Enterprise architecture (EA) is the practice of analyzing, designing, planning, and implementing enterprise analysis to enable the successful execution of business strategies. EA helps businesses structure IT projects and policies to achieve desired business results and to stay on top of industry trends and disruptions using architecture principles and practices.
The goal of enterprise architecture is to create a standard IT environment with tight symbiotic links to the business side of the organization and its strategy. It promotes alignment, standardization, reuse of existing IT assets, and the sharing of common methods for project management and software development across the organization. If all these are implemented strategically and successfully, the result is cheaper, more effective Information Technology.
Enterprise architecture creates a map of IT assets and business processes and sets principles to govern discussions on business strategy and IT.
Enterprise Architecture and SDLC phases are related by the fact that EA provides the strategy and procedures to be followed during SDLC.
Importance of Enterprise Architecture
EA offers support for re-designs and re-organization during major organizational changes, mergers, or acquisitions. It also adds to the discipline in the organization by offering standard and uniform processes for more consistency.
EA is also used in system development, IT management and decision-making, and IT risk management to eliminate errors, system failures, and security breaches. It can also help businesses navigate complex IT structures or to make IT more accessible to other business units.
Other benefits of Enterprise Architecture include:
- Allowing more transparent collaboration between IT and other business units
- Giving business the ability to prioritize investments
- Making it easier to evaluate existing architecture against long-term goals
- Establishing processes to evaluate and procure technology
- Giving a comprehensive view of IT architecture to all business units outside of IT
- Providing a benchmarking framework to compare results against those of other organizations or standards
Software Development Life Cycle
It is also known as the Software Development Process.
It is comprised of a framework that defines tasks that are performed at every stage in the software development process.
SDLC explains how to develop, maintain, replace, and alter specific software. It is set to improve the quality of software and the overall development process.
Planning and Requirement Analysis
This is the most important and fundamental stage in SDLC. It is performed by the senior members of the team with inputs from the customer, the sales department, market surveys, and domain experts in the industry. This information is then used to plan the basic project approach and to conduct a product feasibility study in the economical, operational, and technical areas. The outcome of this study will define the technical approaches that can be followed to implement the project successfully with minimum risks.
This step involves a clear definition and documentation of the product requirements together with approval from both customer and market analysts.
It is done through a Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document which contains all the product requirements that need to be designed and developed during the project’s life cycle.
Designing the Product Architecture
Various design approaches for the product architecture are proposed and documented in a Design Document Specification (DDS). The DDS is reviewed by all concerned stakeholders and the best design approach is selected for the product. This decision is influenced by factors such as budget, product size, design modularity, time limitations, and risk assessment.
Developing the Product
The actual development and building of the product start here.DDA generates the programming code and the design is performed with a focus on detail and order to generate the code.
Developers are supposed to follow the coding guidelines defined by their organization and programming tools like compilers, interpreters, and debuggers are used to generate the code. Different high-level programming languages are used for coding. The programming language is chosen concerning the type of software being developed.
Testing the Product
This testing is done to detect, report, track, fix, and retest product defects until the product attain the quality standards defined in the Software Requirement Specification.
.Deployment in the Market
When the product has been tested and deemed ready, it is released into the appropriate market. Product deployment may happen in stages, depending on the business strategy of the organization in question. Sometimes a product may be released in a limited segment to be tested in the real business environment. This is commonly known as User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
The product is then released as it is or with suggested enhancements, depending on the feedback from UAT.
After the deployment of a product into the market, maintenance is carried out from time to time especially if there is a hitch or need for enhancement. These issues are taken care of by the developers.
How Enterprise Architecture Supplements and Enables Each Phase of SDLC
EA contributes to the development of optimal designs of various systems, including every stage of SDLC.
Preliminary Analysis Phase
This is where the concept of the product is conceived and the planning begins. It involves the execution of preliminary appraisals, the proposition of different solutions, description of costs along with benefits, and the submission of preliminary recommendations.
System developers consider every priority and how it should be addressed. Feasibility studies are conducted to establish the viability of improving or replacing the systems in question. The studies should cover the systems’ operational, economic, technical, political, legal, and human factor aspects.
In this phase, Enterprise Architecture provides critical input before the happening of in-depth vendor management. It helps determine the application assets, or resources, that ought to be purchased. Other significant processes establish the projects’ courses and the application resources that ought to be bought. Such processes relate to how particular solutions would be incorporated into given environments and how they ought to be developed.
Requirements Analysis Phase
In this phase, Enterprise Architecture comes in handy in the analysis of the information requirements of intended end-users and removing any incompleteness and inconsistencies in the requirements. It helps to appraise the planned systems and prepare the necessary specifications for the product being developed.
Enterprise architects depend on developers along with domain architects to describe the planned systems in detail. Enterprise Architecture practitioners visualize how the subsystems or modules will fit into given enterprises and create helpful design patterns and optimized design configurations. All this effort makes it easier to review system designs upon their completion.
Here Enterprise Architecture specialists help in optimizing application coding efforts. They provide insights into the standardization of coding processes and ensure that the processes follow laid down governance regulations.
EA professionals determine how the attendant applications may be changed to optimize their eventual utility. If they establish that there are considerable architectural changes, they review those changes and assist project teams in conducting them appropriately.
Deployment and Maintenance Phases
In this phase, Enterprise Architecture guides the making of the required changes to the original software to make sure they do not turn into discontinuance.
System deployment includes enhancements and changes before decommissioning of the system. When software deployment is underway, EA specialists should not be engaged unless there are explicit needs.
Even so, they are very helpful in the optimization of software deployment procedures.