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Modernizing IT: An Enterprise Architecture for Digital Business

Lori MacVittie サムネール
Lori MacVittie
Published April 21, 2022
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Human beings have always turned to technology to perform tasks more efficiently and scale human capacity. From the abacus to AI, technology is a constantly evolving tool that we humans have learned to leverage to our advantage.

Like the use of technology for efficiency and scale, digital transformation is not actually new. It started in the last century, when technology introduced us to computers capable of doing more than advanced math. Since then, digital transformation has been an overarching—if unacknowledged—force in the constant evolution of technology.

DX isn't new

In the mid-1980s, enterprise architecture as a framework and formal practice was adopted. Today, there are many frameworks, but four stand out as the most widely implemented:

  • Zachman Framework
  • FEAF (Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework)
  • DoDAF (Department of Defense Architecture Framework)
  • TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework)  

Each essentially provides guidance in how business is represented by technology across core domains: application, data, technical, and business. These frameworks define entities, relationships, policies, and practices that have helped enterprises develop and evolve the foundation of their IT stacks.

But the last twenty years alone has introduced incredible change—and challenges—to many of the assumptions upon which these frameworks are based. Users, applications, data, and infrastructure are no longer fixed or static. They are mobile, dynamic, and more often than not, remote. Technology has evolved to allow us to shift the burden of mundane operations from people to technology, changing the premises upon which practices are based. The definition of data is expanding to include telemetry (operational data) and control data (from OT and IoT).

Most importantly, business has changed. Having successfully moved from data entry to digital experiences, businesses now stand on the precipice of significant change—becoming a digital business.

This is a significant shift. The use of technology is no longer relegated to the status of “helper” in the business. It is inarguably now part of the business, if not all of the business.

But the enterprise architectures business has relied on for nearly half a century were not designed to support a digital business or the augmentation of operations with technology. Traditional enterprise architecture frameworks lack the elements, practices, and the very technology domains that a digital business needs to successfully thrive in a digital economy.

While the temptation to start anew is strong, the insights and lessons learned embedded in existing enterprise architecture are too valuable—and expensive—to lose. This is why we chose to evolve and extend TOGAF, rather than start from scratch.

This is the driver behind the Enterprise Architecture for Digital Business book, to define an enterprise architecture that will enable digital business for the next half a century—and possibly beyond.

We are excited to share with you the initial chapters, in pre-release and unedited form, of this effort. We hope you’ll join us on this exploration of how enterprise architecture can modernize to meet the needs of a digital business.