Tech trends

Blended approach key to good enterprise architecture

Arun Mysore

Gartner has identified four basic approaches to enterprise architecture (EA) – traditional, federated, middle out and managed diversity. It says by 2015, 95% of organisations will support a mixture of more than one of these approaches to EA.

Analyst firm Gartner has argued that the challenge before enterprises
is not to create a perfect architecture for the moment, but to
craft an approach that will adapt best for the future. 

Gartner has identified four basic approaches to enterprise
architecture (EA) – traditional, federated, middle out and managed
diversity. It says by 2015, 95% of organisations will support a
mixture of more than one of these approaches to EA.

“Businesses are realising that there is no one way to support
EA,” said Julie Short, research director at Gartner. “Decisions may
be heavily influenced by a business context and the organisation’s
business landscape, people and politics, future state vision and
experience.

Here is a brief overview of Gartner’s four approaches to EA:

Traditional approach is for centralised organisations and
includes most of the standard industry frameworks and
processes. 

Federated approach is for large, complex and decentralised
organisations. EA teams define the core and common elements between
business units.

Managed-diversity architecture is focused on defining
choices.  It balances the need for standards with the need for
a diversity of solutions and allows users to select the right tool
for the job.

In Middle-out architecture, EA team defines small but rigid
interface standards and delegates decision making for the specific
technologies. This approach is for organisations where the business
units, partners, and suppliers are not under the direct control of
a central EA team.

“The reality is that most organisations do not apply a single
approach to EA in a pure form,” said Betsy Burton, vice president
and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Rather, they use a number of
different approaches in different areas, resulting in a blended
reality that truly meets the needs of their business.”

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