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About the CPSA®- Advanced Level Module Enter­prise Architecture Management (EAM)

An Interview With iSAQB Members Mahbouba Gharbi and Roger Rhoades

The iSAQB editorial team asked several questions about the CPSA®-Advanced Level Module Enter­prise Architecture Management (EAM) to Mahbouba Gharbi and Roger Rhoades. Both software architecture experts are long-standing iSAQB members and are, among other things, respon­sible for the mainte­nance and further devel­opment of the EAM module as curator (Roger Rhoades) and as co-curator (Mahbouba Gharbi).


What is Enter­prise Architecture Management (EAM)?

One of the challenges with Enter­prise Architecture Management (EAM) is that there are so many different defin­i­tions, each of which have differ­ences and similar­ities. Therefore, one of the goals of iSAQB is to provide a standardized curriculum with a common vocab­ulary that brings uniformity to this topic.

It is important to differ­en­tiate between Enter­prise Architecture and Enter­prise Architecture Management. The defin­i­tions provided below originate from the Open Group, an industry-leading organi­zation that provides a framework for conducting EAM.

“[Enter­prise Architecture] is a conceptual blueprint that defines the structure and operation of an organi­zation. It struc­tures and gives context to enter­prise activ­ities deliv­ering concrete business outcomes primarily, but not exclu­sively, in the IT domain.”

“[Enter­prise Architecture Management] is a coherent whole of principles, methods, and models that are used in the design and realization of an enter­prise’s organi­za­tional structure, business processes, information systems, and infrastructure.”

The “conceptual blueprint” of Enter­prise Architecture is typically composed of multiple so-called “architecture domains” that define the structure and inter­action of different architectural elements:

  • Business Architecture: e.g., gover­nance, organi­zation structure and locations, business functions, and business processes.
  • Information Architecture: e.g., logical and physical data assets, data governance.
  • Appli­ca­tions Architecture: e.g., IT appli­ca­tions and inter­faces that provide business functions.
  • Infrastructure Architecture: e.g., platform services and technology compo­nents required to support the deployment of business, data, and appli­cation services, including middleware, networks, etc.

By designing a solution that includes all relevant aspects of the different architecture domains, Enter­prise Archi­tects create a holistic solution that ensures a successful imple­men­tation of the business strategy. The result is stream­lined business processes with corre­sponding data, an optimized appli­cation landscape, and a modern, future-proof IT infrastructure.


What is the difference between Enter­prise Architecture Management (EAM) and Software Architecture Management (SAM)?

The difference between EAM and SAM is primarily based on the scope of the architecture activ­ities. Simply put, Software Architecture defines the architecture of a single IT appli­cation, while Enter­prise Architecture defines the architecture of the entire enterprise.

Both EAM and SAM contain elements of all the architecture domains; however, SAM manages processes, data, appli­cation compo­nents, and technology and infrastructure compo­nents that are limited to a single IT appli­cation; whereas EAM could manage dozens, or even hundreds, of processes, IT appli­ca­tions, organi­za­tional units, technologies, etc. used within the entire enterprise.
Software Archi­tects have been tradi­tionally respon­sible for designing individual IT appli­ca­tions and Enter­prise Archi­tects for the integration of those appli­ca­tions. Enter­prise Archi­tects are also concerned with ensuring that the appli­ca­tions are well integrated with the corre­sponding business processes and opera­tional requirements.

The demar­cation between EAM and SAM is becoming less clear as organi­za­tions are moving to new approaches such as Domain-Driven Design (DDD) and Microser­vices. As IT appli­ca­tions become smaller and integration becomes an increasing concern, it is becoming more difficult to assign the architecture management activ­ities to specific roles. This recent devel­opment requires a closer cooper­ation between architecture management roles.


What are the tasks of EAM in an enterprise?

The primary activity of the Enter­prise Architect is to define a target architecture and roadmap that will achieve the business goals and strategy. Depending on the business problem or strategy, the activ­ities could include every­thing from reducing IT costs to creating enter­prise-wide imple­men­tation solutions, including business processes that cross business units or geographic locations, data flows and IT appli­ca­tions that impact several business areas, enter­prise-wide infrastructure and technology solutions, etc.

