The Enterprise Continuum

The Enterprise Continuum as related to TOGAF is used to describe how generic solutions can be specalised and leveraged in order to support the individual requirements of an organisation. Specifically the Enterprise Continuum sets the broader context for an architect.

Think of the Enterprise Continuum as a virtual repository of all the assets that make up the architecture; for example:

  • Patterns
  • Architecture descriptions
  • Models

The Enterprise Continuum is also able to aid communication as it provides a consistent language with which to categorise and classify artifacts.

The Enterprise Continuum consists of two core concepts:

  1. Solutions Continuum
  2. Architecture Continuum

Solutions Continuum
The Solutions Continuum provides a way to consistently understand and describe the implementation of the assets which are defined within the Architecture Continuum. The Solutions Continuum also defines the Solution Building Blocks (SBBs) that are able to be reused within the organisational environment.

Architecture Continuum
The Architecture Continuum provides a way to consistently understand and refine the generic representations, rules and relationships within the Architecture. This representation includes the derivation and trace-ability relationships.

How can Enterprise Architecture benefit businesses?

There are many ways that Enterprise Architecture can benefit organisations – some of these are:

  • Helping a business or organisation achieve its business strategy
  • Allow new capabilities or innovations to get to market faster
  • A more consistent and streamlined business process with better information across organisational units
  • Better security and reliability
  • Less risk
  • Streamlining IT and business operations
  • Reduced risk in terms of future investment and a better return for existing investments
  • Easier and more streamlined procurement at reduced cost

Describe an Enterprise

Think of an Enterprise in the terms of Architecture as a set of business or organisations that share a set of common goals. Examples of an Enterprise may be:

  • A large multinational company that spans multiple countries
  • A single company or corporation
  • A subset or part of a company or corporation

It is important to understand that a large company or corporation may consist of multiple enterprises. An enterprise may even extend out to other businesses such as a companies customers, suppliers and any other business partners.

Essentially, an Enterprise in terms of Architecture can be summarised as a set of entities that are working together to reach a common goal.