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The Enterprise Architecture show

After 3 months of hard work I had the opportunity to speak in front of SAP customers and to give them an overview of a new SOA oriented enterprise architecture framework that we goanna to supply to our customers. For me it was quite exiting experience since it’s the first time I’m presenting a new EA framework.


This blog posts will be dedicated to enterprise architecture, what it is, how it can help your organization, why SAP is dealing with EA, what’s our framework is all about, how to operate EA tools such as ARIS and Telelogic’s System Architect in order to support our framework. Yes, our framework isn’t just endless PDF document and slides. We got tools that let you record your work and use it to the benefit of your enterprise.


We’re also working on a series of SDN TV episodes that will be focused on enterprise architecture (in quite different attitude). I can assure you one think, it won’t be boring! So there’s definitely what to waiting for…


On top of what I’ve mentioned by now, I’ll also be happy to get any EA question. I promise to answer each and every question. We’ll publish the questions and the answers, which will be approved by the questioner.


In this post we’ll deal with the term architecture and what is enterprise architecture.

The term “Architecture” defined as “science of designing and building structures; layout, formation, arrangement; building style or method; design of a computer and its components (Computers)”. Architecture therefore is the art of finding out what are needed components and their relation in order to create a new structure (Building, Computer or software). Architecture outcomes are principles, constraints, standards and blue prints that will guide the actual building of the structure. We can also look at architecture as a holistic view of the structure, while design drills down into more details to each one of the needed components defined by the architecture.


In the IT world there are many types of architects. There’s the system architect, data architect, infrastructure architect, solution architect and many other types of architects. What we can find in common between all kinds of those architects is the fact that they all should have holistic view in certain aspect of an IT project.


Enterprise architecture (EA) is simply another type of architecture. EA should have a holistic view of the enterprise and in order to do so EAs should have knowledge about the business, information systems and technology domains of the enterprise. If we’re looking for equivalent from the building industry, EA is equivalent to city architecture while other IT architects are equal to other architects (like the building, roads and gardens architects).


How do enterprise architects getting this holistic view, what the enterprise architect should do to get this holistic view. Actually the technique is very simple and straight forward, just the way of doing this kind of work makes it complicated. The all idea behind holistic view is to define and then collect what are the building blocks and the relation between them to describe certain enterprise domain. A building block can be business goal, information type, system or certain technology. You also need to define what the relations between building blocks from other domains are, to get holistic view of the enterprise. You all probably familiar with the saying “One picture worth’s 1000 words” and this principle works for EA as well. To get a clear holistic view we need to lay down visually building blocks and their relation into views.


Enterprise architecture is just other type architecture. It aim is to get a holistic view of the enterprise. To get this holistic view one need to define what the building blocks of the business, information, systems and technology domains of the enterprise, to set relations between those building blocks (inter and intra domain) and to define views of building blocks and relations. The hard work though, goes to finding out what are the actual building blocks and their relations.


My next post will be dedicated to what enterprises can get out of enterprise architecture.

Natty Gur.

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  • Hi,

    Thanks for sharing. Is SAP planning to come up with a new set of standards for defining Enterprise Architecture or do you recommend practitioners to follow any of the industry standards like Zachman, TOGAF, etc, and then use tools like ARIS to document the architectural artifacts for that standard?


  • Well,

    We actually took TOGAF as a base framework and extend it to be more SOA oriented and agile. At Teched we had the opportunity to present a sneak preview of our framework. I’ll also post in the upcoming days a written version of the sneak preview presentation and a video that shows how we use ARIS to support our framework.

    If any of you is member of ASUG you can join a dedicated influence council for this framework. Joining the council will give you an opportunity to get better understanding of the framework and to influence.


    Natty Gur