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What is Enterprise Architecture, and why do we need it?

A simple and straightforward introduction explaining what Enterprise Architecture is, from a leading EA expert
Roger Evernden
462 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
Explain what Enterprise Architecture is
Understand what it means to "architect" an enterprise
Decide whether they want to become an Enterprise Architect
Describe the key things that distinguish Enterprise Architecture from other disciplines
Understand some of the popular misconceptions about Enterprise Architecture

There are plenty of other courses that explain what is Enterprise Architecture. This one is different – because the course tutor is someone who has been at the leading edge of Enterprise Architecture since 1984, so he really knows his stuff and knows how to explain it simply and clearly.

This course will:

  • Give you a clear and simple explanation of what enterprise architecture is
  • It is aimed at anyone studying to become an enterprise architect, anyone planning to use enterprise architecture, and anyone who is just plain curious to know what enterprise architecture is all about
  • The course is not too long, and not too short; and it’s well structured so it’s easy to dip into and come back to if you need more information

Start Here

A brief introduction to the course

Welcome to the course! In this video I give a very brief introduction to the course.

An outline of the course and the questions it answers

This lecture gives you a brief outline of the course, its layout, and the questions that it will answer.

You might find it useful to watch my 6-minute introduction to Enterprise Architecture on YouTube, or to see some of the other sort introduction videos that are available on YouTube (in a YouTube Playlist). There are links to both of these in the Resources.

What is an Enterprise?

Enterprise - a human endeavour or undertaking

This lecture explains that "enterprise" can mean any human endeavour or undertaking.

An enterprise can therefore be:

  • Equivalent to an entire organization
  • Part of an organization
  • A project
  • A creative endeavour
People, Purpose, and Platform

In this lecture I'll describe the three key things that exist for any enterprise:

  1. A group of People
  2. With a Purpose
  3. Supported by a Platform
The enterprise context

No enterprise exists in isolation. Enterprises collaborate with other enterprises. And all enterprises operate within a particular environmental and social context.

This lecture explains what that means for Enterprise Architecture.

The components of an enterprise

In this lecture I'll describe the components that can be found in almost every enterprise. 

Components make up an enterprise architecture

In this lecture I explain how:

  • The architecture of an enterprise is created from the set of components that are necessary to form an enterprise.
  • All of these pieces are structured and arranged in ways that allow the enterprise to exist and its aims.
  • The structure and arrangement of all these pieces is the architecture of the enterprise.
Every enterprise has an architecture

Finally in this section I explain how every enterprise has an enterprise architecture.

You might find a post I wrote on LinkedIn interesting: Enterprise Architecture Isn't Optional - there's a link in the resources. 

What is an enterprise?

This quiz will help you understand the meaning of "enterprise" when the word is used in Enterprise Architecture..

What does Enterprise Architecture cover?

This quiz gives you a chance to review the things that Enterprise Architects include in their work.

How do you "architect" an enterprise?

Enterprise Architecture - Process, Discipline, and Description

In this lecture you will learn why it is important to see Enterprise Architecture as four things:

  1. The actual architecture of an enterprise
  2. The process of architecting
  3. discipline
  4. And a description of the enterprise architecture
A reminder - what is the actual architecture of an enterprise

In this lecture you will learn about the key ingredients of enterprise architectures.

Remember - every enterprise has an architecture!

You will learn about Paradigms, Patterns, and Principles; Components or Building Blocks; and Architecture Domains.

I will also briefly explain the concept of a metamodel.

Levels of architectural understanding

In this lecture you will learn about the main benefit and value from architecting an enterprise. This lecture you will introduce the idea of architectural thinking, and demonstrate how this provides us with several different levels of architectural understanding.

You will also learn the important distinction between architectural thinking and systems thinking.

In the resources you will find a link to a post I wrote on LinkedIn about the Levels of Architectural Understanding - which also includes some interesting comments and discussion.

An outline of the process of architecting an enterprise

This lecture will provide you with a clear and simple outline of what enterprise architects do.

Changing the Enterprise Architecture - managing its evolution

This lecture will explain how architects balance the need to manage an enterprise architecture with other forces that are beyond their direct control.

I will introduce and explain the concepts of Architectural States, Enterprise Patterns, Strategic Vectors, Roadmaps, and Emergence.

An outline of the discipline of enterprise architecture

This lecture will provide you with a simple overview of the skills and experience that enterprise architects need.

A brief overview of enterprise architecture techniques

In this lecture you will gain an overview of some of the key techniques used by enterprise architects.

An outline of enterprise architecture descriptions

This lecture will provide you an understanding of how enterprise architects describe an enterprise architecture. In particular it will explain how architects describe building blocks, patterns, constraints, enablers, and options.

Architecture frameworks

In this lecture you will learn why architecture frameworks are so important in Enterprise Architecture. 

You will find out why there are several different architecture frameworks, and why this causes some confusion! 

Finally you will gain a good understanding of how architecture frameworks are used by leading architects and architecture teams.

There are two useful links in the resources:

  • A link to the ISO 42010 web site, which gives a list and description of the most common enterprise architecture frameworks. ISO 42010 is the web site for the International Standards Organization standard for Architecture Description - which includes a formal definition of an architecture framework
  • A link to a discussion of the difference between a framework and an ontology - both of which are vital techniques in enterprise architecture. This is a post that I wrote for LinkedIn.
A brief summary

So, architecting an enterprise is a process. It requires experienced and skilled enterprise architects, applying a professional discipline called “Enterprise Architecture”. And it produces descriptions of the architecture of an enterprise (in its current and future states) that guide changes to the architecture.


In the downloadable resources you will find a PDF extract from my book, "Enterprise Architecture - the eight fundamental factors", which gives you a complete overview of the eight factors that are mentioned in this course.


Two things that make Enterprise Architecture unique

There are several things that make Enterprise Architecture distinctive, but in this lecture I focus on the two most important characteristics that make it a unique and special discipline.

Do we need Enterprise Architects?

This lecture asks a key question: do we need Enterprise Architects? 

Now that you've completed this course - what do you think? Do you agree with me or not? Do you think that enterprise architecture is needed or not?

EXERCISE: What does Enterprise Architecture mean for you?

Here is a brief exercise that you can do. It will help you think about the ideas we have covered in this section, and help you put them into your own words.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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