Enterprise Architecture vs. Solution Architecture

We are a group of Enterprise and Solution Architects. Hence, we have experience working with various organizations to solve their Enterprise and Solution Architecture needs. The topic we want to discuss here is the one that people commonly ask us. We witness confusion from both the organizations' and the practitioners' side, so it is worth clarifying the confusion for all.

Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture is a high-level, almost abstract decision-making framework. This discipline strives to collect the knowledge about an enterprise, analyze it, and feed the insights into the decision-making process. Since the insights and analysis stay at a high level, people often see EA as a toolset that mainly helps executives and senior leadership of organizations undergo digital transformation. Another common approach is to view EA as a CIO tool or an IT architecture blueprint.

In practice, if you want to understand what Enterprise Architecture is, we recommend looking through some of the EA frameworks such as TOGAF or Zachman. After you wet your feet into this area, you will find nothing complicated about it. Besides, we believe that the Enterprise Architecture could benefit from some simplification. For this reason, we try to provide educational materials related to EA systematically. We are also building Archipeg - an EA SaaS.

For more information on what the EA is, you can also refer to our recent post on this topic.

Solution Architecture

Solution Architecture (SA) sits between the Enterprise and Application Architectures, and thus it has medium-level abstractions and technicalities in it. SA intends to answer specific problem space implementation, hosting, deployments, and connecting various solutions.

In a way, you can think of an SA as one constituent of an EA. For example, recall that the TOGAF covers business, data, application, and technology architecture domains. In that case, the Solution Architecture will correspond to the application architecture within the TOGAF EA landscape.

Suppose you want to improve your proficiency in Solution Architecture. In that case, we recommend learning modern high-level technical concepts such as cloud, AI, ML, or other trends that help solve business problems using technology.

In our minds, practicing EA without SA or another way around does not deliver much value for organizations. That is why we are thinking of combining the power of the two disciplines in our work.

The Partnership

As we outlined above, Enterprise and Solution Architecture fields are closely related to each other. Furthermore, we think that it is best to combine the power of these areas of work. What does it mean for the practitioners of the EA or SA?

Every great enterprise stands on a foundation of teamwork and cooperation between talented individuals. Hence, it is not a surprise that we recommend establishing a partnership between Enterprise and Solution Architects to maximize the respective and overall benefits.

Enterprise Architects help solve high-level, abstract problems, and they can partner with Solution Architects to turn the abstract vision into technical strategies. This cooperation and integrity are what we think can make a difference, and this is where we concentrate.

We are building Archipeg - a cloud-based Enterprise Architecture SaaS that delivers both the EA and SA's power. We know this is the right thing to do, and we are excited about the future!