30 Key Terms in Enterprise Architecture

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Enterprise Architecture Terminology


Application Portfolio Management/ Application Rationalization

Application rationalization is the practice of strategically managing business applications across an organization to determine which applications should be kept, replaced, retired, or consolidated. The goal is to achieve improvements in costs and business operations.


A set of rules that precisely defines a sequence of operations. Common examples of algorithms include the recipe for baking a cake, the method we used to solve a long division problem, and the functionality of a search engine. In Enterprise Architecture, algorithms automate calculations, answer questions, and generate KPIs to spot business risks and opportunities and do the heavy lifting of both business and technical data analysis.

Visual algorithm composer in ABACUS

Enterprise Architecture Analytics in ABACUS – tailor calculations using no-code algorithms.


An open and independent enterprise architecture modeling language to support the description, analysis, and visualization of architecture within and across business domains. ArchiMate is a technical standard from The Open Group and is partly based on the concepts of the IEEE 1471 standard.

Architecture Repository

The Architecture Repository occupies a central position for capitalizing, reusing, and structuring information. Storing important architectural input and output including standards, references, principles as well as the architectures themselves.

Business Architecture

A description of the structure and interaction between the business strategy, organization, functions, business processes, and information needs.

Business Capability / Business Capability Model

A Business Capability describes what an organization can do to support its goals and execute its strategies. Another way to think about Business Capabilities is that they are a collection of people, processes, and technology interacting with each other for a specific purpose. Business Capabilities may be de-composed into (sub) Capabilities and use other Business Capabilities. E.g., Deliver Physical Products; or Develop Vision and Strategy

 Business Capability Modeling in ABACUS

Business Capability Modeling in ABACUS

Business Process Management (BPM)

BPM is a discipline involving modelling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business activity flows in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries. When integrated, BPM and business architecture can be of mutual benefit to each other.


A catalog allows users to view and edit components or connections and their properties in a tabular form.  Catalogs provide a list of items, typically in alphabetical or systematic order, that help manage elements and data

ABACUS Catalogs

Editable browser-based enterprise architecture repository in ABACUS


A chart is a graphic representation of information or data. Charts often used by enterprise architects include
Line Charts, Column Charts, Bar Charts, Pie Charts, Organization Charts, Gantt Chart, Pareto, Step, Surface, Radar
Components or connections can also be added to the chart.

Bubble Chart, Gantt Chart, Pie Chart and Bar Chart in ABACUS

Dynamic Bubble Chart, Gantt Chart, Pie Chart and Bar Charts for communicating enterprise architecture 


Represent the entities of your architecture which can be described as “things”. For example, in an insurance company, the components might be the systems for processing policies, claims, payments, and receipts.


Represent the relationships between components. For example, in an insurance company, receipts are generated for valid policies, claims are made against valid policies, and valid claims result in payments. When thinking architecturally, particularly when using ABACUS, connections are as important as components.


A set of rules which are defined on Types (Component Types and Connection Types). The rules are applied during modeling. Constraints can apply to hierarchy (Parent-Child) or connectivity (Having a Connection).

Data-Driven Enterprise

A data-driven enterprise is an organization that has integrated data analysis into the core of its business processes. It uses the insights it derives from this data to transform its business processes.

Diagram (Enterprise Architecture)

A diagram is used to visually represent your architecture’s data. E.g., Displaying processes in a Business Capability diagram.

Application Interface Diagram in ABACUS

Application Interface Diagram in ABACUS

Digital Transformation

The process of using digital technologies to create or change business processes and architectures, culture, and customer experiences.

Digital Twin

A digital twin is the digital avatar of a physical asset or environment. Digital twins can be used to test strategies, forecast scenarios and rework systems and processes.

Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture is the process by which organizations standardize and organize IT infrastructure to align with business goals. It is a conceptual blueprint that defines the structure and operation of an organization. The intent of enterprise architecture is to determine how an organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives. It is also a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation.

