Introduction of the notion
As opposed to other approaches (process design, business analysis, software development…), architecture is about the big picture in the long run. It embraces the entire system, thus focusing on the consistency and quality of the whole rather than the immediate delivery. It avoids efforts being dispersed by local or specific motivations. In doing so, it optimizes the investment by identifying commonalities and reducing redundancy.
In common language, the term “Architecture” covers at least two different meanings: (a) a description of something to be built or already existing and (b) a discipline for designing things to be built. These twin notions – description and discipline – correspond to the classical dichotomy in methodology: what (product) and how (production).
The definition of the term “architecture” is too general to know precisely what activity we are talking about. As a term, it can be applied to construction architecture, enterprise architecture or IT architecture. In addition, with the exception of construction architecture, “architecture” can be used metaphorically. It is for this reason that it is always necessary to specify the application domain of the architecture. In the context of enterprise methodology, this means indicating the aspect where the efforts are focused. This is how we will define enterprise architecture, as the overall design effort of the enterprise, irrespective of aspect. Business Architecture, on the other hand, focuses on business aspects, such as the logical architecture, the technical architecture…concentrating on the corresponding aspect.
Please see the CEISAR-Praxeme Glossary.
Finally, as regards the methodology Praxeme, a specific architecture, as an artifact, is a model which deals with the whole system. In general, it only deals with one aspect of the system, or a selection of aspects that are defined by the Enterprise System Topology.
For more information, please see IEEE 1471 (an IEEE standard for describing the architecture of a software-intensive system).
Discipline that embraces an entire system and focuses on its properties as a whole