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enterprise architecture
Brian H. Cameron Pennsylvania State University
Executive Director, Center for Enterprise Architecture
College of Information Sciences and Technology



Although there are a number of ways to define Enterprise Architecture (EA), the benefits that a successful EA implementation can bring to a company are undeniable. In order to be successful and make proper decisions, organizations need to have access to accurate information and the ability to communicate these elements throughout the enterprise. Enterprise Architecture is the mechanism that allows organizations to achieve this. By enabling high-quality and reliable information, Enterprise Architecture allows organizations to respond to business needs and change more efficiently. By the same notion, this communication allows for a business to plan across its various divisions (most of the time between the IT division and business division). This allows for business stakeholders to understand the impact of complex IT projects on the business and what benefits will be realized. Also, Enterprise Architecture will allow for the standardization of terms for this collaboration between business and IT. By being able to provide a common language in which business and IT can communicate, EA allows for two different, yet influential divisions to work together. 
    Historically, the benefits of EA have been seen in the IT field. This is due to its technical origins. With this, EA has been associated primarily with efficiency in the sense of cost reduction. As EA has evolved into a business process, the expectations of EA have evolved as well.
    The following list of topics is organized into the various fundamentals of Enterprise Architecture. Each section is prefaced with a basic description as well as the purpose of each topic.