Enterprise Architecture’s meaning is why Companies still miss its value

Heydar Aliyev Center – Zaha Hadid

Most companies wonder about the value of Enterprise Architecture and are still missing it.

There’s several reasons. Historical misuses, misunderstanding, …
Listing them can be endless and wouldn’t be that useful.

Logically, a lot of business have been generated, and this has led to an established and deeply installed situation.
The situation is getting more confused as it evolves based on inaccurate assumptions.
So, let’s try to get things right, from start.

There’s a key point here.
Understanding the value of Enterprise Architecture comes from understanding its meaning.

Let’s start first with each word separately …


“Architecture” is not a synonym of “structure”.
Even though it has been used as such, as a poorest “definition”.

“Architecture” is a conceiving discipline.
(see also: “A word on Architecture” for the story)

“Architecture is the activity of giving shapes to an entity, by integrating constraints and to serve a purpose.”


Some may digress on differences between Enterprise, Company, Organization, …

Let’s simply define the “Enterprise” as follow:

The Enterprise is an entity which share a same activity purpose and which can be referred to, by a single identifier. Its perimeter is defined by what the Enterprise owns and runs.”

Then …

Enterprise Architecture

… means applying “Architecture” discipline to the object “Enterprise”.

It is a work of conceiving the Enterprise.
The scope is the whole Enterprise, covering components and subjects matter within its perimeter, for the sake of its purpose.

“Architecture” is generic.
Whatever the building is meant to be (home, office building, train station, …), it’s still “architecture”.

“Enterprise Architecture” is generic.
Whatever the business domain is, the purpose “doing business” is still the same.

The first step of an architecture approach is “addressing the subject”.
The first step of “Enterprise Architecture” is therefore “addressing the object Enterprise”.

It shows that the object “Enterprise” is an entity made of heterogeneous components.
Besides, the “Enterprise” has a dynamics, resulting from its purpose which is an evolving activity, and resulting from interactions between the components.

Enterprise Architecture work is about conceiving the Enterprise so it can be built and continuously renovated.

Why and how Enterprise Architecture does bring value …

From operational excellence’s efficiency, back to strategic assessment, …
Enterprise Architecture uses the structured vision of the Enterprise, brings coherence and relevancy, …
It is a foundational step towards efficiency, stability and adaptability of the Enterprise.
(this is what defines a proper agility of the Enterprise so it can be sustainable)

Value of Enterprise Architecture is foundational and global.”

The criticism of Enterprise Architecture being an ivory tower is almost wrong. The thing is that, as a tower, it is a “control” tower. However, it’s even more.

Enterprise Architecture team is the required convergence spot for orchestration and assessment.

Enterprise Architecture team makes sense as the task force for the Executive-level.

Enterprise Architecture team is the prism of the Enterprise.”