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An Enterprise Architecture is a description of the enterprise. For an Enterprise Architecture to be complete and useful, it must contain information about many aspects of the enterprise, and it must present the information in a way that is useful to support critical management decisions. The Enterprise Architecture must contain Business Processes in the order in which they are performed and the data that enables these processes. It must contain information about who is executing the business processes, what organizations they belong to and where the work is performed. The Enterprise Architecture must also contain information about how work is enabled – the systems and technology that support or automate the business processes. And, most importantly, the architecture must make explicit the relationships among all of the above concepts. Finally, the architecture must contain “time-phased” information so that the organization knows what the future should look like – not just the current as-is state. 

Hierarchies of information, from policy through business process down and data to systems execution, must be maintained in an integrated architecture. Without all of this information the organization runs the risk of designing its processes and building its systems from the “photographs” in the minds of its developers and functional proponents, without consideration for how the processes and systems will enable management goals and objectives. 

Business processes are a critical component of Enterprise Architectures. Over the years, the concept of an Enterprise Architecture has been used to denote many types of architectures that don’t explicitly follow the above definition and associated requirements. For example, some technologists call a mapping of enterprise IT assets an Enterprise Architecture. Others call a description of enterprise activities, systems, and data an Enterprise Architecture. With a liberal interpretation of the definition, either could be correct, but we prefer additional preciseness. EII focuses on Enterprise Solution Architectures, which delivers competitive advantage to client organizations.

Researchers at EII were pioneers in founding the discipline of Enterprise Architecture, and in particular the integration of Business Process Management with Enterprise Architecture. EII understands Enterprise Architectures and has experience in developing Enterprise Architectures for some of the most complex organizations in the world. We address all of the above aspects of Enterprise Architectures, using our proven architecture development and implementation methodology.