Enterprise Architecture

Often compared with town-planning or urban design, Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a holistic approach to managing the complexity of IT from a business perspective. It documents the structural and behavioural building blocks that make up the overall information system of the enterprise, defining the functional components and relationships used to realise it. A management tool, not a silver bullet, EA provides a blueprint for an effective IT strategy and guides the controlled evolution of IT in a way that delivers business benefit in a cost effective way.

The scope of enterprise architecture includes: the people, processes, information and technology of the enterprise, and their relationships to one another and to the external environment. This approach views the enterprise as a complex 'system of systems' and applies appropriate engineering principles.

This definition highlights the fact that EA is more than merely enterprise wide solution architecture. Rather, it provides a vision linking the University’s IT Strategy and Strategic Framework to its change programs through the definition of:

  • Architecture models – to capture the intended structures and serve as a blueprint for technology investment and roadmaps.
  • Mechanisms – such as architecture governance and transition planning to help plan and coordinate all parts of the business and ensure that they all pull in the same direction.
  • Policies – including Architectural Principles.
  • Standards – industry standards, standard products and systems.
  • Procedures – architecture and standards processes.
  • Guidelines – instructions and advice on how to apply the standards and conform with the policies.
  • Principles - architecture principles based on IT strategy, emerging technology, market influences and good practice.


Submit changes, proposals for new standards and feedback via email to itarchitecture@contacts.bham.ac.uk



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