The fact that we cannot even agree on what architecture is, never mind what enterprise architecture (EA) is, says a lot about the maturity of the EA discipline that, surprisingly, has so many practitioners and experts today. What is EA delivering then?
That explains too why we argue so much about any EA aspect and why our results differ so wildly.
Should we even discuss what architecture is? Are we trying to redefine the term architecture yet again?
Had our stakeholders discovered that today, we still debate what architecture is, they will feel rather distressed. What credibility would we still claim then?
In simple terms, architecture is the description of a system that enables the construction, proper usage, repair and further development of a system.
Architecture as such, is implicitly embedded in the constructed system.
Architecture is neither strategy nor business or operating model... even though it can be employed to those purposes and it is impacted by them.
What the description consists of is a different matter. Structure, behaviour, information to begin with.
In any case, an architecture has many views describing the "architectures" as seen by each and every stakeholder.
We need a framework that links all the above in one integrated and navigable whole to help us model EA and reach consistent results that help us construct, use... the system. Until then, architecture remains a chat topic because its various outcomes cannot be used to construct, repair and further develop a system.
That architecture needs a development process is another matter, related though. The process has to be specific enough to consider the description parts.
The architecture development process needs governance which is usually ensured by an Architect leading a team.
Architecture constitutes a discipline as well.
In our definitions, we have to make a distinction though between the architecture team, architecture discipline, architecture views... and the architecture (description) itself. Otherwise we confuse ourselves.A body can be described in views showing the skeleton, the internal organs, the body parts, the nervous system and also the digestive process, the breathing process etc.
In my book I explored architecture as the anatomy and physiology of the enterprise, which disciplines explored for a long time the ways to describe the human body from various angles. The anatomy describes the structure of the body. The physiology describes the behaviour.
This approach is embedded in a method called GODS-FFLV.
Using GODS_FFLV we can depict a system in a consistent and similar manner to anatomy and physiology in views showing the structure (as the organs or parts of the body), the processes (like breathing...), the technology blueprints such as networks, servers, printers... (similar to the nervous, circulatory systems)...
When put these artefacts together in the framework, the outcome would be the integrated architecture of the system. This is the EA for an enterprise. Without such an approach the overall result will be disjoint, not integrated and non-navigable. The result would not be EA.