Practicing Enterprise Architecture


Enterprise Architecture (EA) can be defined as the ‘life coaching’ for an enterprise. Architecture by nature is associated with planning and defining a purposeful structure per the rules, regulations, and policies that are established by legal entities. The practice of Enterprise Architecture is not The larger and more complex the organization is, the more it needs an established practice of enterprise architecture. Enterprise Architecture is also technology agnostic. It deals with more of how to compose highly reusable, extensible IT components rather than what to build. The ‘What’ part of composition is derived by the business vision and the constantly evolving nature of the business needs. In my subsequent posts, I am going to share my view on the practice of EA, the benefits of EA, EA components, the frameworks associated with EA, tools, why EA receives a bad reputation from business focused leaders and more.

Architecture Views

When we talk about architecture diagrams, people normally think it in terms of either server boxes and firewalls or as UI diagrams and workflows.

While these are generally acceptable forms of architectural diagrams, in reality, an architecture has several views depending on who is the audience.

An experienced architect usually starts with a conceptual architecture view. Once the conceptual architecture of a solution is approved by stake holders, he/she moves on to elaborate this solution using the logical architecture. Such approvals are usually considered as a mile stone for solution initiation stage.

Once the logical architecture is vetted out by peers and extended team, the solution architect works with his peers (domain architects) to create the information architecture, integration architecture security architecture and physical (infrastructure) architecture views.

These views handle various aspects of a complex solution.

Conceptual Architecture

Conceptual Architecture is a terminology that is used to introduce and describe a concept or an idea. During this phase of the architecture, the various functional component and players of the solution is identified.

Conceptual architecture plays a crucial role, when the architect is designing large and complex solution. It is less useful for small to midsize solutions. You can dive directly into logical architecture, which is the next step in elaborating the architecture.

 Note to budding architects – If your diagram calls out any server name or protocol, then it is not a conceptual architecture.

I will go over the remaining architectural views in my next few posts.