The phrase “Content is King” is often used to emphasize the importance of high-quality content in the digital world. However, in the context of enterprise architecture (EA), it is important to remember that “Context is King.”
Context is the set of circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in the context of EA, it refers to the organization’s mission, vision, values, external environment, and internal environment.
Before organizations can start to develop an EA playbook, they need to have a deep understanding of their context. This will help them to identify the right EA goals and objectives, and to develop an EA that is aligned with the organization’s overall strategy.
Once the organization has a good understanding of its context, it can start to develop an EA playbook. The EA playbook is a document that describes the organization’s EA approach, processes, and tools. It should also include a roadmap for how the organization plans to implement and improve its EA over time.
An MVP (minimum viable product) approach can be used to establish such an EA program on the right track. This involves starting with a small, core set of EA activities and expanding the program as needed.
Here is an example of an MVP approach to EA in the context of a hospital:
- Start with a clear understanding of the organization’s context.
This includes the hospital’s mission, vision, values, external environment, and internal environment. The hospital’s context can be analyzed using a variety of methods, such as SWOT analysis, PEST analysis, and stakeholder interviews.
- Identify the key business processes.
These are the processes that are essential to the hospital’s operation, such as patient care, billing, and supply chain management. The key business processes can be identified using a variety of methods, such as process mapping and interviews with key stakeholders.
- Identify the key IT systems and applications that support the business processes.
These are the IT systems and applications that are essential to the hospital’s operation, such as the patient information system, the electronic health record system, and the billing system. The key IT systems and applications can be identified using a variety of methods, such as interviews with key stakeholders and analysis of business process models.
- Develop a logical model of the IT architecture.
This model should show the relationships between the different IT systems and applications. The logical model can be used to identify any gaps or inefficiencies in the IT architecture. For example, the model might show how the patient information system (PIS) is connected to the electronic health record (EHR) system, and how the EHR system is connected to the billing system.
The logical model could also show how data flows between the different IT systems and applications. For example, the model might show how patient demographic data flows from the PIS to the EHR system, and how billing data flows from the EHR system to the billing system.
The logical model can be used to identify any gaps or inefficiencies in the IT architecture. For example, the model might show that there is no way for the PIS to communicate directly with the billing system, which would require manual data entry.
- Develop a roadmap based on a physical model for implementing and improving the EA.
This roadmap should identify the key steps that need to be taken to implement and improve the EA, as well as the resources that will be needed. The roadmap would be based on a physical model of the hospital’s IT architecture. The physical model would show the hardware, software, and networks that are used to support the hospital’s IT systems and applications. The roadmap would also need to consider the hospital’s budget and timeline for implementing the EA.
In conclusion, before content can even be relevant, whether as text, tables, or graphics, the overall context must be taken into account, including the essential customization of an EA approach for that organization. There is no single approach for even 2 different organizations, but leading standards, such as TOGAF and ArchiMate, can provide a lot of common ways to design and describe capabilities across different organizations. They can contribute key building blocks for an MVP approach to the development, implementation, and ongoing refinement of any organization’s EA Playbook.
Authored by Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor