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What Is an Enterprise Architecture Roadmap?

by Zak Cole       • April 30, 2020

Having an enterprise architecture roadmap is essential in modern business. Without it, understanding the current and desired future state can be difficult.

An enterprise architecture roadmap does not have to be in contrast with efforts to promote an agile enterprise architecture. The focus of innovation and agile EA is to increase the agility of the business for digital transformation.

So it’s essential that an organization understands where it will be at any given period of time, so it’s better prepared to deal with disruption.

To keep pace with the speed of innovation and time to market, organizations need the ability to change quickly – and enterprise architecture roadmaps are a critical tool to view how complex or what the impact of the change is or will be.

Roadmaps in Enterprise Architecture

The idea of a roadmap isn’t exclusive to EA, and enterprise architects are far from the first to adopt them.

That said, the nature of roadmaps significantly compliment the way we articulate an organization’s EA. That’s because EA concepts provide a blueprint of the organization, and many aspects of these concepts can be described with a time dimension.

The time dimension can be used to either display a milestone date at which something is expected to happen, or a date range within which something will take place.

Roadmaps as “Views”

In EA, “views” refer to the different ways to represent an enterprise architecture, while keeping a consistent underlying model – similar to how one might represent the data from an excel table using a pie chart, bar chart or line graph.

The representations can offer different perspectives and/or insight that different parties may find of interest.

This enables enterprise architects to represent the information related to the enterprise architecture, according to stakeholder needs.

So just like a diagram is one view of an architecture model, so is a roadmap – offering a time-based perspective.

A roadmap is usually defined as a view for a specific time period (e.g., one year or the next three months).

Roadmaps may be dynamic and reflect the state of the concept at any moment in time in real-time, or they may be static and show how a set of concepts looked at any moment in time.

Many concepts can have multiple time attributes that represent different time properties.

In enterprise architecture, an application component may have a set of lifecycle times that are associated with it such as ’live’ or ‘sunset.’

Time attributes may simply be a single date such as a milestone or be a time period between two dates.

A roadmap view can consist of lanes. The lanes will show any theme or category for a set of concepts. A roadmap may be divided up to show different types of concepts on one roadmap.

For example, it may be useful to show work package duration and the anticipated idea implementation dates so we can see if our plans are on track.

Time usually flows from left to right on a roadmap diagram.

Example of an Enterprise Architecture Roadmap

The image below is an example showing different time properties for application components.

Enterprise Architecture Roadmap Views

As we can see, we have two lanes, live and sunset. These are themes that we may well be interested in.

We are showing on a single roadmap view both application components (CRM, SafeLogistics, SurveyTool) and a business capability (IT Offshoring).

We can show application components with the live date attribute in the live lane.

We can also view the business capability but with a sunset time period. The time period is between two dates.

In this example, we can see how a roadmap can be used to demonstrate date ranges.

The roadmap is an indication that it takes a much longer time to phase out a business capability. The time it takes to phase out a business capability is important to understand for a number of reasons.

For example, it might be important to know which resources and how many (if any) will be tied up during the process. What has to happen to the current enterprise architecture in order for said capability to be phased out efficiently?

“What-If” and Future Scenarios

Roadmaps provide a time-based view of a model. A time-based view of your concepts is essential for ‘what if’ analysis and planning future scenarios.

In different scenarios, the same set of concepts may have a different time visualization based on different time attributes.

Many organizations will have the concept of a lifecycle. It’s important for companies to adopt a set of lifecycle states that have the same meaning across their stakeholders. For example, sunset or end of life but not both.

As roadmaps are always subject to change and are extremely volatile, then roadmap views should be generated automatically from the model. There should be little reason to create roadmaps without a model. They become extremely difficult to maintain and view in different ways later on.

Organizations using erwin Evolve can take advantage of enterprise architecture roadmaps and views in a collaborative enabling, user friendly tool.

You can even try erwin Evolve for yourself and keep any content you produce should you decide to buy.

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