Enterprise architecture (EA)isa computerized system, which organizations implement to facilitate the realization of organizational goals. The architecture refers to the modules used to make the model and the bond that exists among the same modules. The modules are engineered according to predefined principles of the system. The enterprise comprise of individuals who are part of the company. The enterprise collectively owns the technology used within the organization.
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According to Hayles,the main objective of EA is to enhance the performance of an organization by reducing the instances of faults in the tasks that are performed by their employees (13). Companies that do not embrace EA overwork their employee as an approach of increasing their output. Information Technology systems broaden the chances of perfection because they are constructed for there specific purposes that are beyond human recognition.
In most organizations, EA is designated to Information Technology (IT) department. This department is perceived to be the ideal entity for spearheading the technology policy on behalf of the organization. The IT department is responsible for availing the infrastructure. The workforce of this department is comprised of intellectuals who have broad knowledge in IT concepts.
An organization must document the principles of its architecture. The principles dictate how a system is to be constructed in accordance to the needs of the organization. Different organizations have different principles and thus every organization must customize the principles to ensure that the system is fully compatible with the organization. When the principles are being drafted, the organization should evaluate its needs and scoop the practices that favor the organization.
EA is very dynamic and thus requires regular upgrading for it to function effectively. Newsoftware and system specifications are being developed everyday because the previous ones have failed to deliver the desired results. This is because the processes are also dynamic and they come with newer challenges that cannot be remedied by the current systems. IT enables organizations to expand their market share by using the web platform to market their goods and services.
Enterprise Architecture Centerstates thatarchitects construct EAs in collaboration with the management of the organization that will use it.EAs guarantee coherence and agility to customers. The virtue businesses are replacing the shopping malls gradually because the customers can shop for items and services at the click of a button.
The physical outlets confuse the customers because they do not have any form of uniformity. This is because they exist as independent entities. The adoption of IT policies by organizations favors the customers too because they are able to make informed decisions that are facilitated by the coherence of IT systems.
EA requires an organization to combine its efforts because the realization of goals may take a longer period tobe experienced. Themarkets are very dynamic and customers who are in pursuit of top-notch goods and services at subsidized prices are inducing the changes.
In some instances, the organizations are the key initiators of EA because they are using IT concepts as a differentiation approach. Organizations that are not vigilant risk being ejected from the market because it is only the most creative enterprises that can survive in these tough battles.
Organizations face many risks when implementing EA.The risks are related to safeguarding the interests of their consumers by ensuring that the transactions are conducted safely.EA requires an organization to interconnect its processes and this presents the challenge of solving problems when they arise. When an IT system is complicated, its management is more demanding compared to the case of a less integrated system.
Larger organizations tend to have complex systems and therefore a problem in one section will affect the entire system. Simplicity is a challenge to the architects because the security of data in a system cannot be compromised and thus the engineers have to create a balance between simplicity and complexity. Complicated IT systems tend to be more secure but on the other hand, they are not friendly to the users.
EA is making organizations to merge for achieving a common goal. For the mergers to be realistic the organizations must be compatible with each other.Lidderdale argues that the mergers are being employed to ensure that organizations utilize their full potential by relying on their unique strengths (1).EA advocates for decentralization of organizations by giving the employees the authority to execute orders. This is because the processes are interconnected and communication takes place in real time and effectively.
The IT systems also bring the customers in close vicinity to the processes and thus contribute to improvement of processes. Thecustomers use the IT infrastructure to convey their compliments and complain to the management. The IT systems simplify the tasks that are performed by members of an organization by trimming the workloads. The employees are not overwhelmed and therefore can attend to customer issues effectively, which enhances the reputation of the organization.
Developing and implementing EA are demanding tasks and therefore an organization needs to outsource some of its functions to relevant agencies. This implies that the content that is pursued by customers can be availed by another contracted entity.
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Schkkerman suggests that the infrastructure can also be owned by another entity which means that the only elements of business that are possessed by the organization are the customers and the value (16). Designating the role of providing IT infrastructure helps in reducing operating costs by a bigger margin. This is because the entity that owns the infrastructure is responsible for maintaining the equipments.
Additionally,the organization should reserve money for funding IT training initiatives. This is a long-term investment because the trained employees will work for the company and thus compensate for the monies that were spent on their training. Besidesthat,the field of IT is very dynamic and thus regular training is required to ensure that employees are updated on emerging trends. This will give the employees new strengths in their areas of specialization.
The idea of establishing an EA remains very noble until the whole project is engulfed by challenges. In most cases EA losses its relevance when it fails to fulfill its intended purpose which entails reducing the cost and improving performance. This is because the employees do not appreciate a system that drags them behind.
Besidesthat, IT projects take more time to be finished which causes the budget to exceed the initial amount. When the above mentioned scenario occurs the organization in question opts to remain put just for the sake of implementing the IT concept but deep down the EA becomes an obstacle (Enterprise Architecture Center 1).
When confusion sets in the management must emphasize on the need to adhere to the principles of the organization. This suggests that an initiative cannot be aborted once it has commenced. This is because the management evaluates all the options at an early stage and selects the one that is best suited for the organization.
Theenvironment of the organization influences the choice of a framework. There are different EAs for different organizations.The IT personnel should assume the role of consultants because they are more knowledgeable in these matters. As can help an organization discover other areas that can be of much benefit because they are radical systems.
In this regard, information systems were developed to help organizations to carry out their tasks much faster without having to think critically about the task. The systems automate the tasks such that the employees do not have to be physically present to carry out the task.
However, Wagter, Van den berg, and Luijpers argue that the same systems are blamed for declining levels of creativity in most organizations (19). This is because the IT systems do not involve the users in their processes, thus the user is presented with the desired results. The appropriateness of the results depends on the accuracy of the data that is inserted by the user.
The IT systems enable people to perform duties faster while cutting back on the costs, but on the other hand, they deny people an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and skills. This is because they discredit the efforts of the user. Forinstance, when a system handles a certain task, the effectiveness is owed to the system instead of the user who provided information to the system.
Enterprise Architecture Center. Enterprise Architecture Governance. 2010.Web.
Hayles, Rupert.“Planning and Executing IT Strategy.”IT Professional Magazine. 9.5 (2007): 12-20. Print.
Lidderdale, Patrick. Importance of Enterprise Architecture. 24 Mar. 2009. Web.
Schkkerman, Jaap. How to Survive In the Jungle of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks: Creating or an Enterprise Architecture Framework.2nd ed. Canada: Trafford Publishing, 2004. Print.
Wagter, Roel, Martin Van den Derg and Joast Luijpers. Dynamic Enterprise Architecture: How to Make it Work. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. Print.