Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Enterprise

Enterprise Architecture Explained

Article Image
The history of architecture in the IT world stems from the need to have scalable systems with re-usable components that simplify the process of building, deploying and maintaining enterprise systems, whilst taking care of all the major facets around data, security, interfaces and performance. Over the years, the role of architecture has grown, with more focus placed on bridging the gap between business strategy and IT strategy.

In my working career, the best IT architects I've come across have been from the west coast of the US. This explains why a lot of design work happens in this area and development work completed in India, China or Philippines.

Broadly speaking, architecture in the tech world can be categorised as:

  • Applications
  • Architecture
  • Business Architecture
  • Data Architecture
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Security Architecture
  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Suffice it is to say, SOA may also be viewed as a paradigm of Application Architecture with a mandate for providing principles that influence design decisions that provide robust and well-built IT systems.

In layman terms, Application Architecture is to a system development team what a building blueprint is to a team of construction workers. While there's no limit to the level of detail required, some teams keep it simple, providing only high level abstract physical and logical technical representations. Others may choose to delve deeper into granular details, including data models, security standards and data flow diagrams, just to name a few.

Enterprise Architecture has a more overarching role and tends to have a holistic view of an organization in its current and future states from a strategy, business and technology perspective. According to cio.com, Enterprise Architecture focuses on four crucial Cs: connection; collaboration; communication; and customers, with a primary concern on aligning a business's strategic vision with its information technology.

The enterprise architect must therefore map, define and standardize technology, data and business processes that will satisfy today's and tomorrow's business needs. With such a view, the Enterprise Architecture role is critical in mapping IT resources that will integrate the business needs and what technology has to offer. It's critical to note that successful and effective CIOs often have world class Enterprise Architects as their right hand generals.

Continuing with our earlier analogy, Enterprise Architecture is to an organization what a city master plan is to a city: It therefore follows that the initial inputs of Application Architecture will come from the Enterprise Architecture, without which the Application might not be compatible with, or fit within, the organization's strategy.

Whilst most universities have placed an emphasis on churning out technical focused IT personnel such as system developers, web designers and graphic designers, very few unis (especially in Africa) have taken note of the role of Enterprise Architecture as a critical and defining field in the IT world. This explains why typical IT environments in most public and even private sectors comprise of a cobweb of multiple systems, devices, cables, servers and interfaces that cost millions to maintain annually, with no clear upgrade or replacement road maps. The value that organizations can yield from encapsulating Enterprise Architecture in their business processes is massive; the top one being provision of an organization's holistic view of how technology is designed, built, deployed and maintained.

Lastly it's imperative to emphasize that Enterprise Architecture goes hand-in-hand with IT governance and collaboratively helps in establishing governance across the enterprise, which helps in building a controlled and well directed institution. It acts like a framework for leadership, organizational structure, business processes, standards, practices and so on.

For IT folk with a passion in Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF framework is the de facto global standard for Enterprise Architecture and is governed by the Open Group Architecture Forum. TOGAF comes with a certification program: Qualification is achieved by passing two exams, following a course of self-study or attendance at an Accredited Training Course. There is also an entry level qualification, TOGAF 9 Foundation, which is achieved by passing just the first exam.

See James speak:
James Muritu will be speaking at the 14th annual East Africa Com, taking place between the 1718 May 2017.

James will be taking part in the panel discussion 'Digital transformation the CIO, CTO challenge to lead the business' on day 2 of the event.

To find out more about East Africa Com 2017 click here. East African operators and regulators attend East Africa Com for free, see if youre eligible and sign up for your pass here. For all non-East African operators and regulators, purchase your full 2-day pass here.

Upcoming events: East Africa Com 17 - 18 May, Nairobi
West Africa Com 11 - 12 July, Dakar
Nigeria Com 20 - 21 September, Lagos
AfricaCom 6 - 10 November, Cape Town

Be part of the African tech and telco conversation here:
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Instagram

James Muritu, Consultant, FinTechPreneur & Founder and CEO, Project Dimensions Ltd.

Innovation hub

Story

Five mobility startups to watch in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of five mobility startups that are making a difference in the communities they serve.

Story

Orange Ventures, Digital Africa promise more funding for startups

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa are teaming up to invest more in tech startups in Africa and the Middle East through Digital Africa's Fuz program and the Orange Digital Center network.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

How e-mobility could transform Africa's transport sector

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook delves into Africa's e-mobility sector and unpacks the challenges faced locally and the benefits the move to electric vehicles could bring to urban transport systems.

Story

Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002