Whiteboard: Business by Design

By Gary Bolles  |  Posted 2004-02-02 Print this article Print

Ill-defined and poorly understood, enterprise architecture is often relegated to the technologist's realm. But without a clear understanding of critical business requirements, any attempt to define a strategic IT plan is doomed. Here's a nine-step process

The role of the enterprise architect is much like that of a city planner. Too often, in a city, buildings are constructed using completely independent designs, infrastructure is slapped together over time, and attempts to build comprehensive plans for coherent growth are stymied by competing goals and unmanageable egos. In the same way, business units in organizations of any size often pursue their own individual business and technology goals, creating separate infrastructures that defy attempts to "federate" the organizations business and computing resources.

Without a clear understanding of critical business requirements, any attempt to articulate strategic IT plans is doomed. Thats why, first and foremost, an enterprise architecture provides a structure for defining business goals and processes. Once that "business architecture" is explicitly stated and widely agreed on, IT can then begin the task of defining the information needed to support business requirements, and the IT infrastructure needed to support the creation and management of that information.

This whiteboard offers a nine-step outline of architecture planning which Contributing Editor Gary A. Bolles has synthesized from a variety of enterprise-architecture approaches and frameworks.
Click here for Gary Bolles full article on enterprise architecture. It describes an approach that focuses on fleshing out the business, information and IT architectures for a single business unit. The city planning metaphor is a useful one for understanding the balance of local and global requirements within the organization.

To view whiteboard, click here. To view a printable version, click here.
Gary Bolles Gary A. Bolles is the Editorial Director for Ziff Davis Media's Custom Conference Group. He is responsible for directing the group's editorial efforts, ensuring the quality of the content it delivers, and moderating and speaking at client events. A frequent lecturer and keynote speaker on a variety of technology topics, he has hosted more than 50 events in the past year alone.

Bolles was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Interactive Week, developing its unique vision, the founding editorial director of Sm@rt Reseller magazine, creating the publication from initial research, and the founding Editorial Director of Yahoo! Internet Life, managing its successful launch. Bolles was also the Editor-in-Chief of Network Computing Magazine, and for one year was the host of 'Working the Web' for TechTV, covering a wide variety of technology-related topics. Until recently, he was a contributing editor to CIO Insight, writing on a broad range of technology subjects, and assisting in the coordination of the publication's research efforts.

Bolles is the former Chief Operating Officer of Evolve Software, Inc., and the former VP of Marketing for Network Products Corporation. He has served as a marketing consultant to a variety of organizations, and has advised a number of software startup companies in arenas such as online marketing and data mining.

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