During the past two to three years, enterprise architecture has taken major strides forward. Like never before, CIOs are faced with justifying how technology supports business goals, both now and in the future. Mainstream Fortune 1000 businesses and federal agencies have adopted enterprise architecture as a way to incorporate their best practices and experiences into decisions about technology investments, compliance and emerging technologies, such as Web services, service-oriented architectures (SOAs) and business process management.

This has fostered a dramatic growth in enterprise architecture programs. CIOs can see that a properly implemented enterprise architecture program can have a direct impact on an organization's agility in meeting regulatory and market challenges. In turn, this has given rise to the concept of actionable architecture. In this view, the role of enterprise architecture is as a central access point for the capture and dissemination of IT and business process information throughout all levels of an organization as a means to improve decision making.

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