Providing system and network architectural guidance to organisations
Organisations are traditionally built in silos, each operating according to its own goals and business processes. Breaking the silos and providing a common set of services across the organisation is a common activity of IT organisations around the globe. In order to achieve this, developing a common vision of their IT architecture is a key strategic activity. This allows the organisation to develop common terminology across the silos, choose common technology and develop interoperable solutions. A clear graphical view of the business creates a valuable tool for upward messaging to the CxO level on what IT offers the organisation, as well as providing cohesion between the IT staff and IT stakeholders in other silos around the organisation.
Where it all goes wrong is when architecture is developed for architecture’s sake. Where once-off efforts are developed and there is no commitment to ongoing management and support of the architectural process. In many cases, architectures are developed with no thought to how the content artifacts can be used by the project teams charged with delivering the IT solutions for the organisation. From experience keeping architecture real and usable is a skill that is best delivered by practitioners who have actually designed and built networks.
Additionally, architectural views need to be developed that meet the needs of strategic needs of the organisation.
Hence enterprise architectures need to be tailored to meet both the culture of the organisation and the needs of all the users of that architecture.