FAQ: What is enterprise architecture?

13th October 2016

The Casewise FAQ blog series provides insights from our top consultants into key issues impacting the business process and enterprise architecture industries

“Enterprise architecture answers the who, what, why, when, and where of a company and what it does,” says Casewise consultant Tony Mauro.

Why, though, would a company that has been in business for decades, perhaps a global player, need to invest in creating an enterprise architecture?

Casewise’s Head of Professional Services, Jon Sweigart says, “For me, the biggest reason is just to get everybody in the organization using the same language and be able to refer to things in the same way. That is becoming more critical all the time as companies tend to grow through mergers and acquisitions. They’re dealing with different organizations throughout the company that have traditionally been different companies.

“Now they’re different organizations or business units within the same company so they obviously have both different documentation and different language and a different way to describe certain things.”

By drawing disparate pieces of information and processes into one platform Casewise provides the technology and the repository for people to consistently put that information into one single location.

“A traditional problem with architecture in general – either enterprise architecture or business process modeling – is that people will document these things going across the company in lots of different ways, whether it be on a whiteboard, in PowerPoint, in Visio, or in spreadsheets.

“It’s nice to have that documentation but the problem is that it becomes siloed pieces of information that only one person can decipher and have general access to. The Casewise solution has that common database and common graphical front end that enforces a common way to document this information and it makes it so that everybody has access to the information as well.”

Casewise Modeler is the input mechanism that gets the disparate pieces of knowledge into one place – converting intangible data into transparent, uniform, and usable information. Modeler enforces standards for everybody to put that information in and make it consistent. It also creates common data points, allowing people to do analysis.

Mauro says, “If you were using things like PowerPoint, Visio, and spreadsheets, the data’s so inconsistent that any analysis that you do run across the organization would not be valid.”

Taking it further with Casewise Evolve

Casewise Evolve takes this further into the next generation of business process and enterprise architecture.

“Traditionally, business process analysts would put information in these kinds of tools and they were the only ones that could understand it,” says Mauro. “You would have to go to those people and ask them for specific information.”

“With Evolve, it turns this information into an operational and collaborative system where all of your employees –  CIO, CEOs, managers, or somebody that’s actually executing the tasks themselves – can get to that information real time.”

“Evolve gives you a knowledge management platform where employees can just come and learn how people are doing their jobs, how to do their own jobs or how things are working. It’s a kind of on demand analysis.”