All organizations have an architecture otherwise they wouldn’t exist or be able to do their business. When Enterprise Architecture tools are applied to an organization then the organization can experience three levels of maturity in their organization. The first level is called the articulated architecture. In this particular level of maturity then the organization has discovered that the tools can be used to enable a greater level of IT and business alignment. If the organization progresses with the coherency projects it has initiated then the organization will eventually reach the extended architecture.
The organization has to articulate their architecture so they can become aware of how the organization is constructed (processes, knowledge, information, technology and people). This will lead to that management is able to take better decisions so the company can progress:
The foundation architecture is characterized by that Enterprise Architecture tools have been applied which has uncovered processes both within IT and the business which can be managed by using an EA framework. The foundation architecture is usually under control of the CIO in the organization. This means that the project is largely IT related. The foundation architecture is superior to the un- articulated architecture since it can assist the management in the organization realize that the enterprise architecture can be used strategically.
The extended architecture is defined by that the architecture is build upon the idea that the organization has realized that Enterprise Architecture tools can be used to understand processes and alter improve the outcome of the processes by using Enterprise Architecture tools. The primary difference between the extended architecture and the before mentioned foundation architecture is that the business side of the organization has discovered that the tools can be used to obtain superior results. Doucet et al (2009) describes this as a situation which means that:
The management of the business side of the organization make use of EA to rethink the processes (obliteration).
The Human Resources department makes use of EA tools to describe what particular needs the organization needs and what courses the current members of the organization needs to be qualified to use the tools.
The business line managers conceptualize ideas by using the EA tools.
The IT department make use of EA tools to identify and support the core processes of the organization.
But as before mentioned the primary reason between the foundation architecture and the extended architecture is that the business side has adopted the tools and the EA paradigm to develop the organization.
The embedded architecture is the evaluation of the extended architecture which means that the organization has adapted processes which adds to the architecture and in that way aid the architecture. Never the less when a lot of changes are implemented over time then there is a need for a framework which evaluates and implement the various changes to the architecture.
This means that the embedded architecture becomes ubiquitous in the way that the strategy and the processes enforces the strategy.
It is worth to mention that the organization is beyond the agenda setting, matching, redefining / restructuring and clarifying phases. The organization has or is close to be through the routinization phase which means that all employees in the organization understands the innovation is relates to it when they work.
* Gary Doucet et al., Coherency Management: Architecting the Enterprise for Alignment, Agility and Assurance (International Enterprise Architecture Institute, 2009).