The Strategic Plan is a fertile source of information that will provide the strategic business context for the Enterprise Architectures. It is critical that the strategic architectures are aligned to the content in this document. The strategic plan will typically include business material that might not be relevant to the Enterprise Architecture Program, and this can be omitted; however, it is common in this information age for many business initiatives, strategic goals, competitive analyses, direction settings and SWOT analyses to have some information technology basis. It is also important to remember that the strategic plan is typically updated annually, or more frequently when business environment forces influence or threaten the plan is some way.
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. This information is translated into business architecture models that distill the important and relevant information and present it in a model that can be articulated with the other architecture domains.
Enterprise Architect has a number of facilities that help ensure that the architecture's alignment to the strategic plans can be visualized in a format that is appropriate for the relevant executive and line of business stakeholders. 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. The Artifact acts as a surrogate for the external plan and then elements for Mission and Vision statements, Goals, Objectives, Drivers, Competitive Analysis and more can be created in the repository.
The diagrams, matrices and lists that describe this strategic context and the way it has been distilled to form the basis for architecture work should be provided to the executive level stakeholders in a view tailored for them. It will then act as a double check that the Business Architect and Chief Architect have interpreted the strategic content correctly. Failure to perform this step initially and whenever the strategic plan (or its equivalent) is changed could result in architectures and implementation initiatives that solve the wrong problem. The Calendar can be used to schedule meetings and to act as a reminder to review the Strategic Plan at least annually, if not more frequently.
Enterprise Architect is a standards compliant modeling platform that allows rich models to be constructed that assist implementation teams, but it also provides the facilities to create compelling views of the architecture for executive level and business stakeholders who are more comfortable viewing images.