Enterprise Architecture Can Deliver a Foundation for Execution

Jeanne Ross and and Peter Weill describe enterprise architecture as “The organizing logic for business processes and IT infrastructure reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of the company’s operating model”. (2006) Enterprise architecture is level of thinking where business processes are examined and treated on a higher level than a specific instance or event. EA is one of the three key disciplines of building a foundation for execution. (2006) A foundation for execution is a carefully selected set of tasks that an organization decides it must do well. It has to be a very lean list, because with more tasks, the ability to do each well diminishes. A foundation for execution is the automation and digitizing of core capabilities. (Ross 2006)

Even though EA and an operating model are described as key disciplines needed to build a foundation for execution, EA needs a solid operating model to be built upon.

An operating model is single description an organization must choose to describe how it operates. However, the model has four operating models that place a business with respect to two spectrums. One spectrum is integration, or how much is information shared, and the other spectrum is standardization or how similarly processes are performed across the business or business unit. It may seem businesses would want to strive toward unification. Unification seems the most orderly and organized. However, all four operating models have an important place. Certain business types are typically well-suited for particular operating models. This gives credence to the concept of the operating model.

EA is a valuable and one of three essential components needed to build a foundation for execution. It provides a long-term view of an organization’s processes that can encourage IT projects that support the entire business rather than going down specific rabbit holes.


Ross, Jeanne W., and Peter Weill. Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. 1-55.


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