Enterprise Architecture

Strategic Value

Enterprise Architecture is a strategic capability driven by principles that provides the University of Michigan with a common vision for information technology initiatives, trends and direction across all of its various communities.

Since Michigan has a decentralized ecosystem—

  • Architecture must guide rather than dictate.
    Departments are free to implement technology how they see fit. The architecture process must bring intrinsic value to projects and be accepted on its own merits.
  • Architecture must foster innovation.
    Departments need to provide mission-differentiated services, and the EA philosophy and processes must be defined in a way that does not constrict creativity, elegance, or specific-use.


Mission — Technology solves one or more mission needs

Description Value
  • In addition to ensuring that the design meets the explicit mission and business needs of the project, it also considers implicit operational needs such as support, training, information assurance, business continuity, expected lifecycle, and financial model.
  • This requires a service and component oriented philosophy as opposed to a technology view. It implies increased reliance on customer relationship management, business analysis, and service management.
  • Improved alignment to the mission and to customers
  • Longer service life with less maintenance and changes
  • Lower support costs

Information — Information is the lifeblood of the university

Description Value
  • All information should be managed consistently, with one source and one owner.
  • Applications and data should be accessible by authorized parties from anywhere.
  • The above point infers information assurance standards, such as those related to authentication and the protection of sensitive data at rest and in transit.
  • Applications should support accessibility standards.
  • Improve decision making quality through the use of accurate, up-to-date information
  • Increase customer and user satisfaction
  • Reduce delivery costs by using existing data services

Reuse — Use or extend what already exists

Description Value
  • Whenever possible, use or extend an existing service or building block.
  • When no existing university service exists, prefer to acquire a service rather than build a new one.
  • EA will help projects identify reusable assets within the university and, when no asset is available, point them at any appropriate third-party solutions.
  • Less duplication of effort and services
  • Reduce delivery costs
  • Enable reusability and extensibility
  • Reduce operating cost

Standards Use architectural standards whenever possible

Description Value
  • Standards include specific technologies as well as complete models for solutions that are not unique (such as a web site).
  • The process of maintaining useful standards requires input and collaboration from many parties.
  • Standards will be updated, published, and changes publicized on a regular basis.
  • Provide more consistent user experience
  • Enable reusability and extensibility
  • Reduce risk and exposure
  • Reduce operating costs

Read about the Benefits of Enterprise Architecture.

Michigan Enterprise Strategic Assessments (MESA)

Michigan Enterprise Strategic Assessments (MESA) are strategic planning tools that are helping IT teams throughout the university align their IT services to U-M’s IT Strategic Plan. Learn more about MESAs.