Enterprise Government needs to develop an overall architecture

Enterprise
Architecture

“Enterprise
architectures and integration are vital tasks for the public and private
sectors. Government needs to develop an overall architecture that captures the
activities of people, processes and technologies and specifies how all these
activities work with each other in a smooth and integrated manner. To succeed,
the architecture must be based on a strategic plan and explore a large number
of people, process and technology issues and eliminate surprises.

Modern
enterprises in the public as well as private sector represent networks of
autonomous firms cooperating with each other to achieve common business goals.
In such climate so as to survive and thrive in the rapidly changing environment,
a firm’s supply, production, logistics and distribution networks need to be
architected in an integrated and flexible fashion to quickly respond to
fluctuating market conditions and frequent mergers, acquisitions, and
outsourcing operations. The three essential components of an enterprise are Business
strategies, applications, and IT infrastructure.

For
example, when a manufacturing company acquires multiple other companies with
widely varying systems based on different technologies of different vintages,
an enterprise wide architecture is needed that makes the acquired and the
existing systems work smoothly with each other.

An
integrated enterprise architecture (IEA) is a key tool for competitive
advantage because it smoothly inter-weaves the IT operations with the organizational
business strategy that can be of great value to the corporate management.

·        
An enterprise
architecture (EA) shows components of an enterprise, what do they do, and how
do they interface/interact with each other

·        
An EA can
clarify and help optimize the interdependencies and relationship among an
organization’s business operations and the underlying IT infrastructure and
applications that support these operations

IEA promises many benefits like identifying what resources exist;
improving integration among resources; facilitating business process
improvement, and creating speed and efficiency in meeting changing business
needs through IT.

To survive in the fiercely competitive market,
several companies have embarked on streamlining initiatives to cut product
development time and to reduce product delivery time. To achieve this,
enterprise-wide integrated systems such as the following are needed:

·        
Procurement systems
that link order processing with payment, inventory management and shipping

·        
Manufacturing
systems that link suppliers, designers, product managers, and production
planners in a uniform manner.

·        
Customer support
systems that link customer service with customer relationship management,
marketing and sales.

·        
Health
information networks that link various hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and
health insurance providers

·        
Supply chain
management systems that link several suppliers with the material requirement
planning (MRP) systems of consumers

Enterprise Integration

For enterprise integration, the goal is to
provide standardized high-quality customer service across the entire firm’s
service channels. Multi-channel integration is critical because customers
expect consistent service when they interact with a company, no matter which
channel they use.

The enterprise building blocks consist of
business processes needed for the business, enterprise applications that
automate the business processes, computing platforms and middleware services
that support the applications, and the network services that interconnect the
various platforms in an enterprise. However, enterprise application integration
(EAI) receives most of the attention due to the following main reasons:

·        
Lack of
integration between enterprise applications is very visible to the customers
and business partners.

For example, if an order processing system is not
integrated with a payment system, then the customer has to place an order on
one system and then go back and pay by using a totally different system –
possibly having to re-enter all information again.

·        
Many of the
enterprise applications can be “legacy” applications that are old,
unstructured, and monolithic. If
possible, the IT management would like to keep the legacy systems intact
because they provide vital services (e.g., billing) that are very risky to
disrupt. However, something must be done about these systems because these
systems are inflexible and are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain
especially in the modern enterprise scenarios.

The building blocks are represented as horizontal
layers – higher level layers are more business oriented and lower level layers
are more technology oriented. Business architecture represents the architecture
at business process layer, enterprise application architecture represents
architecture at application layer, etc.

·        
Vertical
integrations – Business
architecture that is integrated with technology architecture (enterprise
applications, platforms and networks) of a company or a division of a company.
It combines business, applications and IT infrastructure components into a
solution for a particular situation.

An example of vertical integration is a supply
chain management ERP system that automates all supply chain processes and
operates on Linux platforms.

·        
Horizontal
integrations – Processes and
technologies at the same layer are integrated.

For example, the integration of business
processes in sales with business processes in supply chain represent a
horizontal integration at business process level.

Another example, smooth
transition between wired and wireless networks (e.g., roaming support between a
cellular phone, a Wi-Fi LAN and a wired corporate Intranet) represents a
horizontal network integration.

·        
Mixtures
– Integrated architecture that is
a combination of vertical architectures that interconnect different layers as
well as the horizontal architectures at the same layers of an enterprise.

