WIKIPEDIA: Enterprise architecture is a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a holistic approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy.

GARTNER: Enterprise architecture is the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating, and improving the key principles and models that describe the enterprise's future state and enable its evolution.

FORRESTER: Enterprise architecture consists of the vision, principles and standards that guide the purchase and deployment of technology within an enterprise.

THE OPEN GROUP: Enterprise architecture is a discipline that helps the enterprise define, develop and exploit the capabilities in order to achieve the enterprise’s strategic Intent. An ‘enterprise’ is any collection of organizations that has a common set of goals and/or a single bottom line.

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    Application Portfolio Management
Enterprise Architecture Application Portfolio Management

This topic is about application portfolio management (APM). Sharing some real-life practical EA activities I encounter at my clients. I will also touch lightly on TOGAF's Architecture Building Blocks (ABB) and Solution Building Blocks (SBB), some examples and how they related to application portfolio management.

As a bit of history. A few days ago I reflected back around the topic of application inventories and APM and was a bit stunned at my own conclusion: In all my client engagements to date, and this is approx 15 years of EA or at least senior architecture work, none of my clients actually had a decent, accurate application inventory they were managing. In many cases there was no applications list and/or no mappings of these applications and what their business usage is. Some clients had somewhat of a list but it was not out-of-date, incomplete and inconsistent (e.g. unclear around what we call an 'application').


Yet this output is such a fundamental first step for EA and TOGAF; defining your application architecture baseline. I know it takes significant effort and ongoing discipline to do this but you really have no choice.

If you want to have traction building your EA practice using TOGAF you need to:
- Have an application inventory ( maintain it, keep it accurate);
- Map your application to your core business functions (business capabilities);
- Maintain a visual diagram (viewpoint) for each business domain (segment).

As hinted earlier you also need to define what an application is. This is getting into the TOGAF ABB and SBB, architecture building blocks and solution building blocks. The applications are your SBB and map to your major business functions (often also called capabilities), these capabilities are your ABB's. Learned from my own experience, my strong advise is to keep the EA view of applications at a logical, not physical level. Physical view of applications is much better managed in a CMDB.

An example would be:
- ABB: Portal Management
- SBB: Sharepoint --> should be in your application portfolio
- CMDB: Sharepoint 2013

Hope to hear your thoughts on this...

Daniel

keywords: enterprise architecture, application portfolio management, architecture building blocks, TOGAF

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