecture.

See that website also for other enterprise-architecture tools such as a Function Model stencil for Visio-2003: descriptive notes and Visio 2003 stencil and template on how to create a Functional Business Model, packaged in a ZIP folder.

You’ll also find more information on enterprise-architecture in the Downloads section.

Service-oriented architecture

For more information, see the presentation Architecture as system: Enterprise-architecture, service-architecture and the Viable System Model (PDF: 455kb) – Using system-theory to extend and simplify whole-of-organisation service-oriented architectures.