Enterprise Architecture

Why Enterprise Architecture?

The Enterprise Architecture (EA) team design the overall framework for the University’s administrative Information Technology (IT) services and the components that underpin them, to support strategic change initiatives and to improve the digital experience for the university community.

EA is about designing robust, flexible and efficient services that can adapt to changing requirements. It encompasses business organisation and processes; how users experience them; how data is sourced, maintained and disposed of; the IT applications that implement this and the services that support them, and the infrastructure that underpins it all.  

Why do we need EA?

This animated Youtube video gives an excellent introduction in just 4 minutes as to how EA can structure IT systems to be more responsive to business need.

In the University of Edinburgh, we use some slightly different terminology - for example, we use the term "solution architect" instead of  "project architect" - but the basic ideas are the same.

What the video doesn't show is how EA can also support business architecture, for example by introducing more efficient processes or evaluating the effort required to introduce a new way of working.

EA in a nutshell

Enterprise Architecture:

  • gives a high-level view of how business processes, operating models, data, software applications and hardware systems can be aligned to support the University's services.
  • advises on IT strategy to ensure that services are strategic, user-centred, reliable, secure, data-driven and sustainable.
  • evaluates the impact of strategic initiatives and helps to plan for effective change.
  • promotes standards that maximize interoperation, minimize duplication, simplify processes, improve user experience and reduce cost.
  • provides a common view of the University's administrative data, to give users consistent and timely information and to give management the evidence they need to make informed decisions.
  • works with IT staff to design the IT building blocks that are used to create services with a modern, consistent user experience.

Benefits of EA

EA gives a 'big picture' of how services, processes and systems interact.  This helps us to plan major initiatives.   The standards and frameworks supported by EA make the University's IT more able to adapt to the changing demands on the higher education sector.

EA helps people to understand how their service or project interacts with other services, for example if it relies on or provides data to other services.  We work with technical staff to identify reusable building blocks that can simplify and speed up the implementation of  services and projects.

For information on the initiatives that the EA service has brought to the University, see the "How Enterprise Architecture can help you" page.

How Enterprise Architecture can help you

Who uses EA and what do they use it for?

Senior management use information provided by EA to prioritise investment.

Service owners and project teams use the 'big picture' provided by EA to understand how their services interact with others and to shape project plans.

Data analysts use the data warehouse and data models provided by EA to build more integrated reports for their users.

Business development staff benefit from the integrated CRM processes and systems that EA design, providing a 360 view of their stakeholders.

Developers use information about applications and data flows to design their software, and use building blocks such as APIs to integrate services easily and flexibly.

Join our EA Community