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Context for Enterprise Architecture

An Enterprise Architecture Program is best viewed as an operational unit of the business and as such it has a context. The program must provide value to the business and it does this by ensuring that architectural effort is aligned with the strategic plans of the organization and that the implementation initiatives are carried out in such a way that honors the enterprise architecture.

Enterprise Architect has a number of powerful features to model and visualize the alignment of the architectures and the strategic plans. These visualizations can be used when assessing which Information Technology initiatives are contributing to the strategic business goals and objectives. Enterprise Architect has a number of useful facilities for guiding the implementation projects and assessing their level of compliance including the Team Review facility and the definition of how principles are applied in the context of the solution architectures.

Strategic Context

The Business Architecture must be related back to the Strategic Plans to ensure that all the other architecture domains that describe the architecture in more detail are ultimately going to benefit the enterprise and deliver value. Business Architects typically gather information from the company strategists and should be privy to the high level discussions and decisions about the future plans for the enterprise and its organizations.

Enterprise Architect has a number of tools that help ensure that the architecture's alignment to the strategic plans can be visualized and the drivers that form part of the Business Architecture are related back to elements of the plan. The business plan will typically reside in a corporate repository but a hyperlink can be created from an Artifact within Enterprise Architect that will launch the Strategic Plan or other documentation. Elements of the Business Architecture can be related to the Artifact that acts as a surrogate for the external plan.

Implementation Context

The purpose of the architecture is to ensure that initiatives and projects deliver the business value and benefits that have been described in the architectural models and so the monitoring of the compliance of the implementation projects is critical to the success of the architectures and ultimately the architectural program. Implementation Governance is a key part of the architectural process and needs to be formally managed to ensure that the architecture acts as a guide for the implementation teams but also to ensure that the architecture is clearly understood and followed. The Implementation initiatives are ultimately what transforms an organization from a baseline (current) state to a target (future) state and ensuring that these initiatives comply with the principles and the designs is critical to the success of the program.

Enterprise Architect has a number of powerful tools to assist with the governance of Implementation initiatives including the Team Review facility that can be used to conduct one-off or repeating reviews of projects ensuring that their level of compliance can be determined. The fact that Strategic, Tactical and Solution Architectures and implementation projects can be managed in the same tool makes the governance process more streamlined. Even if the Enterprise Architecture and the implementation projects are located in separate repositories, content can be imported into the architecture repository for the purpose of making the assessment. Examples of how the principles are applied in the context of each initiative can be modeled using Instances of Principles providing a useful guidance for implementation teams.