Research Focus: Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM)

Enterprise architectures and their management have been common buzzwords for several years, even beyond the boundaries of IT departments. In practice, EAM should help to make the complexity of IT landscapes manageable, to control them efficiently and effectively and to align them with business requirements. The research focus EAM examines concepts, methods and approaches as to that. In this context, the inclusion of aspects of IT services and IT service management into the field of enterprise architectures is also being investigated.


Enterprise Architecture (EA) focuses on the entire enterprise. The development and adaptation of the company's IT goes hand in hand with the continuous and structured development of the enterprise architecture. Prerequisites are suitable methods and frameworks.


At the same time, a change in architecture with a switch to cloud structures is imminent. Business IT has discovered the model-based approach for this, i.e. business processes are described with models in order to map them to IT infrastructures and software systems. The cross-references between the different artifacts and model levels are the real key to EA. For this purpose, the focus is extended to the entire company and its continuous development. The continuous alignment of the IT and the technical implementation are based on the requirements of the business model and the business level. This is why it is also called business IT alignment, typically distinguishing three main levels (Fig. 1).


At the level of business architecture, the strategic focus and its implementation in business processes are described based on the business model. This essentially comprises the classic level of Business Process Modeling (BPM). EA does not specify how this level is to be described and modeled. Here, classical methods of BPM such as EPK or the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) can be applied, or methods from the field of software engineering such as the Unified Modeling Language (UML).


The middle level, with the focus on information and application architecture, connects the business level with its implementation on IT structures - initially conceptually and decoupled from the technical realization, which then takes place in the lower level of the technology architecture.


The successful implementation of an EA approach in companies and organizations is often accompanied by the use of a corresponding reference model: the Enterprise Architecture Framework (EAF). It is intended to create a manageable regulatory framework for enterprise architecture.


Ideally, an EAF should include structural and procedural organizational elements and thus provide a description of which artifacts are to be created at the different levels of architecture and how they should be created. The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is currently the de facto standard for modeling enterprise architectures.


Process model, the Architecture Development Method (ADM): in addition to a preparatory phase (Preliminary), in which the basic requirements for an EA are to be created, the goals are summarized in the enterprise context first. In the next steps, the relevant architecture sections on the three levels of the pyramid are described. Afterwards, the implementation of the architecture takes place. Finally, the evaluation and assessment takes place.


For each step (phase) it must be clearly defined which requirements are the focus of attention. For this reason, ADM focuses on the higher-level phase Requirements Management in the "nave". With ADM, enterprise architects have a general scheme at their fingertips, which, according to TOGAF recommendations, can be adapted to the respective concrete requirements and conditions of the company.