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 two 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").
- 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”).