>Use Cases and Enterprise Architecture

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User-centric EA fulfills many different needs (as portrayed through Use Cases) in the enterprise.

In the Journal of Enterprise Architecture (JEA), August 2007, the authors of the article “Analysis and Application Scenarios of Enterprise Architecture: An Exploratory Study” (Winters, Bucher, Fischer, and Kurpjuweit) provide a variety of these “application scenarios” for EA.

Use Cases can help us understand the importance and benefits of Enterprise Architecture by showing its application to real-world scenarios. Below is a list of key use cases for EA (adapted from JEA):

  1. Adoption of Commercial and Government Off-The-Shelf Software (COTS/GOTS)—informs on enterprise IT products and technical standards for integration, interoperability, and standardization.
  2. Business Continuity Planning—identifying the dependencies between business processes, application systems, and IT infrastructure for continuity of operations.
  3. Business Process Optimization—reengineering or improving business processes based on modeling of the business processes, the information required to perform those, and the technology solutions to support those.
  4. Compliance Management—helps verify compliance with legal requirements such as privacy, FOIA, Section 508, records management, FISMA, and so on.
  5. Investment Management—supports Investment Review Board; determines business and technical alignment and architecture assessment of new IT investments.
  6. IT Business Alignment—aligning IT with “business, strategies, goals, and needs.”
  7. IT Consolidation—“reveals costly multi-platform strategies and wasted IT resources originating from personal preferences of certain IT stakeholders and/or a lack of enterprise-wide coordination.”
  8. IT Planning—develops target architecture and transition plan; develops or supports IT strategic plan and tactical plans.
  9. Performance Management—Management of IT Operations Costs through the development of IT performance measures to manage IT resources.
  10. Portfolio Management—categorizes IT investments into portfolios and prioritizes those based on strategic alignment to the target architecture and transition plan.
  11. Post Merger and Acquisition Integration—identifies gaps, redundancies, and opportunities in business processes, organizational structures, applications systems, and information technologies.
  12. Procurement Management—aids sourcing decisions; specifies standards, provides reviews of new IT investments.
  13. Project (Initialization) Management—specifies projects requirements, looks at the potential for existing systems to meet user needs, and avoids redundant development activities.
  14. Quality Management—document business processes, information requirements, and supporting IT; helps ensure performance.
  15. Risk Management—managing technology risks; understanding which technology platforms support which business processes.
  16. Security Management—documenting business and IT security and defining user roles and access rights.

When done right, EA helps to create “order out of chaos” for the execution of business and IT in the organization.

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