Enterprise architecture (EA) practitioners, who are commonly christened enterprise architects, analyze given business or production processes as well as structures. Often, they appraise information gathered to further EA goals: durability, effectiveness, agility, and efficiency (Evernden, 1996; Rodgerb & Subramanian, 2008). There is no universally-accepted definition of what EA even though diverse organizations promote own appreciation of the term. Elementarily, EA is a core element of systems development according to Jarvis (2003) and Lapalme (2012).
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EA contributes to the development of optimal designs of given systems. It facilitates effective allocation of resources during the systems’ development as well as testing according to Evernden (1996) and Rodgerb and Subramanian (2008). That means that EA is rather helpful in the whole of an SLDC (Systems Development Life Cycle). Essentially, the SLDC of a given system entails its planning, creation, testing as well as deployment. EA is critical in supplementing, as well as enabling, each of these SLDC phases as demonstrated by Pulkkinen, Naumenko and Luostarinen (2007).
Definition of Enterprise Architecture
EA is defined differently by different organizations and EA practitioners. First, EA is characterized as a well-characterized practice for executing enterprise design, appraisal, planning, as well as implementation, utilizing holistic strategies always according to Evernden (1996) and Rodgerb and Subramanian (2008). Second, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, EA is defined as logic for organizing business infrastructure and processes mirroring the standardization and integration needs of a business’ operating model according to Pulkkinen, Naumenko and Luostarinen (2007). Essentially, the model is the preferred condition for the standardization and integration of the business’ processes to deliver products to own customers optimally.
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Third, EA is characterized as a distinct practice that analyzes shared activity areas within given organizations or businesses. The areas are especially the ones where resources like information are traded to direct prospective states from integrated strategic, commercial, and technological viewpoints. Fourth, EA is defined as a discipline for holistically, as well as proactively, guiding enterprises through given changes (Pulkkinen, Naumenko & Luostarinen, 2007). Usually, the changes are occasioned by process unsettling forces. When the forces are experienced, EA helps in making out and appraising the handling of the resulting changes to generate favorable organizational outcomes and visions according to Jarvis (2003) and Lapalme (2012).
Enterprise Architecture and SDLC Phases
As noted earlier, EA is critical in supplementing, as well as enabling, SLDC phases. These are the initiation phase, and requirements analysis phase, among others (Pulkkinen, Naumenko & Luostarinen, 2007).
Initiation / Planning / Concept Phase
The concept, planning, or initiation, phase is as known as the preliminary analysis phase. It is aimed at executing preliminary appraisals, proposing different solutions, describing costs along with benefits, and submitting preliminary recommendations as regards given system problems (Evernden, 1996; Rodgerb & Subramanian, 2008). During the phase, system developers consider every extant priority, which would be impacted upon and how it should be addressed. Feasibility studies are done during the phase to establish the viability of improving or replacing the systems in question. The studies should cover the systems’ operational, economic, technical, political, legal, and human factor aspects (Pulkkinen, Naumenko & Luostarinen, 2007).
In the preliminary analysis phase, EA provides critical input prior to the happening of in-depth vendor management. EA helps determine the application assets, or resources, that ought to be purchased (Pulkkinen, Naumenko & Luostarinen, 2007). Notably, during the phase, there are various significant processes that establish given projects’ courses and the application resources that ought to be bought. Such processes relate to how particular solutions would be incorporated into given environments and how they ought to be architected according to Jarvis (2003) and Lapalme (2012). As well, the processes relate to whether given organizations should customize, purchase or build particular solutions.
Requirements Analysis Phase
The requirements definition phase entails the characterization of the project aims into distinct operations and functions of the anticipated applications. Elementarily, the phase entails the collection along with interpretation of facts; diagnosis of extant problems; and recommendation of system improvements. In the phase, EA comes in handy in the analysis of the information requirements of intended end-users and removing any incompleteness and inconsistencies in the requirements according to Jarvis (2003) and Lapalme (2012). EA helps appraise the planned systems and preparing the necessary specifications (Pulkkinen, Naumenko & Luostarinen, 2007).
The systems design step entails the description of the preferred operations and features comprehensively. The operations and features include pseudocodes, screen layouts, process diagrams, and business rules. Essentially, the phase is aimed at describing the planned systems as sets of subsystems or modules. In the design phase, characteristically, enterprise architects depend on developers along with domain architects to describe the planned systems as sets of subsystems or modules to the micro-degree of detail according to Pulkkinen, Naumenko and Luostarinen (2007). EA practitioners visualize how the subsystems or modules will fit into given enterprises (Pulkkinen, Naumenko & Luostarinen, 2007). They create helpful design patterns and optimize design configuration efforts according to Jarvis (2003) and Lapalme (2012). They help review system designs altogether following their completion.
During the development stage, the actual codes are written. In the stage, EA practitioners help in optimizing application coding efforts. As well, they provide insights into the standardization of the coding processes. They ensure that the processes follow laid down governance regulations according to Pulkkinen, Naumenko and Luostarinen (2007).
Integration and Testing Phase
In the integration along with testing stage, all pieces of given codes are gathered into suitable testing environments, checked for extant errors and bugs, and tested for interoperability. In the phase, user-acceptance, system, and unit tests are commonly performed. When the testing cycles are underway, EA practitioners determine how the attendant applications may be changed to optimize their eventual utility according to Jarvis (2003) and Lapalme (2012). If the practitioners establish that there are considerable architectural changes, they review the changes and assist project teams in steering them appropriately.
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Implementation / Deployment / Support / Maintenance Step
In this final SLDC phase, software is committed to production processes and running of actual businesses. Particularly, software maintenance entails the assessment of systems to make sure they do not turn into obsolescence (Blanchard & Fabrycky, 2006; Marakas & O’Brien, 2010). In this phase, EA guides the making of the requisite changes to the original software to make sure they do not turn into obsolescence (Evernden, 1996; Rodgerb & Subramanian, 2008). System deployment includes enhancements and changes prior to given systems’ sunset or decommissioning. When the operational stages of software deployment are underway, EA practitioners should not be engaged except when there are explicit needs (Pulkkinen, Naumenko & Luostarinen, 2007). Even then, they prove helpful in optimize software deployment efforts.
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