Enterprise vs. Systems Architecture

This article describes the differences between enterprise and systems architecture.

Enterprise vs. Systems Architecture: A Description

By: Kevin Rio

Krio Media, LLC


The primary purpose of enterprise architecture is to align the implementation of technology to the company’s business strategy (Chorafas, 2002). Effective enterprise architecture manages areas of business, such as research and development, production, delivery, and developing workstations that have multiple functions and can utilize differing platforms and server protocols. Solutions should lower costs in specific business areas, such as production and distribution while increasing product reliability and service dependability. The enterprise architecture should ensure that work is being assigned to individuals based on specific criteria and that the system is communicating properly with on-line users and meeting sound systems practices, such as security measures. The enterprise architecture must be able to meet the needs of an ever changing economy by allowing for future updates and growth.

The purpose of systems architecture differs in that it does not directly attempt to improve the business strategy. Instead its purpose is to provide a basis for planning, provide direction in terms of computing systems and communication environments, provide seamless integration between software and hardware, and ensure that technological integration will be made in such a way as not to interrupt how individuals work and how machines operate (Chorafas, 2004). A machines operation speed and its capabilities are all concentrations of systems architecture. Individuals should be able to operate technology in a consistent manner and have all the necessary components readily available. An important goal of systems architecture is to enable users to be more productive and work more quickly. Improving system efficiency and reducing a company’s information technology costs are a main systems architecture concern along with the business functions that technology must support, such as software, networks, and computer stations (Chorafas, 2004).

The difference between these the two types of technological integrations is sometimes hard to see. One important difference is that enterprise architecture focuses directly on meeting the needs of business functions and allowing for future improvements. On the other hand, systems architecture somewhat ignores business integration and concentrates on the needs of the user and how to improve user experiences with technology. The concentration of enterprise architecture is areas such as transaction processing and statistics reporting while systems architecture will concentrate on creating easy to navigate user interfaces and improving network communication speed. Solving technical issues through layered architectural methods is a key component of systems architecture, while improving business operations is important in enterprise architecture (Chorafas, 2004).

Systems architecture lays the blueprints for all future IT implementations. One main purpose of systems architecture is to arrange units so that the most utility can be gained from the system. The systems architecture lays a framework that sets guidelines and rules for future applications and upgrades. This plays a key role in future expansions where it is imperative that components be added or upgraded. It is essential that architects do not limit the architecture to the extent that future upgrades are not possible. Through the implementations of an enterprise strategy in systems architecture, business activities are streamlined and redundancies are reduced. Focusing on how data and the business processes interact with each other must be at the forefront of the architects mind when blending systems and enterprise architecture. Another advantage of adopting systems architecture to improve IT services is that complexity will be reduced due to redundancy being eliminated, allowing systems to work more efficiently. Strong systems architecture implementation allows for integration between a large number of users. This compatibility allows for better communication between users.

Enterprise architecture describes the benefits and other influences that technology will have on a business. It describes the interrelationships between many of the core components of a business, such as managers, stakeholders, and networks, among other things.  Enterprise technology takes into account the entire organization. An effective form of enterprise architecture allows a business to quickly respond to changes and allows for smooth transitions that the changes require.

Many individuals have different meanings for the title enterprise architect.  On one extreme, the enterprise architect is one who takes business goals and attempts to implement procedures to meet those goals. In this case, the individual does not necessary use technology unless it is essential. On the other hand, an enterprise architect is someone who attempts to minimize costs and makes information technology services more efficient. Essentially, the most agreed upon role for an enterprise architect is someone who attempts to align both business and information technology.

Chorafas, D. (2002). Enterprise Architecture and New Generation Information Systems. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC.

McGovern, J., Ambler, S., Stevens, M., Linn, J.,Sharan, V., & Jo, E. (2004). A Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc..

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