There are many perspectives of what is called architecture. Architecture is applied to organizations, enterprises, businesses (profit or non-profit, private or public) or whatever term is used to define a structure that delivers goods and/or services to a constituency. This constituency consists of citizenry or customers, products or services, governments, educational institutions and so on. In any event, what we are talking about is some structure that consists of component parts and relationships that are used to deliver the goods and services. Many of the ideas, concepts and techniques for architecture of an organization are taken from historical uses of architecture in construction of building, cities and neighborhoods.
Some assertions about architecture
With this in mind, there are several core assertions of concern to IT Management that can be made about architecture as relates to enterprises:
- There are several architecture perspectives depending on the type of enterprise structure including the size, product, service, market, location, performance goals, driving force, and focus of the enterprise.
- Every organization has an architecture suite. Much of their architectures are implicit, and some are explicitly embedded in documents like strategic plans.
- Transformations of organizational structures tend to be done in some segmented or partitioned way to control the magnitude and cost of the effort. Such changes can support business functionality such as invoicing, order management, design engineering, supply chain, loan processing and so on. Other times, the segments support infrastructure segments such as: IT, HR, Financial services and so on.
- Organizations or enterprises may use many combinations of approaches, skill levels, tools and methods to achieve structural change.
- There are as many approaches and methodologies to architecture as there are consultants.
- There are few standards except for execution or enterprise IT architecture as they are engineering focused.
What does architecture consist of? Most often architecture is made up of the following:
- An architecture is made up of models (one or more)
- Models are made up of elements (instances of a category) and relationships between elements