Since the scope of EAM includes all architecture domains, the role of the Enter­prise Architect becomes primarily a coordi­nation activity. The Enter­prise Architect typically coordi­nates with other stake­holders to define the architecture solution (e.g., Process Manager to define business processes, Software Architect to define IT applications).

Enter­prise and Software Archi­tects perform many of the same activ­ities, just at a different scope, e.g., specify the target architecture, assess possible solution alter­na­tives, perform compliance assess­ments, define architecture standards, perform compliance reviews, etc.

The Enter­prise Architect may also perform additional activ­ities such as:

  • Clarify the business drivers, needs, goals, strategy, and constraints.
  • Analyze market and technology trends.
  • Support (or define) the devel­opment of the IT Strategy.
  • Perform a stake­holder analysis.
  • Define enter­prise architecture principles, policies, guide­lines, sample deliv­er­ables, reference archi­tec­tures, best practices, etc. to guide and govern the architecture and implementation.
  • Analyze and manage the business process, IT, and technology portfolios as a basis for improve­ments and governance.
  • Assess the maturity of all architectural domains.
  • Define the enter­prise architecture vision and strategy.
  • Define integration and migration strategies.
  • Prior­itize and consol­idate the planned activ­ities into an enter­prise-wide architecture roadmap.
  • Assess imple­men­tation readiness.
  • Define the business case for the imple­men­tation of the target architecture.


Why has iSAQB defined “EAM” as an Advanced Module? What are the benefits of attending an iSAQB EAM training for an enter­prise or Software Architect?

The course was designed to provide Software Archi­tects with a broader under­standing of Architecture Management so that they can provide better solutions that take into account aspects of more encom­passing, enter­prise-wide solutions. In doing so, they increase the chances of a successful imple­men­tation and ensure the achievement of the business goals.

There are several reasons why attending the iSAQB EAM Advanced Module is beneficial:
1. For Software Archi­tects that simply want to broaden their horizons and under­stand the “big picture” beyond Software Architecture.
2. For Enter­prise and Software Archi­tects that want to under­stand how a concrete architecture solution is derived from the business goals and strategy as well as what is necessary to ensure its successful implementation.
3. For Software Archi­tects that have success­fully imple­mented large IT or general imple­men­tation solutions and are inter­ested in evolving their career to the next level of Enter­prise Architecture Management.
4. For attendees that want to under­stand the different architecture management roles and how the activ­ities are coordi­nated between those roles.
5. Enter­prise archi­tects under­stand each layer of the enter­prise architecture and are able to perform an end-to-end trans­for­mation using enter­prise architecture frame­works such as the Zachmann Framework or The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF).
6. Acquiring the knowledge for a complex task like Enter­prise Architecture Management (EAM) is time consuming. iSAQB’s three-day EAM training provides the essential knowledge of this topic.


What is the devel­opment of the curriculum like? When will there be a new version?

The iSAQB EAM curriculum has recently undergone a major revision that is planned to be released by the end of 2023.
The revised curriculum is much more focused on the EAM topics that impact Software Architecture or EAM topics that are impacted by Software Architecture. For example, imple­menting a Microser­vices approach may seem like an IT-specific topic; however, this approach could impact enter­prise-wide processes, data management, and infrastructure compo­nents. As another example, a seemingly small change at the business level could have wide-ranging impacts on many IT appli­ca­tions. The new iSAQB EAM curriculum was revised to address exactly these types of issues.


For which target group does the iSAQB recommend partic­i­pation in the training? For which companies is EAM useful?

The course is focused on Software, Solution, and Enter­prise Archi­tects; however other roles are also welcome, e.g., Business Archi­tects, Project Managers. It is a miscon­ception that EAM is only applicable to large corpo­ra­tions. The methods learned in this course can be just as easily applied to small- and medium-sized companies.


Which prereq­ui­sites do I have to meet if I want to attend the training?

It is recom­mended that attendees have experience in imple­menting large IT or business solutions.

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Mahbouba Gharbi

Roger Rhoades

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