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On Enterprise Architecture Principals

05 Sep 2012

As discussed previously, principles are high level statements of the fundamental values that guide business and technology decision-making and activities and are the foundation for architecture, standards, and policy development. Principles are stable enough to withstand technological and process changes but timely enough to maintain a clear relevancy with markets, policy, program, and management changes.

Principles consist of the principle statement, rationale, and implications. Though the wording for principles should remain consistent, the rational and implications will evolve over time, as an organization responds to factors such as the current IT environment, internal initiatives, external forces and markets, and changes in mission, vision, and strategic plan.

In my prior role as an Enterprise architect, I used the following 16 Principles for the foundation of the Enterprise Architecture. Even with the changes that have rocked the industry in the past 3 years - public, private and hybrid cloud computing, dev-ops, etc - these principles have been steadfast.

I.  Principal Principle

The Enterprise Architecture applies to all aspects of the organization’s information technology.

II.  Business Priority

Information systems exist to support the needs of the business. Therefore, the Enterprise Architecture must support the enterprise vision, business strategies and plans.

III.  Business Authority

The Enterprise Architecture will embody the business’s authority and need to create, read and modify data.

IV.  Optimum Enterprise Benefit

Architectural decisions will maximize the overall benefit to the organization by balancing the following criteria: accessibility, consistency, cost, diversity of business needs, flexibility, functionality, manageability, precision, risk, scalability, security, supportability and value.

V.  Appropriate to Purpose

The Enterprise Architecture must be appropriately scoped, planned, and defined based on the intended use of the architecture.

VI.  Reusability of Components

The Enterprise Architecture will be built on loosely-coupled, reusable modular components that implement services.

VII.  Components

The Enterprise Architecture supports technologies to meet needs and requires mature, proven interoperable technologies in support of service environments. Technical diversity that does not tie to business needs is discouraged.

VIII. Facilitate Technology Change

The Enterprise Architecture must be compliant with the law as expressed in legislative mandates, executive orders, State & Federal regulations, and other State & Federal guidelines.

IX.  Facilitate Architectural Change

The Enterprise Architecture facilitates architectural change by developing the developing and enhancing architectural roadmaps and the supporting sequencing plan.

X.  Facilitate Future Data Collection, Storage and Access

The Enterprise Architecture facilitates the effective and efficient collection, storage and access to the organization’s most critical corporate asset – data.

XI.  Develop and Validate Accurate Architectural Information

The Enterprise Architecture will be supported by the knowledge and experience those persons with the knowledge of the business, its processes and associated information.

XII.  Control of Incongruous Technology

The Enterprise Architecture will provide the governance controls and oversight that manage technology investments and insertions into the enterprise.

XIII.  Partnership

Every IT investment will have both a Business Owner and an IT Steward. The Business Owner is responsible for the business domain the investment enables. The IT Steward is responsible for the management and technical infrastructure of the investment.

XIV.  Comply with Law

The Enterprise Architecture must be compliant with the law as expressed in legislative mandates, executive orders, State & Federal regulations, and other State & Federal guidelines.

XV.  Support the Strategic Plan

The Enterprise Architecture will support the business strategy. As the Enterprise Architecture matures and becomes more closely aligned to business strategy the technology initiatives will more directly increase business value and responsiveness.

XVI.  Support the Planning Horizon

The Enterprise Architecture will support the business planning horizon – the time frame for planning strategic activities and for accomplishing strategic goals.


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