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Viewing and Communicating Information Infrastructures

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Enterprise Architecture


Summary of Enterprise Architecture (EA). Abstract

John Zachman, 1987

In 1987, John Zachman, wrote: “To keep the business from disintegrating, the concept of information systems architecture is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity.” From then on, the EA Framework of Zachman has evolved and became the model around which many major organizations view and communicate their enterprise information infrastructure. It provides a blueprint, or architecture, for the organization’s current and future information infrastructure.

Zachman's EA at the time presented a new model for viewing and communicating information infrastructures.

Instead of representing the process as a series of steps, he organized it around the points of view (perspectives) taken by the various players. These players included:

  1. Someone who has undertaken to do business in a particular industry
  2. The business people who run the organization
  3. The systems analyst who wants to represent the business in a disciplined form
  4. The designer, who applies specific technologies to solve the problems of the business
  5. The builder of the system, and finally
  6. The system itself.

These perspectives are represented as rows in the matrix.

Zachman also acknowledged that each of the participants was looking at the same categories of information. The columns in the framework represent the data manipulated by an organization (what), its functions and processes (how), locations where business is conducted (where), events that trigger business activities (when), the people and organizations involved (who), and the motivations and constraints which determine how the business behaves (why).

EA Terminology


Data (What)

Function (How)

Network (Where)

People (Who)

Time (When)

Motivation (Why)

Objectives / Scope

List of things important to the enterprise

List of processes the enterprise performs

List of locations where the enterprise operates

List of organizational units

List of business events / cycles

List of business goals / strategies

Model of the Business

Entity relationship diagram (including m:m, n-ary, attributed relationships)

Business process model (physical data flow diagram)

Logistics network (nodes and links)

Organization chart, with roles; skill sets; security issues.

Business master schedule

Business plan

Model of the Information System

Data model (converged entities, fully normalized)

Essential Data flow diagram; application architecture

Distributed system architecture

Human interface architecture (roles, data, access)

Dependency diagram, entity life history (process structure)

Business rule model

Technology Model

Data architecture (tables and columns); map to legacy data

System design: structure chart, pseudo-code

System architecture (hardware, software types)

User interface (how the system will behave); security design

"Control flow" diagram (control structure)

Business rule design

Detailed Representation

Data design (denormalized), physical storage design

Detailed Program Design

Network architecture

Screens, security architecture (who can see what?)

Timing definitions

Rule specification in program logic

Function System

Converted data

Executable programs

Communications facilities

Trained people

Business events

Enforced rules

👀TIP: On this website you can find much more about Enterprise Architecture!

Compare with Zachman's Enterprise Architecture: Balanced Scorecard  |  Activity Based Costing  |  Modeling

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