Enterprise Architecture & Solution Architecture- Traverse the Gap
Implementing Enterprise Architecture (EA) can result in improved organizational efficiency, better alignment of IT systems with business goals, and reduced costs and risks. Solution Architecture (SA) can help optimize technology solutions to meet specific business needs, increased productivity and efficiency, and improved customer satisfaction.

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Model the business to create an architectural concept for a system…

EA (Enterprise Architecture) and SA (Solution Architecture) are two different practices. Between the two, Enterprise Architect is at times considered a rich and depraved relative, while SA is held high as a reliable, honest, and hard-working concept.

For the architect to seize a real view of the IT landscape and the future requirements of the business areas, it needs to engage with the IT projects. Only then you’ll be able to justify the recommendations in practice and not merely the theory. Money is not intellectual, so using it cannot be dependent on abstract constructions.

Hence, EA and SA need to work in close association to efficiently develop an architectural landscape and IT infrastructure, thereby, benefit to the maximum extent with the least waste. In reality, EA and SA (including network, software, security architecture, etc.) are aspects of a similar business function: architecture. In the end, it’s all about optimizing the use of resources to satiate business needs according to the priorities of a business. There are multiple obstacles to developing an optimum landscape, which is undeniably based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

Business Architecture In-Accordance with the Business Users and Business Analysts

The initial stage is to develop an architecture concept for a system to model the business. In general, within an organization, people have different roles, through which they implement business processes that offer business services to the clients. Application services are often delivered to support the processes and are materialized in application elements and functions. They utilize infrastructure services and physical nodes, like networks, servers, storage, etc. This helps in delivering a layered model of the business, comprising almost all the information required by an architect to initiate the design of the system.

Modelling the business enables the architects to get businesses involved directly, and it’s a sound exercise to do at the beginning of any novel project, as far as the user requirements are available.

However, if an architect can develop a model and present it to the business users, they will instantly understand if the business roles, services, and processes are presented precisely. This flame the discussion that enables the architect to understand the business processes. On the contrary, business users will also recognize how the architect is designing the systems that they’re likely to use.

Identifying Design Patterns for Every Service

Architecture is responsible for optimizing the use of enterprise resources. Resources are or should be, provided through services that have contracts referring to the attached service level agreement (SLA).

Absorption of these services should abide by the guideline presented by the architecture functionality. Or else, the architect will instantly lose track of what is implemented, and the biggest value that he brings to the table- promoting ruse, optimizing resources, minimizing costs, and allowing business change- is likely to be “lost in translation.”

Deployment of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is one of the crucial elements keeping the system landscape under control, but that’s not enough! Almost all ESBs in the market are capable of providing all the services that are needed from an SOA backplane- orchestration, activity monitoring, community management, communication adapters, message transformation, mediation, and data integration, everything delivered through a secure, centrally managed, highly available platform.

Note: Interfaces and message flow at the ESB must be engineered as per the pre-established integration patterns to make certain that they can be reused and don’t overlap.

Assessment of Multiple Options with Solution Architecture Analyses

After an apt modelling of the business and complete convergence between the anticipation of the business users and the perspective of the architect are accomplished, now it’s time to model the application architecture.

The architect should assess the user prerequisites, the business model developed, the services that need to be reused, the relevant policies, the patterns that are applied, and the security coupled with operational prerequisites. With these efforts, the architect can generate one or more realistic solution architectures and suggest a way forward.

If the architect is successful in identifying more than one practical solution design, then this practice needs to be performed individually for every option so the outcomes are comparable at the closure.

It’s essential to complement the exercise with cost information. As there’s always an implied prerequisite, which is to lower the cost, it’s essential to project the cost implications of each decision in the final document.

Decoding the Solution Architecture and Its Benefits to Decision-Makers

Pen down the outcome of the past exercise in a report in which the primary findings are bridgeable.

In short, the report should comprise a precise statement of the formulated architecture and decisions that originate from their intrinsic risks, opportunities, and costs. This document is of prime significance that the architect generates, so no stone is left unturned, unclear, or merely assumed. Typically, the architect will require some support from subject-matter experts, encompassing business analysts and IT experts, to generate this particular document.

The document should merely dictate the facts and demonstrate what particular quality ascribed impact the decision. It’s the shareholders who will unfold the right balance between, for instance, system performance, security, and cost.

Evaluating the Implementation and Bracketing Compliance Gaps

Post-detailed solution design, or even during the implementation phase, it might seem the system architecture that was once the catalogue is not fit for use to completely realize. This might be due to the changing prerequisites, unexpected limitations, or merely because something encountered negligence or was wrongly assumed.

Any deviation in the planning may encounter consequences as a whole. Based on the analysis document generated before, it should be direct to recognize the potential of the impact and when it takes place.

Anyway, the implementation of the system cannot be more distinct than the originally devised devoid of formal acceptance. For that objective, the architect should converse the anticipated goals to the shareholders, ASAP!

It’s also wise to perform a gap analysis during the implementation of a project. The final analysis is most probably worn as an impediment to stop project teams from taking “shortcuts” when the project is about to overlap the time or budget.

Demonstrating the Gaps Concerning Business Impact

To write anticipated gaps report an architect requires to perform the following:

  • Translate the gaps concerning the real business impact
  • Identify the root cause of every gap and demonstrate the cause of non-technical language
  • Present alleviating measures, coupled with their cost and impact
  • Identifying and informing the impacted shareholders. Finally, each shareholder requires to either accept or reject the modifications. This process enables the architect to fend off deviations that might otherwise compromise the SOA

The Closure

An enterprise architect is at the prime level of the architect hierarchy. That is, they possess more responsibilities than solution architects. While solution architects emphasize the solution, an enterprise architect emphasizes an overview of the entire organization. They deal with more of a business aspect of operations than solution architects.

Solution architects are one-level-up application architects, they indicate those whole operate on one particular application. Similar to application architects, their part is very specific to one function. These roles don’t require much of a business background as they don’t interact with clients, constantly.

The main challenge of accommodating these approach are organizational. As every shareholder favors his prerequisites and often these are in contravention of others’ requirements, the architecture needs to be transparent, neutral, and uninvolved. The major score to settle for a project is timely delivery and within budget, hence, additional investments for a “common good” must be well determined and planned upfront.

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