Enterprise Architecture in the digital world is often compared to benefits of enterprise architecture in the construction world. But It is much better to compare with urban design: an enterprise architect thinks about functional areas and the division of, for example, business domains and application landscapes, but he / she does not color in details. Just as the urban planner determines where houses, shops, offices and industry will be located in an area, but will not design individual houses, etc., you mainly ensure that you arrive at a vision on the layout and use of the area in consultation with those involved. After which the project developers, architects and contractors can get to work and do not get in each other’s way too much.
Enterprise architecture does the same for organizations and their digital assets. It maps out which digital resources there are now. We then roughly design which resources will be needed in the future and what their mutual relationships are. And we determine how we get from the present to the future, by making a roadmap or a planning. Work that can also be done in the context of Enterprise Design.
Reason 1: you cannot ignore existing digital resources when innovating
And designers can understand that, because we no longer innovate in a vacuum. In the past it was different: Steve Jobs, for example, developed the Apple computer with a small team. And when that didn’t go fast enough, he also isolated one from the parent company in another building. When the innovation was successful, it was rolled out widely and the existing production lines – were shut down. That’s how you used to do it: a new product out of the absurd, like a deus ex machina, and then turn off the old junk and throw it away.
But we got computer networks and organized ourselves into value chains. Laws and regulations increased. Our customers received mobile devices and nowadays want 24×7 service. The hygiene factors that must be in order to successfully enter a market are getting higher and higher. So new innovations build on existing ones and connect to what is already available (in terms of infrastructure). Enterprise Architecture is about knowing the existing situation and designing the connection to it, with most of the time the use of an Enterprise Architecture tool.