30 Key Terms in Enterprise Architecture

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Enterprise Architecture Terminology

In modern businesses, enterprise architecture terminology and technology terminology is becoming the language of progress. Terms like “business capabilities”,  “future state”, “architecture roadmap” and “cloud architecture design” are can be heard in the boardroom, among the transformation teams, as well as among IT and architecture professionals

What is Application Portfolio Management?

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.

What is ArchiMate?

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.

What is an Architecture Repository?

The Architecture 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 still images in the repository. This means that any changes to the diagram components automatically flow through, ensuring data and dashboards stay updated and consistent.

The 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.

What is Business Architecture

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

What is a 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

How to Create a Business Capability Map 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.

What is an Architecture Catalog?

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

Enterprise architecture terminology ABACUS Catalogs

Editable browser-based enterprise architecture repository in ABACUS

Cloud Architectures

Cloud architecture refers to the way components like hardware, software, and networking resources are configured and interact within a cloud environment. They can be described using cloud architecture diagrams, which capture how information technology services are delivered and managed in the cloud, ensuring efficiency, scalability, and security.

Enterprise Architecture Charts

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 

Enterprise Architecture Components

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.

Enterprise Architecture Connections

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.

Enterprise Architecture Constraints

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 Architecture

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.

Enterprise Architecture Diagrams

An enterprise architecture 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.

What is 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 also provides a well-defined practice for bringing together enterprise strategy, design, analysis, planning, and implementation.

What is an 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

What are Enterprise Architecture Frameworks?

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 Analysis and Scenario Analysis

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

Architecture Groupings

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.

Architecture Lifecycles

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.

What is a Metamodel?

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.”

Enterprise Architecture Modeling

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.

Enterprise Architecture Roadmap

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.

Gantt Chart for Enterprise Architecture Roadmapping 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 set 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.

What is 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.

Enterprise Architecture Viewpoints

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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