Introduction to the notion
As with any construction, the enterprise must be described, whether our interest is in its current or future state.
A first-level description gathers the important decisions that structure the enterprise and preside over its transformation.
The General Architecture Dossier (GAD) aims to provide the enterprise architecture, that is to say a coherent set of decisions enabling the enterprise to transform.
The term “architecture” is taken here in the meaning of overall design: the enterprise is taken in its entirety and the best way of structuring it is determined. The architecture is described as “general” in so far as it covers all aspects of the enterprise. This holistic approach extends the development of the strategy. It seeks to bring coherence to the different points of view and to consider the transformation opportunities, in all dimensions of the enterprise.
The GAD details the enterprise vision:
- First, it examines the factors that determine the enterprise and its future. Most often, it starts with strategic directions, whether they have been formalized or simply stated. In response to these factors, it fixes the measures to consolidate or transform the enterprise, in all its aspects.
- The vocation of this document is to articulate the elements of the vision in a coherent whole, which will be able to guide the investments throughout the transformation approach.
- If the enterprise architect writes the GAD and is responsible for its administration and application, it falls to general management to validate it and sign off on each of the chosen options.
The term “dossier” indicates:
- the uniqueness of the document for the object being studied (the enterprise, the system in its entirety);
- the reference function (any work on the system, for example at a project level, refers to this unique document which has been validated by the management team);
- the possibility for development (there can be several versions of the document but only one version is applicable at any given time).
The name “enterprise architecture dossier” would better suit and express the objective. However, the connotations attached to “enterprise architecture” and the reducing of its discipline to its mainly IT aspect has led us to seek another expression.