>For many years, there was confusion in the architecture community between EA and solutions architecture. For example, I remember one of the agencies that I worked at putting together a request for proposal for contractors to develop an EA for some new systems. But it wasn’t EA that they were actually looking for; they really wanted a solutions architecture to automate some particular processes (but at the time they didn’t know the correct terminology or really understand the distinction).
However, the distinction is important and the Federal EA made major strides in this area in December 2006, when they released the FEA Practice Guidance that laid out the differences (and hierarchy) between Enterprise, Segment, and Solution Architecture.
- (At the highest level,) Enterprise Architecture is scoped on the agency, at a low level of detail, with impact focused on strategic outcomes, and the audience is all agency stakeholders.
- Segment Architecture is scoped on individual lines of business (LOB), at a medium level of detail, with impact focused on business outcomes, and the audience is the line of business.
- (At the lowest level,) Solutions Architecture is scoped on specific functions and processes, at a high level of detail, with impact focused on operational outcomes, and the audience is users/developers.
Why is this important?
From a user-centric EA perspective, all stakeholders benefit from a clear delineation of responsibilities: An overarching plan and governance is provided from the Chief Enterprise Architect (the strategic layer); a roadmap for the lines of business is served up from the program managers (the logical layer); and project solutions are developed by the technical staff (the physical layer).
Al three layers of the architectures work synergistically together for the end-user, by the lower levels aligning to and complying with those above, so that specific solutions fit into the line of business roadmap for enhanced business outcomes, and the LOB roadmaps, in turn, are aligned with the overall EA target architecture and transition plan for the organization.
Do you distinguish between Enterprise, Segment, and Solutions architecture?