Wednesday, 21 October 2009

TOGAF - learning, doing, iterating

On the technical side of Enable, we're developing an Enterprise Architecture. An Enterprise Architecture is a conceptual blueprint of an entire enterprise including business principles and motivation, organisational structure, business processes, data architecture, application capabilities and hardware and software. Enterprise Architecture gives us a tool to capture and communicate current problems, create a strategic vision of how those problems can be solved, and manage the realisation of that vision to transform the curriculum design to be more agile and responsive.

The main driver for this work is illustrated in our 'Burrari' image.

Our business processes have been reviewed and refined and are in good shape. The problem is the underlying platform. We need to put in place an infrastructure based on open systems which will provide the necessary support for innovation. By open systems I mean systems which provide APIs or services which allow developers to hook into and make use of information in those systems. With such a platform in place, developers can quickly build applications to plug into tools people already use.

I'm currently getting into the heart of the Enterprise Architecture work using The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) to guide development. I'm learning TOGAF as well as using it so I'll be blogging about TOGAF and my experiences as I go along.

TOGAF is an architecture framework so it provides support for the development and maintenance of an enterprise architecture. The core of TOGAF is the Architecture Development Method (ADM) which describes a
method for developing and maintaining the enterprise architecture and using it effectively as a master plan for transforming the business. It is backed up by comprehensive techniques and guidance on implementing the ADM. Other sections of TOGAF deal with describing and categorising architectural outputs for reuse as building blocks, classifying and partitioning architectures for effective management within an architecture repository and developing architectural capability.

Find out more about TOGAF with the online TOGAF 9 document.

A key strength of the TOGAF approach, in my mind, is the ability to explicitly express the relationships between the business processes and supporting IT. Capturing the big picture of how every element fits together should give us a hugely powerful tool for communicating across the business-IT divide. One of my favourite rules of thumb is that you can never be too explicit!

1 comment:

Fleur said...

A useful, short blog on Enterprise Architecture with IT leaning