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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

  • An “Enterprise” is a business association consisting of a recognized set of interacting business functions, able to operate as an independent, standalone entity. With this definition, there can be enterprises within enterprises. For instance, a business unit within the overall corporate entity may be considered an enterprise as long as it could be operated independently. The enterprise can also be seen as the “extended” enterprise, meaning that the scope of the impact of an enterprise architecture effort could also include inter-relationships to external entities such as suppliers, business partners, and customers.
  • Architecture” provides the underlying framework, which defines and describes the platform required by the enterprise to attain its objectives and achieve its business vision. It can be defined as the set of principles, guidelines, policies, models, standards, and processes that, aligned to business strategy and information requirements, guides the selection, creation and implementation of solutions that are aligned with future business direction.

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

T I P : Here you can discuss and learn a lot more about Enterprise Architecture.

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

More management models


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