What is An Enterprise Architecture Framework?
An enterprise architecture framework helps enterprise architects develop develop, implement, govern, and sustain an enterprise architecture. At the most basic it will be a taxonomy of questions and who needs the information. Enterprise architecture frameworks can also include method, architecture modelling techniques, stakeholders, governance and implementation methods.
A useful enterprise architecture framework to speed developing an enterprise architecture and executing the changes it contains to improve your organization as quickly as possible.
Enterprise Architecture Framework Definition
Definitions of an enterprise architecture framework can be self-serving. We consider an enterprise architecture framework as providing the essential scaffolding to develop, implement, govern, and sustain an enterprise architecture. It should provide universal concepts, stable best practice, and guidance on how to develop and use your enterprise architecture.
Using the right enterprise architecture framework speeds your enterprise architects. It improves the quality of their work.
How Many Architecture Frameworks are there?
There are three types of enterprise architecture framework - comprehensive frameworks, industry frameworks, and domain frameworks. They designed each type of EA framework to best address different problems.
We pay attention to enterprise architecture frameworks because we develop enterprise architecture teams and delivery enterprise architecture consulting. We know that different organizations and industries have different problems. We use different enterprise architecture frameworks to speed the development of better enterprise architecture.
Comprehensive Architecture Frameworks are industry and domain agnostic.
Industry Architecture Frameworks are optimized for one industry. Good examples exist for Finance and Banking, Defence, and Government. Industry Frameworks typically specify the stakeholders, viewpoints and model techniques.
A Domain Architecture Frameworks is designed for one domain. These frameworks typically provide the most detailed techniques and method.
What is the most Important Component of an Enterprise Architecture Framework
Most architecture frameworks are limited. They only support describing an architecture, even just providing a taxonomy of questions and who needs the information.
We look for three important components in an enterprise architecture framework
- how to document the enterprise architecture,
- a method to develop enterprise architecture,
- how to develop an enterprise architecture team
How to document an Enterprise Architecture
Documenting, or describing, an enterprise architecture is the most important component of an enterprise architecture framework. In fact, most frameworks only provide this component.
Documenting an enterprise architecture must support analyzing a problem space. For example, the DODAF viewpoints are designed to show different aspects of interoperability. FEAF reference models describe the government programs in a way to assess duplication. To support a problem space, you must gather, analyze, and report on the problem's source. Then develop solutions and guide your organization on a path to improve. Always start with your enterprise architecture use cases.
Problem Spaces Addressed by Enterprise Architecture Frameworks
Method to Develop the Enterprise Architecture
The best enterprise architecture frameworks will provide a method to do architecture. This method can be conceptual, like the TOGAF ADM, or prescriptive, like SABSA. While prescriptiveness is attractive, following a cookbook requires liking the recipe.
Developing enterprise architecture teams, and developing enterprise architects are critical for a successful enterprise architecture program.
What is the Most Popular Enterprise Architecture Framework?
The most popular enterprise architecture framework is the TOGAF Standard. We follow many discussions about enterprise architecture frameworks because we are committed to using the best tools for our job. This doesn't mean that the TOGAF Framework is best. In our experience, arguments about the best framework are use case specific. Most vocal proponents are simply highlighting they have never worked in a different industry or had to address a different problem. They sound like a hammer looking for nails.
We believe the reason TOGAF is the most popular enterprise architecture framework is it addresses each of the important components of an enterprise architecture framework.
- how to document an architecture
The TOGAF Content Framework provides a modular component. We are thrilled that the TOGAF Framework is not dependent upon the TOGAF Content Framework. We almost always replace it with a content model optimized to a use case. We reach for Industry Content Frameworks.
- how to develop enterprise architecture
The TOGAF ADM is a conceptual model for developing enterprise architecture. We follow best practice and read it as an information flow model. It highlights what you need to know to. The TOGAF Practitioner's Guide provides a more detailed method of developing enterprise architecture.
- how to develop an enterprise architecture team
The TOGAF EA Capability framework helps develop an Enterprise architecture team. The TOGAF Series Leader's Guide provides a more comprehensive method. Our Enterprise Architecture Capability Model helps.
Enterprise Architecture Frameworks to Avoid
Always avoid Franken Frameworks. They usually built Franken frameworks to describe everything without helping solve a problem. Architecture frameworks that we cannot identify the problem they are designed to address are pointless. Often they devolve to trying to explain connections. This is a established enterprise architecture failure path. Archimate does not have a problem space it clarifies.
We always guide our clients away from any architecture framework with commercial licensing requirements. You need to take, change, and distribute the framework and any work products.