Enterprise Architecture (EA) frameworks and your IS Assets
It seems obvious that EA Frameworks don’t guarantee a good or bad IS/IT Architecture. Unfortunately everybody doesn’t share this opinion. Most of newcomers in the EA field and some decision makers still believe that EA frameworks bring the solution to transform their IS/IT systems. Definitely, this is a blind alley.
Indeed, let’s take the two main EA frameworks, Zachman and Togaf. It is reasonable to say that Zachman is just a taxonomy of models and concepts, this is a classification scheme. The quality of these models, their ability to leverage the transparency and agility of the IS/IT are not targeted. Zachman doesn’t provide companies with a vision of how to reshape their IS/IT systems. The issue with Togaf is quite similar.
(click the figure to enlarge)
Even though it is less a classification scheme than a process to support IS/IT transformation (Architecture Development Model), Togaf doesn’t provide us with a vision to leverage the quality of systems. We can say that Togaf is architecture agnostic. Therefore, when using such EA frameworks without any idea about the journey to reshape the IS/IT systems, it is sure that EA will remain an IT concern only, without any added-value to businesses. At best, EA frameworks will allow companies to regain the control of existing systems; at worst they will be not really used. But even so, mixing Zachman (classification scheme) and Togaf (process to develop IT architecture) with a good vision/target to transform IS/IT assets should be enforced. At Sustainable IT Architecture, we suggest such a vision relying on a holistic use (Linking Value) of business repositories revealing the true value of IS Assets, it means ref/master data (MDM), business rules (BRMS) and processes (BPM).
Findings: be very careful when using EA frameworks without a strong viewpoint about your IS/IT systems target. Without such a vision, your IS/IT journey will be a blind alley. Hopefully, Sustainable IT Architecture brings the missing link between EA frameworks and IS/IT restructuring. Our vision about the use of MDM, BRMS and BPM is surely not the exclusive way to transform IS/IT, but we strongly believe that it is the best approach to leverage transparency, auditability and agility of systems in a progressive and sustainable way.
(click the figure to enlarge)
To enforce the vision applied to the reshaping of IS/IT systems, the Sustainable IT Architecture community has established the IS Rating Tool initiative.
This tool provides companies with a set of measurement points to assess the Intrinsic Value of Data, Rules and Processes. To achieve this goal, three EA points of view are necessary and take into account the linking value between data, rules and processes assets.
The figures highlight these three EA points of view, also called EA-3Views: Enterprise Data Architecture, Enterprise Rules Architecture and Enterprise Processes Architecture.
Note: in these figures, each caption refers to a specific question within the IS Rating Tool. This is a subset of questions in relation to the assessment domain of "Mastering Knowledge". The two others domains defined by the IS Rating Tool are: "Mastering Governance features" and "Mastering IT".
Further information? To get further information, you can read the text below and download the IS Rating Tool course material including the three figures above.
All types of data must share a unified data foundation establishes with help from the semantic oriented modeling.
It means that ref/master data and transactional data rely on the same business objects and business objects' lifecycles. It means also that data flow, i.e. pivot format used at the level of interconnection of systems, is based on the common information model stemming from the semantic modeling (also called Semantic Data Integration). Regarding the decisional data, they also benefit from the unified data view obtained with the semantic oriented modeling.
The IS Rating Tool defines all measurement points required to assess the performance level in data knowledge management. It also gives all measurement points required to assess the availability and quality of data governance features (version, authoring, permission, etc.). And finally, it gives measurement points to gauge the ability to master IT architecture in relation to data governance and data integration, including the linking value with rules management and processes management.
(click the figure to enlarge)
The rules quality depends on the data quality (ie. Linking Value). The IS Rating Tool distinguishes Core Business Rules, Organizational Rules and Security Rules. The core business rules are not reliant on any organizational concern (workflow, working procedure) and security policy (permission). They define the behavioural of business objects. This is the reason why the Enterprise Rules Architecture has dependency links with the Enterprise Data Architecture that defines business objects and their lifecycles.
Conversely, the organizational rules are reliant on organizational concerns. They can change whereas the core business still remains stable. These rules have dependency links with the Enterprise Processes Architecture defining processes (workflows) and uses cases (working procedures).
The IS Rating Tool defines all measurement points required to assess the performance level in rules knowledge management. It also gives all measurement points required to assess the availability and quality of rules governance features (version, authoring, permission, etc.). And finally, it gives measurement points to gauge the ability to master IT architecture in relation to rules governance and rules integration, including the linking value with data management and processes management. (click the figure to enlarge)
The processes quality depends on the rules and data quality (ie. Linking Value). The IS Rating Tool distinguishes Core Processes, Processes and Micro-processes (uses cases). The core process is the highest description of the organization, most of the time it allows for describing strategic goals related to the company's value chain, spanning several business lines and third parties. These processes rely on organizational rules that are defined within the Enterprise Rules Architecture.
The process is an intermediate description of the organization. It allows for describing internal goals for every company's business line. These processes rely on business objects defined within the Enterprise Data Architecture. Indeed, each process is built upon one main business object, whose lifecycle is reused to establish a first conceptual view of the process.
And finally, the micro-process is the more detailed description of the organization. It allows for describing concrete interactions between one actor and the system through uses cases (working procedures). To implement reusable micro-processes, it is recommended to limit the scope of each micro-process to a unique business object (composite application). This is the reason why, a dependency link exists with the Enterprise Data Architecture that defines business objects. (click the figure to enlarge)
The IS Rating Tool defines all measurement points required to assess the performance level in processes knowledge management. It also gives all measurement points required to assess the availability and quality of processes governance features (version, authoring, permission, etc.). And finally, it gives measurement points to gauge the ability to master IT architecture in relation to processes governance and processes integration, including the linking value with data management and rules management.