An Enterprise Architecture, supporting a business, is an extremely valuable asset. It is however very easy, when populating it with knowledge garnered from the business, to use it as a dumping ground for everything: ‘just in case it becomes useful’.
Potential content, before being incorporated within the Enterprise Architecture repository, should be subject to a number of tests to determine its ‘fitness for purpose’
Establishing a set of Guiding Principles and ensuring that they are adhered to, provides a mechanism through which the Enterprise Architecture can retain its on-going value.
Content to be included should be:
- Strategic: Align the architecture with decisions that need to be made and the strategic vision of the business
- Standards Based: Reducing needless diversity
- Simple: Making things as simple as possible but no simpler. Following well defined patterns and blueprints to define the content will increase understanding and decrease complexity.
- Knowledge Driven: Manage content as a single source of truth for others. Base the content on facts, not supposition or assumptions.
- Reliable: Ensure the validity of ‘facts’ and avoid inconsistencies.
- Accessible: Content needs to be available to those who need it.
- Secure: Ensure confidentiality, integrity and currency of information.
- Sustainable: Content to be included must be maintainable, manageable and measurable.
The application of Guiding Principles, as a test for content inclusion and a governance regime providing assurance that they are being followed, will ensure that the Enterprise Architecture will provide a tool to the business that is worthy of its investment.