The Enterprise Continuum and Your Organization

Introduction    Relationships    Your Organization


The preceding sections have described both the Architecture Continuum and the Solutions Continuum. As explained at the beginning of this chapter, the combination of these two complementary concepts constitutes the "Enterprise Continuum", illustrated in Figure 4.

enterprise architecture continuum

Figure 4: The Enterprise Continuum


The relationship between the Architecture Continuum and the Solutions Continuum is one of guidance, direction, and support.

For example, the Foundation Architecture supports the creation or selection of products and services, besides supporting the Common Systems Architectures within the Enterprise Continuum. It also guides development, by providing descriptions of required functions to build open computing systems, and the rationale for those functions. A similar relationship exists between the other elements of the Enterprise Continuum.

The Enterprise Continuum presents mechanisms to help improve productivity through leverage. The Solutions Continuum offers a consistent way to understand the different products, systems, services, and solutions required. The Architecture Continuum offers a consistent way to understand the different architectures and their components.

The Enterprise Continuum should not be interpreted as representing strictly chained relationships. Organization Architectures could have components from a Common Systems Architecture, and Organization Solutions could contain a product or service. The relationships depicted in Figure 2-4 are a best case for the ideal leveraging of architecture and solution components.

Finally, it is worth emphasizing that the beginning and the end of the Enterprise Continuum lies in a Foundation Architecture, which serves as a tool chest or repository of reusable guidelines and standards. For The Open Group, this  Foundation Architecture is The Open Group's own TOGAF Technical Reference Model and Standards Information Base.

Your Organization

TOGAF provides a method for you to "architect" the IT systems in your organization. Your architecture organization will have to deal with each type of architecture described above. For example it is recommended that you have you own foundational architecture that governs all your IT systems. You should also have your own common systems architectures that govern major shared infrastructure systems - such as the networking system or management system. You may have your own industry-specific architectures that govern the way your IT systems must behave within you industry. Finally any given department or organization within your business may need its own individual architecture to govern the IT Systems within that department. All in all this implies that your architecture organization is responsible for maintaining your business' Architecture Continuum.

Your architecture organization will either adopt or adapt existing architectures, or will develop your own architectures from ground up. In either case TOGAF represents a tool to help. It provides a method to assist you in generating/maintaining any type of architecture within the architecture continuum while leveraging architecture assets already defined, internal or external to your organization. The TOGAF architecture development method helps you re-use architecture assets, making your architecture organization more efficient and effective.

Copyright The Open Group, 1998, 1999, 2000