What does an enterprise data architecture look like? Is it a document? a diagram? a framework? How would you describe it?

In reality, an enterprise data architecture is a strategy, and is best described in the following flavours, keeping in mind various stakeholders that are involved in the implementation.

The business flavour

This view of the architecture focuses on what data is required for building the solution and how is it obtained. It also elaborates on how this data is further processed to solve a specific business objective, and identifies the stakeholders who are responsible to provide the data and those who will be using the solution.

The functional flavour

This view elaborates on how the data is extracted from the data sources, stored within the solution and accessed by the users of the solution. It focuses on various architectural aspects to ensure that the data is accurate, complete, clean, integrated, readily available, secure and easily accessible.

The systems flavour

This view of the architecture elaborates various systems that hold the data during its journey from source systems to end users. It elaborates the technologies that will be used to source the data, transform it, store data and access it for business purposes.

The infrastructure flavour

This view of the architecture focuses on the physical information technology infrastructure that will be used to implement various systems within the enterprise data architecture, and elaborates on how the infrastructure handles key non functional requirements associated with scaling and security.


An enterprise data architecture is often accompanied with an implementation roadmap and cost estimates. It is often supported with clear differentiators and cost benefits that existing systems within the organization lack, so as to promote the adoption of the architecture.