What is Enterprise Architecture and why do we do it?

What is Enterprise Architecture and why do we do it?

"Architecture is a set of descriptive representations that are relevant for describing something you intend to create and that constitute the baseline for changing an instance of that thing once you have created it. Therefore, Enterprise Architecture is the set of descriptive representations relevant for describing an Enterprise and that constitutes the baseline for changing the Enterprise once it is created." - John Zachman, taken from interview with Roger Sessions, Editor-in-Chief: Perspectives of the International Association of Software Architects 

"If you get really honest and search all of history, seven thousand years of known history of humankind, to find how humanity has learned to cope with two things, complexity and change ... there is one game in town, ARCHITECTURE.

If it (whatever it is) gets so complex you can't remember everything all at one time, you have to write it down... ARCHITECTURE. Then, if you want to change it (whatever it is), you go to what you wrote down... ARCHITECTURE.

How do you think they build hundred story buildings, or Boeing 747's, or IBM supercomputers... or even simple things like a one-bedroom house or a Piper Cub or the PC on your desk? Somebody had to write it down... at excruciating levels of detail... ARCHITECTURE. Now, if you want to change any of those things (with minimum time, disruption and cost), how do you change them? You go to what you wrote down... ARCHITECTURE.

The key to complexity and change is ARCHITECTURE.

In the Industrial Age, we had to learn what architecture was relative to physical objects (products) in order to deal with product complexity and product change.

In the Information Age, it is the Enterprise that is complex and changing and therefore, now we are having to learn what architecture is relative to the Enterprise ... Enterprise Architecture.

This is what is making the Framework for Enterprise Architecture so significant in the Enterprise community as we move into the Information Age. The Framework is putting some definition around Enterprise Architecture."

-John Zachman


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