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Leveraging The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework

Posted by Neil Sheppard on April 29, 2024
Leveraging The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework

SAP's Enterprise Architecture Framework is a road map for optimizing your enterprise architecture function, with best-practice guidance and a flexible, modular approach. Discover what you can learn from SAP's example and how LeanIX can support you in leveraging SAP methodology.

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework is an expansive, flexible methodology for developing a mature, successful enterprise architecture function for your organization. As a part of SAP, LeanIX solutions and our meta-model align perfectly with this framework, and will integrate with SAP Signavio to optimize your enterprise architecture function.

Let's explore the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework and how it can support you in developing your enterprise architecture function to the standard of an organization the size and maturity of SAP. The key to this is the combined power of the LeanIX and Signavio toolsets.

To find out more about LeanIX and SAP Signavio, see our integration page:

Read more about the integration

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework was created to give everyone working in the SAP space a common language and approach to use for enterprise architecture projects. This provides enterprise architects at SAP with common tactics for four cornerstones of EA:

1 Methodology

SAP uses a version of The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) Version 10 Architecture Development Method (ADM). The standard TOGAF framework is modified with additional artifacts, such as the Sustainable Business Model Canvas and the Application Use-Case Diagram.

The SAP methodology recommends artifacts to support:

  • Architecture vision
  • Business architecture
  • Information system architecture
  • Technology architecture
  • Opportunities and solutions
  • Migration planning

Yet, the framework also offers a selection of additional artifacts to supplement the recommended set when the need arises. There is also flexibility to make use of the framework, but add your own choice of extensions.

For support with setting up an enterprise architecture framework, book a demo of the LeanIX template meta-model:

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2 Reference architecture

The SAP enterprise architecture framework uses Reference Business Architecture and Reference Solution Architecture to provide standardized content following four views:

  1. Capability
  2. Process
  3. Data
  4. Organization

The reference content should be carefully authored and remain official, so as to be consistent. The four views will cover both IT and business perspectives, allowing the two perspectives to align.

For support in aligning reference architecture across business and IT perspectives, you can leverage a synthesis of SAP Signavio and LeanIX toolsets. To find out more, book a demo:

Request demo

3 Tools

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework recommends you leverage a variety of external and internal tools as the best-of-breed for enterprise architecture. These include:

  • LeanIX
  • Signavio
  • Product Map Generator
  • Roadmap Explorer
  • API Business Hub
  • Trust Center

4 Services

Finally, the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework includes a defined set of services that enterprise architects should offer to their customers. These include support with:

  • Architecture point of view
  • Innovation strategy and road mapping
  • Target architecture assessment
  • Architecture transformation
  • Integration strategy
  • Architecture governance

The 6 Principles Of The SAP Framework

As enterprise architects work through the four cornerstones of the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework, there are six key principles that they should keep in mind:

SAP Principle 1: Map Business And IT Separately

As we mentioned above, the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework carefully disentangles IT solutions from business goals. This clear separation allows you to distinguish between your organization's needs and its capabilities.

For example, it's easy to get lost in the details as to whether you should use Zoom, Slack, Teams, Google Meet, or any of the various alternatives for your internal communication. The best way to answer that question is to establish the capabilities your business needs, then choose the tool that best suits those needs, all before considering the technical ramifications of adoption.

This allows you to prioritize your business needs and goals over the challenges and complications of technical implementation. This way, enterprise architects can be seen as problem solvers, rather than blockers.

SAP Principle 2: Use Industry Standards

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework specifies that enterprise architects should use proven industry standards for determining their methodology. This not only saves you the effort of creating your own methodology from scratch, but also ensures the methodology you're using has been stress tested in the real world without risk to your own organization.

SAP leverages a variety of industry standards from respected enterprise architecture institutions. These include methodologies such as:

SAP Principle 3: Connect To Other Architectures

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework doesn't stand alone. SAP understands that there are a variety of different business architectural disciplines, and that all of them need to work in harmony to avoid conflict and wasted effort.

This includes integration architecture, data architecture, system landscape architecture, and much more. All of these architects need to be aware of each other and aligned, and enterprise architecture is not the one methodology to rule them all, but an equal partner.

Using domain-driven design principles, the SAP framework empowers architects of all kinds to design their methodology based on their own expertise. This allows enterprise architects to build a framework that works for them, but also functions alongside other frameworks.

SAP Principle 4: Collaborative Approach & Content Fluency

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework encourages collaboration and shared taxonomy among everyone working in enterprise architecture. This ensures there is a communal base from which a variety of use cases can be supported.

By establishing a taxonomy and a standard for enterprise architecture and a cross-disciplinary working group, enterprise architects can ensure consistency across their entire IT landscape without restricting the autonomy of different units. This allows your enterprise architecture services to support a large variety of use cases while still maintaining a consistent quality.

Consistent taxonomy and processes also accelerate initiatives by making them repeatable. Not to mention, constant iteration on repeated processes can continually optimize them.

SAP Principle 5: Defined Content Ownership

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework relies on clear ownership for enterprise architecture documentation. Each reference, application, function, and artifact must have a named owner to manage the content and ensure it is current.

These owners must have the ultimate accountability and the right to approve changes, so that rapid decision-making can be enabled. By having a single content owner, you can ensure that the content acts as a single source of truth for each function.

This list of owners will, itself, need to be maintained in a central location and updated regularly. This avoids any loss of monitoring that can occur should an owner change positions or leave your organization.

SAP Principle 6: Sustainability And Simplicity

The key to the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework is its simplicity and momentum. By keeping architecture as simple as possible, you ensure its maintenance is low-effort and therefore, more likely to be upheld.

Unnecessary complication leads to additional effort, resource expense, and mental load for stakeholders. By avoiding complexity, you make stakeholders more amenable to the process.

SAP maintains that the essence of good architecture is the reflection of shared understanding, leading to meaningful decision-making. The key to shared understanding is simplicity and meaningful decisions are sustainable.

Leveraging SAP Signavio And LeanIX For EA

The SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework is an expansive, modular methodology that offers guidance on optimized EA, but is also customizable to your circumstances. This makes it beneficial for everyone attempting to build or mature their own enterprise architecture function.

To support this, SAP recommends a combination of SAP Signavio and LeanIX solutions. By using Signavio to map your business processes and LeanIX to document your application portfolio, you can track the two perspectives separately, but also ensure full integration between the two datasets.

The two solutions working together will:

  • separate your IT and business process documentation
  • map your architecture according to industry standards through defined meta-models
  • integrate with other architectural disciplines
  • enhance collaboration by allowing anyone in your organization to view architectural data
  • define ownership across your organization by logging owners against items
  • simplify and optimize your architecture in a sustainable way

Leveraging both toolsets, you can enact the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework and optimize your EA function to best support your organization. To find out more, book a demo.

Request demo

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