Enterprise Graph / Knowledge Graph

Graph databases are ideal for capturing and navigating the complex data and relationships in large organizations and are becoming popular with enterprise architects and data managers. They are also used for social networks, recommendation engines, fraud detection, inventory management, and many other modern systems. Rather than using rigid tables to collect and structure information, a graph database structures data as objects with direct relationships to other objects. Graph databases are based on graph theory. Objects are known as nodes and relationships to other objects are known as edges. Any of the nodes or edges captured in a graph database can have a list of properties which are unique. Graph databases offer ease-of-use and future-proof an enterprise architecture program, allowing EAs to restructure and update data and to adopt and adjust frameworks.

Dynamic Visualizations in ABACUS - Graph View

Dynamic Graph View visualization of a graph database in ABACUS browser-based dashboard

Framework (Enterprise Architecture)

A structure for content or process that can be used as a tool to structure thinking, ensuring consistency and completeness. Frameworks provide a set of assets and templates which allow architects to get started quickly. Popular enterprise architecture frameworks include TOGAF, ArchiMate and BIAN. Business strategy frameworks include PESTLE and Business Model Canvas. Cybersecurity frameworks include SABSA and NIST.

Blog: How to Choose an Enterprise Architecture Framework

Gap (Gap Analysis)

A statement of difference between two states. Using gap analysis to compare the current / baseline state and target state, organizations can identify what is needed to achieve their business goals.


This is a concept of organizing Types (Component and Connections). Grouping is defined in the Metamodel and used during the creation of an architecture. A Grouping is simply a collection ‘folder’ for hierarchical modeling convenience.

Information Architecture

Information architecture (IA) is the science of organizing and structuring and labelling content to make it understandable and useful.


The entire duration of something from the idea conception, through to the development, testing, deployment, support and ultimately retirement of an asset. Stages of an IT asset’s lifecycle might include planning, procurement, testing, deployment, usage, upgrade, decommission. In ABACUS, data on hardware and software lifecycles, vendor, versioning and end-of-life dates is often kept up-to-date automatically using an integration with Technopedia.


A model that describes ‘how’, and with what the architecture will be described in a structured way. The definition in TOGAF is helpful: “Metamodeling is the analysis, construction and development of the frames, rules, constraints, models, and theories applicable and useful for modeling a predefined class of problems.”

Modeling (Enterprise Architecture)

Enterprise architecture models capture how the organization creates and delivers value, across the layers of people, processes and technology. Models represent the business in a form that enables data-driven reasoning, insight, and clarity concerning the current and future state of the business.

Repository (Enterprise Architecture)

The repository is a store of architectural data, in a relational database or graph database. ABACUS uses a graph database. In addition, diagrams are stored as data not images in the repository which means that changes to the repository automatically flow through, ensuring diagrams and dashboards stay updated and consistent.

Roadmap (Enterprise Architecture)

Charting the course from a current state to a future or target state the business is aiming to achieve is a process called “roadmapping”. The most effective roadmaps consider the multiple ways of completing the journey, and assess which are best in order to navigate with confidence towards the desired business endpoint.

Roadmapping Enterprise Architecture in ABACUS

Dynamic Gantt Chart Enterprise Architecture Roadmap in ABACUS

Solution Architecture

A description of a discrete and focused business operation or activity and how it supports that enterprise. Solution Architecture typically applies to a single project or project release, assisting in the translation of requirements into a solution vision, high-level business and/or IT system specifications, and a portfolio of implementation tasks.

Technical Debt

Technical debt (also known as design debt or code debt) is a concept in software development that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution “now” instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework)

TOGAF is the most popular enterprise architecture framework. It provides an approach for designing, planning, implementing, and governing an enterprise information technology architecture.

Viewpoint (Enterprise Architecture)

A specification of the conventions for a particular architecture view. An architecture viewpoint can also be seen as the definition or schema for that kind of architecture view. It establishes the conventions for constructing, interpreting, and using an architecture view to address a specific concern (or set of concerns) about a system-of-interest. The term “viewpoint” is sometimes used as a synonym for “architecture viewpoint”.

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