Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge
EABOK Knowledge Areas

What is an Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is an organizational model; an abstract representation of an Enterprise that aligns strategy, operations and technology to create a roadmap for success. There are many definitions of the word enterprise: in EA, an enterprise is a complex organization that is attempting to undergo change.

Who is an Enterprise Architect?

EA practitioners capture and structure organizational knowledge. They analyze, connect, and integrate relevant information from different sources (both internal and external) to make it useful for decision-making. The Enterprise Architect is an experienced, multi-disciplinary, technology-savvy expert tasked with developing an understanding of all facets of the organization’s structure, data (both structured and unstructured) and information streams. The Architect’s mission is to develop an enterprise-level set of dependency artifacts that integrate relevant organizational and technology attributes which can be used to analyze and inform change.

Why do you need Enterprise Architecture?

Business leaders use many different types of information to make decisions in a dynamic environment. An organization needs an Enterprise Architect to bring together the enterprise knowledge (vested in its people, policies and operations), with knowledge of technology to improve the business and enable key decision makers to effectively steer the organization.

Many organizations do not leverage the full power of the data they already have available. The Enterprise Architect serves as both a systems engineer and knowledge management expert who can leverage this untapped potential to bridge the gap between data and decision-making. An Enterprise Architect is a skilled communicator and analyst who can leverage, extract and develop knowledge for the organization by linking various enterprise facets such as strategy, operations, finance, supply-chain, customer-support, and technology, and communicates the information in a way that’s useable by key decision-makers.

From a Cognitive science foundation, knowledge is of two types: declarative and procedural. Declarative knowledge consists of facts, descriptions or propositions. Procedural knowledge pertains to the knowledge of “how” and is context-specific. It defines the process to use the declarative knowledge in context. It is required to transform declarative knowledge elements into something useful to accomplish the task at-hand. In an Enterprise context, as the declarative knowledge is fragmented across people, technology and strategy, an Enterprise Architecture creates procedural knowledge by bringing clarity through an agreed-upon declarative knowledge-base, and a process by which the entire organization uses the enterprise’s “declarative” knowledge to perform successfully in a dynamic environment. Till date, various Enterprise Frameworks have only attempted to create such a procedure and there exists no standard procedure to bring the organization’s declarative knowledge to bear for organization’s true progress and create value out of an EA.

From a Cognitive science foundation, knowledge is of two types: declarative and procedural. Declarative knowledge consists of facts, descriptions or propositions. Procedural knowledge pertains to the knowledge of “how” and is context-specific. It defines the process to use the declarative knowledge in context. It is required to transform declarative knowledge elements into something useful to accomplish the task at-hand. In an Enterprise context, as the declarative knowledge is fragmented across people, technology and strategy, an Enterprise Architecture creates procedural knowledge by bringing clarity through an agreed-upon declarative knowledge-base, and a process by which the entire organization uses the enterprise’s “declarative” knowledge to perform successfully in a dynamic environment. Till date, various Enterprise Frameworks have only attempted to create such a procedure and there exists no standard procedure to bring the organization’s declarative knowledge to bear for organization’s true progress and create value out of an EA.

What are some of the EA Knowledge Areas?

The EABOK provides a living, evolving reference of ready-to-use knowledge about EA. The EABOK is decomposed into seven knowledge areas that provide information about the mechanisms by which the subject of EA has been brought into existence. The EABOK is organized as follows:

Organizational Scope and Structure of EA

The scope of an enterprise architecture establishes the range or extent that it needs to address the business need to bring together the organization’s personnel, processes and technology to achieve business mission. There are several dimensions to scope. The enterprise architecture roadmap identifies the planning time horizon.

Foundations of EA

Enterprise Architecture has its roots in the 1960s. It came about to analyze areas of common activity within or between other resources that are exchanged to guide the future state of the organization or the enterprise, from an integrated viewpoint of strategy, business and technology.

Developing an EA

Developing an EA includes all the activities associated with creating and maintaining the enterprise architecture for a specific purpose. The EA provides the blueprint for transforming the enterprise from the current state to the desired end state in order to achieve strategic outcomes. That desired end state may address organizational change, business process transformations, data integration, systems reengineering or technology modernization.

Management of EA

Managing the EA involves establishing, monitoring, and controlling the EA project throughout the lifecycle. The EA manager must communicate the EA plans to stakeholders and ensure support and buy-in of the strategic vision. The EA manager creates the governance mechanisms and structures, establishes boards and working groups, and ensures and appropriate balance of empowerment, focus and control.

EA in Practice

The EA is a tool for many individuals within an enterprise to include executives, managers, engineering staff, cost analysts, domain experts, and end users. Managers and executives use the EA to ensure investments and systems are linked to the mission and strategy for an organization.

Perspectives on EA

Some knowledge about EA does not fit into any one of the life-cycle-based Knowledge Areas of the EABOK. In general, this knowledge is cross-cutting or "meta-level" knowledge that represents different perspectives on the discipline. This "Perspectives" Knowledge Area exists to collect and point to such cross-cutting knowledge.

Governance

EA Governance defines the rules and policies controlling the development and evolution of the EA program, and allocates responsibilities, authorities, and decision rights across key stakeholder groups. In many cases the EA Governance focuses on management of the organization’s EA program, but in some cases it extends to the broader set of stakeholder groups that help shape the governance policies such as chief officers, business leaders, information technology managers, and other customers and users of EA information.

EABOK is an evolving knowledge base and more information will be released as available. Subscribe to the Newsletter and get notified through Twitter handle @eabok.

In addition to the EABOK Board members the content is also contributed by the following MITRE employees:

  • Karla Kendrick
  • Brenda Yu
  • Eddie Wang
  • Rose Tykinski
  • Wakar Khan
  • Mike Russell