The Enterprise Architecture Repository (EAR) is a TOGAF specification term intended to provide a single place for the storage and retrieval of solution architecture artifacts. EAR provides the capability to link architectural assets to components of the Detailed Design, Deployment, and Service Management Repositories. Artifacts belonging to this repository are created by using tools, and some are custom developed. The important part of the EA repository is the architecture landscape that represents assets in use or planned by the enterprise at particular points in time.
In this article, I would like to discuss some of the factors that an organization should consider when implementing an EA repository.
Implementing an EA Repository: The Organization’s Current State
Implementing an EA Repository basically focuses on the improvement of enterprise architecture management, the management process, and the capability to effectively structure and document the current state is a key to implementing EA. Evaluation of an organization’s current state is required to understand the impact of changes to business operations. To achieve the highest level of maturity, the organization should consider documenting important current state areas that are prone to frequent changes.
Future State of the EA Repository
Developing an EA Repository future state would first be dependent on the current state of the organization and the document created on the current state. A future state document should consist of levels of detail and how an organization will achieve the future state. An Enterprise Architect should conduct a gap analysis between the current and future states, and identify initiatives to close the gap.
Why Set Up an Enterprise Repository?
To establish a sustainable architecture practice within an organization, you should set up an EA Repository. An EA Repository setup will help an organization achieve other capabilities, such as a business process management capability within an organization. The EA Repository is a single location for all architectural artifacts and definitions within the organization. It promotes a collaborative- and communications-rich environment and helps to set standards throughout the organization. A properly set up EA Repository takes less time to investigate the current state and less time to create the future state.
Organization Strategy and Vision
The Architecture Vision, in context with the Enterprise Architecture Repository, is essentially the “elevator pitch” of an architect. Organization vision is the key opportunity to sell the benefits of an EA repository to the decision-makers of the enterprise.
The goal is to develop an Architecture Vision that includes the goals of the business, responds to the strategic drivers, conforms with the principles, and addresses the concerns and objectives of the stakeholders.
To start building the EA vision, TOGAF suggests that you have a Request for Architecture Work already established. In the vision stage, TOGAF also specifies that you should formulate the Business Strategy, Business Principles, Business Goals, and Business Drivers of your organization.
What are the Challenges of Enterprise Architecture?
Enterprise Architecture helps to identify challenges and opportunities and revises the organization’s strategic plan and vision. Sizing the EA repository is a challenge. Inadequate size estimation underlies most of the remaining challenges.
Consistent definition and understanding of EA as a discipline adds to challenges. Most organizations select EA to fix an ongoing organizational problem without giving it a long-term goal.
An enterprise Architect requires broad knowledge from many aspects: business domains knowledge, technologies project management experience, and organizational skills. There are many channels to mature as an Enterprise Architect. Enterprise Architects with different maturing paths may see the same organization with very different challenges.
Most often, an EA attempts to take ownership of a business process and ends up getting blamed.
What are the Benefits of an Enterprise Repository
Lack of an EA repository can result in inconsistent diagrams, duplication of content and effort, and inaccuracy due to lack of collaboration. An EA repository provides a shared environment for architecture teams to produce diagrams and documentation. Users can benefit from best practices to facilitate consistency and communication. With an EA repository, architects are able to use their preferred tools, saving time and effort. Customers that implemented an EA repository using TOGAF are ensured of a design and a procurement specification that will greatly facilitate open systems implementation with the benefits of open systems to accrue inside organizations.
Organization Maturity and Readiness
An Organization Capability Maturity Model addresses the problem of connecting EA assets by providing an effective and proven method to gradually gain control over and improve its IT-related development processes. Maturity models describe the practices that an organization must perform to improve its EA processes. It provides a periodic measure for improvement and constitutes an industry-standard, proven framework within which to manage the improvement efforts.
As per TOGAF, Business Transformation Readiness Assessment is a technique to assess the readiness of the organization to accept change, identify issues, and deal with issues during the implementation of EA.
I hope this article is beneficial to you. For more information about the TOGAF Architecture Repository, read through its specifications.