enterprise architecture (EA) definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: EA in transition: Guide to keeping up with disruptive technologies

An enterprise architecture (EA) is a conceptual blueprint that defines the structure and operation of an organization. The intent of an enterprise architecture is to determine how an organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives.

Microsoft's Michael Platt offers a view of enterprise architecture as containing four points-of-view, called the business perspective, the application perspective, the information perspective, and the technology perspective. The business perspective defines the processes and standards by which the business operates on a day-to-day basis. The application perspective defines the interactions among the processes and standards used by the organization. The information perspective defines and classifies the raw data (such as document files, databases, images, presentations, and spreadsheets) that the organization requires in order to efficiently operate. The technology perspective defines the hardware, operating systems, programming, and networking solutions used by the organization.

Purported advantages of having an enterprise architecture include improved decision making, improved adaptability to changing demands or market conditions, elimination of inefficient and redundant processes, optimization of the use of organizational assets, and minimization of employee turnover.

This was first published in June 2007

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