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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Enterprise Architecture (EA) has gained a lot of attention in literature and industry in recent years since it serves as a valuable instrument to guide the enterprise through the digital transformation from a current to a future state by means of providing standardization, rules and principles. The evolvement of EA is best captured by using a maturity model to understand the current stage of EA maturity and provides a means of further improving it.

Key messages:

  • Understanding five stages of Enterprise Architecture Maturity (Reference 1)
  • Practices to gain value from each stage (Reference 2)
  • EA Maturity Assessment Calculator for evaluating and quantifying an organization’s EA maturity

Digital Transformation and Enterprise Architecture:

As part of  a digital transformation, the key challenge for management is to redesign and then implement new systems, processes, and IT infrastructure without sabotaging daily operations.  Many of the legacy processes and systems a company has built over time constitute obstacles to a new business vision. Management cannot shut down the company and start from scratch.

Management needs to navigate a complex path to achieve a digital transformation. They will need to follow a consistent pattern for building out their enterprise architectures. These patterns are described in progressive stages of Enterprise Architecture Maturity.

Enterprise Architecture Maturity Stages:

An Enterprise Architecture Maturity level is a value obtained through the aggregation of assessing different elements (processes and roles) in managing enterprise architecture. The purpose of measuring and maturing the enterprise architecture is to increase the value creation through IT assets and investments.

Maturing involves transitioning from systems and platforms that resemble a plate of cold spaghetti to modular architectures suited to a plug-and-play business model.

In this framework, Enterprise architecture maturity is grouped into five stages.

EA Maturity stages.jpg

  Figure 1 - Enterprise Architecture Maturity Stages

Stage 1: Initial and Informal

Informal Enterprise Architecture process is underway.

  • IT provides solutions for the individual business processes
  • Ad-hoc approach: IT decisions are driven by the Business unit managers
  • Little to no Business-IT alignment across business units

Stage 2: In-progress and Business siloed

Enterprise Architecture process is under development.

Practices to gain value at this stage:

  • Business cases for each initiative: Costs and benefits of a proposed change to a business process or technology at the project level
  • Standardized project methodology: A disciplined, consistent approach to converting an approved project concept into an improved business process

Stage 3: Defined and Standardized

Defined Enterprise Architecture including detailed written governance procedures and standards and operating model.

Practices to gain value at this stage:

  • Setup an Architecture review board: A small group of executives held accountable for determining enterprise architecture and business alignment
  • Centralized funding of enterprise applications: Capital budget allocations supporting the implementation of enterprise wide standards
  • Architects on project teams: Individuals responsible for ensuring that technical standards are observed or that necessary exceptions are adopted
  • A one-page core diagrams: A tool that communicates a high-level picture of integration and standardization requirements
  • A centralized standards team: Technical experts who identify appropriate standards and recognize when to retire or update those standards

Stage 4: Managed and optimized

Managed, measured, and optimized Enterprise Architecture processes

Practices to gain value at this stage:

  • Enterprise wide process owners: Individuals who own, design, and implement one or more enterprise wide processes
  • A statement of enterprise architecture guiding principles: Tough choices specifying how IT will be applied in the company (e.g., to serve customer interests versus to cut business process costs)
  • Senior executive oversight of enterprise architecture: High-level reviews of enterprise architecture initiatives and design of incentives to encourage adoption
  • IT program managers: Individuals who coordinate programs, projects and systems to map integration and minimize redundancy
  • An infrastructure renewal process: A funding mechanism for projects intended primarily to retire aging technologies and upgrade the technology base

Stage 5: Transformational and Modular

Modular and integrated Enterprise Architecture. Continuous improvement of Enterprise Architecture roles and processes.

Practices to gain value at this stage:

  • Modular Architecture: Business components will be both self-contained and readily connectable
  • A formal research and adoption process: A process for identifying the new technologies that could have a significant impact on the company
  • A full-time enterprise architecture team: IT staff who help fit immediate business needs into the company’s longer-term vision
  • Postimplementation assessment: A formal process for securing and communicating lessons learned from each project

Transition to higher maturity stage

Transition to the higher maturity stage through standardization and modularization usually requires that perfectly good (and occasionally superior) systems and processes be ripped out and replaced by the new standard.

This can be politically difficult and expensive.

It’s not a sprint but it’s a marathon.


A Company should assess their current Enterprise Architecture maturity level and gain maximum benefits from the current stage and plan a gradual transition to the next level. Skipping levels lead to either failures or delayed benefits by taking on more organizational change than the company’s people can handle. Each stage has very different learning requirements.  

As companies transition through the architecture stages, they fundamentally change how they do business. Companies in stage 1, which implement IT-enabled processes with little regard for business synergies with other processes, look nothing like companies in stage 5, where reusable business process modules have become a core discipline and the company has carefully delineated between enterprise and local applications, processes, and data.

Getting from stage 1 to stage 5 is a journey. Some companies choose not to make that journey; others falter along the way.

I welcome your feedback, comments and insights.

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Annex: Calculator and an example

Google Spreadsheet: Calculate Enterprise Architecture Maturity Level - Aug 2022

Example of calculating EA maturity score based on eight elements



  1. TOGAF Series Guide: Maturity Models (opengroup.org)
  2. Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution: Ross, Jeanne W., ...
  3. An Analysis of Enterprise Architecture Maturity Frameworks, Martin MeyerMarkus Helfert & Conor O’Brien 
  4. EA Maturity Today: Goals for Continuous Transformation (leanix.net)