Enterprise Architecture

Why Enterprise Architecture?

Just as an architect defines the overall design of a building and the components that it can be built from, the Enterprise Architecture (EA) team design the overall framework for the University’s administrative Information Technology (IT) services and the components that underpin them.

EA is not just technology: it includes data, software, hardware, user experience and also business organisation and processes. 

Why do we need EA?

This animated Youtube video gives an introduction to EA in under 4 minutes.

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

EA in a nutshell

Eneterprise Architecture:

  • provides a high-level view of how hardware systems, data, software applications, business processes and operating models work together to provide the University's services.
  • helps to promote standards that maximize interoperation, minimize duplication and simplify processes.
  • provides a common view of the University's administrative data that gives users consistent and timely information, and gives management the evidence they need to make informed decisions.
  • works with developers to design the IT building blocks that are used to create services with a modern, consistent user experience.
  • advises on  IT strategy to ensure our services are strategic, user-centred, reliable, secure, data-driven and sustainable.

Benefits of EA

EA gives a 'big picture' of how processes and systems interact.  This 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 that service or project.

For the University as a whole, the standards and frameworks supported by EA make the University's IT more flexible and able to adapt to the changing demands on the University.

For information on the initiatives that the EA service has brought to the University, see the How We Can Help page.

How Enterprise Architecture can help you

Who uses EA and what do they use it for?

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

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.

Data analysts search an information catalogue to find the data they need and how to access it.

Business development staff re-use existing relationship management processes and systems to streamline their work.

Senior management use information provided by EA to prioritise investment.

Join our EA Community