Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a role or function that primarily ensures the Information Technology strategy and implementation within an organization is correctly aligned with its business strategy and objectives. An EA function focuses on the collection and analysis of information including software applications, business processes, business information (data), technology, and governance (people). The result of this analysis delivers the technology strategy and the roadmap required to support what the organization is trying to achieve. Mobile Technology (MT) integration into the EA function creates the opportunities to deliver and respond to rapidly growing organizations that require immense flexibility from a technology perspective. This is so because mobility can overcome the boundaries of time and location in the dealings of the organization. The result of this extension is the creation of a Mobility Enterprise Architecture (M-EA) model, which will provide the organization with advantages of realtime business processing, better customer and end-user services, and the addition of increased control across the entire organization. This chapter brings together the experience of an Enterprise Architect with a Ph.D research candidate to investigate the M-EA model and its implementation. The chapter includes an overview of EA and M-EA models and also includes investigations of the advantages; limitations and blueprint overcome those challenges of M-EA implementation.
Enterprise Architecture (Ea) Overview
The world of Information Technology Enterprise Architecture is still a relatively new discipline. This is so mainly because it is only in the recent past that the importance of Strategic IT planning has been considered similar to and with equal importance as the other strategic business planning functions within the organization. The Enterprise Architecture (EA) function within an organisation ensures that the IT Architecture is aligned with the Business Strategic goals and objectives, and more importantly, remains aligned (McGovern et. al., 2004).
This is an important differentiator to more project or system based objectives because whilst individual applications evolve typically to address a “point in time” business issue or opportunity, the EA seeks to address the more holistic organisational level requirements and business alignment objectives on an ongoing basis. A key output of the EA programme is the Target State Model. One of the important aspects of the Target State Model is that it helps guide the subsequent work that is carried out and is also used to identify and cost the opportunities in which the organization should invest to achieve its IT objectives.
An EA programme typically contains a number of streams:
Business Strategic Objectives baseline capture
Current Technology baseline capture
Target State creation
Opportunity analysis and identification
Technology governance review
Furthermore, if the organisational structure is deemed to require changes to better support the target state then the model may also include staffing and resource models necessary to improve internal governance or delivery capabilities.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Enterprise Architecture (EA): A strategic Information Technology model that provides a visualisation of the relationships between Processes, Data, People and Systems in an organisation and which acts as a guide in the implementation of technology to support the business goals and strategy.
Mobile Technologies (MT): Used to describe modern wireless connections such as those in cellular networks and wireless broadband Internet, also encompass communication that is achieved without land-based or wired mechanisms.
Mobile Enterprise Architecture (M-EA): A structure of integrating business processes with Information Technology that are supported and integrated with MT. It integrates business Systems, Processes, People, and Data in an organization in a manner that enables easy incorporation of Mobile Technologies in its business processes.