For example, in many practical
cases, mergers and acquisitions lead to these integration scenarios because
many organizations have vertically integrated systems but when two or more
organizations merge, multiple vertical architectures need to be integrated
horizontally.

 

Methodology

The enterprise focus is on two stages:

·        
Enterprise
modeling stage starts with a quick
business opportunity analysis and captures the needed enterprise information

·        
Application
planning develops a strategy to
automate the business processes.

Enterprise Modeling:

The objective is to create a model of the company to capture essential
information such as company type, company size, workgroups (WGs) such as
departments, company sites, and allocation of WGs to sites. The most important
part of the enterprise model is to capture the key business services (BSs) and
business processes (BPs). Some services are provided to the customers (B2C),
some to other businesses (B2B) and some to the employees (B2E).

After
identifying the needed business services, the management needs to make the
following decisions:

·        
Decide which
business services/processes take place at each location.

·        
Include business
outsourcing, i.e., determine which BSs/BPs take place at the outsourced sites.

·        
Assign employees
to sites. The number of employees at each site helps determine the type and
“intensity” of work performed at each site.

Application Planning

The objective of this stage is to identify the
applications A1, A2… And that are needed to automate the business processes
BP1… BPn identified in enterprise modeling. To identify the complete set of
business processes (BPs), the following approach may be used:

 

·        
List all BPs
that support the B2C, B2B, B2E, and other business interactions

·        
Keep the focus
at enterprise level activities that are vital to the business. Consulting firms
use “Heat Maps” to identify vital services. Heat maps are based on the Critical
Success Factors methodology. CSF instructs the managers to focus on those processes
that are critical to the success of the business

·        
Reduce
duplication by clustering similar BPs into one. For example, if the same BP is
used for customers as well as business partners, then it is better to cluster
the two BPs into one.

·        
It is highly
desirable to question, eliminate, and restructure business processes/services
to improve organizational efficiency. This is the main idea of business process
re-engineering.

In reality, one or many applications may be
needed to support a given business process. For example, a customer information
system may support many business processes such as purchasing, marketing, and
payment. Similarly, purchasing business process needs support of many
applications such as order processing, inventory management,
shipping/receiving, and payment packages.

 

Once the key applications have been identified,
the next main activity is to develop an automation strategy with different
options of buy, rent, outsource develop in-house, or extend-re-use (BRODE). For
example, it is important to select the COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf)
application packages that can be bought and identify application service
providers (e.g., Corio and SAP) for rental and outsourcing. Finally, it is
highly desirable to sketch an SOA
(Service Oriented Architecture) –
based architecture. These decisions can be made by using the following steps:

1.      
For each BP,
identify which ones will be done manually and which ones will be automated. In
addition, for the automated BPs, determine an automation strategy (buy,
outsource development, in-house development, or reuse).

2.      
For each option,
explore the commercially available solutions (e.g. for buying, investigate and
select the inventory management application packages available in the
marketplace).

3.      
Develop sketch
of an SOA-based application architecture.

 

For example, an organization will buy CRM
(Customer Relationship Management) and MRP (Materials Requirement Planning)
software packages, rent a finance and accounting system, develop its own
wireless messaging system for furniture tracking through a software development
house. The application plan is based on SOA principles, i.e., all applications
are treated as business components that communicate with each other through an
Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

 

IT
infrastructure (platform)
planning is concerned with determining the most appropriate technologies needed
to enable the enterprise applications needed by the company. Examples of
such enabling technologies are the Web technologies (including Web 2.0 and Web
Services) used in corporate intranets, computing platforms on which the
applications will reside, wireless and wired networks which connect all the
computing platforms in an Intranet, and “Extranets” which connect many
businesses for B2B trade.

 

Network
planning develops a network
configuration that interconnects the computing platforms by using wireless as
well as wired network elements. Network planning involves three major tasks:

1.      
Determine the
workload at each site based on the work activities at each site.

2.      
Develop a
network configuration and estimate the bandwidth needed by using queuing
network models.

3.      
Develop
the type of connections and the commercially available network solutions needed.

 

The main objective of integrated architecture planning
is to assure that all pieces fit together to form a working solution within the
performance, security, and cost constraints.”

 

 

Submitted by:

 

Ismail Ali (03)

Avin Gupta (19)

Arushi Joshi (27)

Gourav Nandy (44)

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Neha Singh (59)