EAA Views – Portfolio and Platform

As has been stated by EAdirections and others, Enteprise Application Architecture (EAA) is generally the second area of EA to mature, following the Enterprise Technology Architecture.  As the infrastructure is standardized, the EA team looks to the consumers of that infrastructure to take advantage of the standardization – the business systems.

As organizations begin to address the EAA, they generally take two paths to maturity.  One addresses managing the complexity of the application portfolio, called the Portfolio View.  The other addresses managing the complexity of application Integration, which is called the Platform View.

Getting started with the Portfolio View involves a focus on identifying the gaps, weaknesses and overlaps in the set of applications the enterprise is currently operating, building and planning.  OurJump Startmatrices are one vehicle that you can use to help in this analysis.  Another early activity that we recommend is a quick “Business Fit Vs. Technical Fit” categorization of the current portfolio.  Going further than the current state assessment into gap analysis and roadmapping will require some basis for identifying future state aspects of the application portfolio.  We recommend Strategic Capabilities Changes analysis.

Getting started with the Platform View involves designing standard integration methods and configurations of technology components to provide standard service capabilities (security, user interface, data interchange, directory, collaboration, etc.) to applications of similar technical types (packaged, BI, publishing, etc.).  Common steps to develop the platforms:

  • Identify the needed platforms and capabilities
  • Identify the needed services per platform
  • Identify existing service providers –Including duplicates
  • Declare standard (and alternate) service providers.  Use cases help when more than one alternative is available.
  • Bundle services into Platform Configuration Document
  • Identify missing services (no current provider)
  • Identify candidate (and dependent) efforts to build platform service

One of the common practices among organizations maturing their EAA is collaboration between the EAA working group and the members of the ETA working group in the definition of platforms and platform services.