MIT CISR defines enterprise architecture as “the organizing logic for business process and IT capabilities reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of the firm’s operating model.” We view architecture as a strategic, rather than technical, exercise. A firm’s architecture describes a shared vision of how a firm will operate—thus providing a shared understanding of the role of IT. We have found enterprise architecture to be a critical tool for aligning IT and business strategy and for driving business value from IT. We emphasize three key concepts in our research:
- Operating model: a simple statement of the integration and standardization requirements for the firm’s core processes (“Forget Strategy: Focus IT on Your Operating Model”).
- Core diagram: a visual representation of the firm’s key business processes, shared data, and integrating technology (“Enterprise Architecture: Depicting a Vision of the Firm”).
- Architecture maturity: a description of the journey an established firm embarks upon as it transitions into more strategic use of IT ( “Maturity Matters: How Firms Generate Value from Enterprise Architecture”).
- Working Paper: “Enterprise Architecture: Driving Business Benefits from IT (a compilation of selected research briefings)”
- Book: Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David Robertson, Harvard Business School Press, 2006.
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