Biggest myth - “Enterprise Architecture is a discipline aimed at creating models”. Unfortunately, most of the Enterprise Architecture practitioners and several branded consulting organizations are caught in this trap. The situation has worsened as several architects & business process experts are building “composite models” and calling it “architecture” model. This ignorance has serious ramification, as several Enterprises are making considerable investments in this area without significant gain. In fact last year, John Zachman (person credited with inventing the enterprise ontology) said “Enterprise architecture is a discipline which should help business managers to address their problems scientifically and quickly. End result is not to create the models, but to solve the enterprise problems”.
We feel proud that iCMG Enterprise Architecture efforts have a positive impact on John Zachman’s revisit of definition last year. At iCMG, we have proven beyond doubt that “Enterprise Architecture is a scientific basis for creating, maintaining and running an Enterprise. Use of enterprise primitives, complex composites, dynamic traceability models, relationship matrix, gap analysis, impact analysis, simulation etc. provides necessary enterprise x-rays for visualization and understanding enterprise disorders. These enterprise x-rays provide mathematical basis for enterprise diagnosis. The last year i.e. 2012 have been a breakthrough year as we have successfully demonstrated (few dozen times) how to address enterprise issues and problems in 45 days cycle. This is unlike popular belief that enterprise architecture initiatives need at least six months to deliver something significant.
The idea of Enterprise Architecture is to describe the fundamental structure of an Enterprise. In order to achieve this, we need to discover the underlying, elementary, single variable, “primitive” structural element. These primitives in their aggregate would describe the Enterprise in its entirety.
The way nature is populated with chemical compounds, enterprises are populated with “enterprise compounds” or “composites"(multi variable models).
One of the key challenge is to identify the enterprise elements (primitives) for any given Enterprise at any given point in time. We can help creating your enterprise primitives using ‘The Zachman Framework’. The Zachman Framework (6 x 6, two dimensional schema) with the “Communication Interrogatives” as Columns and the “Reification Transformation” as Rows. The Cells formed at the intersection between Interrogatives and the Transformations constitute the total set of primitives that are needed to describe the Enterprise in detail.
The approach of creating the Enterprise Architecture using Zachman Framework has several benefits, such as :
- Better understanding of the Enterprise anatomy using enterprise primitives
- Insight about various Enterprise disorders and possible reasons behind them which are adversely effecting running and managing of the Enterprise.
- Ability to create the Enterprise X-rays for effective diagnosis
- Creating multiple solution model and test them.
- Ability to predict changes due to implementation of the solution
- Build a coherent and verifiable Enterprise Architecture.
What can we do for your Enterprise?
Various steps involved in using Enterprise Architecture for managing enterprise disorder effectively
Discover the primitives
Analyze the available composites to discover the enterprise primitives. Today, most of the enterprise architecture artifacts are composite in nature and are in various formats such as PDF, Excel sheet, Word doc, BPMN models etc.
Model primitives (single variable models)
Model these ‘architectural primitives’ using standard notations based on UML, BPMN, BMM. Please note that only those symbols are used which are primitive in nature. Single variable primitive models are important to create the appropriate composites for diagnosis of different enterprise problems.
Create the basic composites ( two variable models)
Composite models are created to establish relationship between various enterprise primitive models such as business goals, business process, locations, process owners, applications etc. We need to create simple composite (2 variables) and complex composite (3 variables and more) which will be used for creating necessary enterprise X-rays for diagnosis.
Enterprise problem identification and defining interdependencies
Sample Enterprise disorders include IT application rationalization, business process improvement, optimize IT outsourcing, cost savings, isolate duplicate processes, COTS selection, business expansion, new product or service etc. Also, it’s import to understand the dependencies across them. We should avoid solving enterprise disorders in isolation.
Identification of the framework cells which are responsible for the problem.
This is similar to doctors and surgeons trying to figure out which human body organ responsible for the body disorder. This will help to minimize the confusion and underlying risks.
Create the “Target” composite models
This is similar to creating X-rays for diagnosis in medical field. For every problem, we have to create the necessary enterprise composites. The diagram shows the way to create composite from the primitives we have identified earlier. Composites models are multi- variable models which allow decision makers to visualize important relationships and dependency between the elements
It’s time to diagnose the problem and its impact using traceability models, relationship matrix, gap analysis, impact analysis. On average around 200-250 models are used for impact analysis. Composite views allow decision makers to view important relationships between the elements and their impact. Impact analysis across 300-500 enterprise elements which earlier took around 6-7 months could be created within few hours. This ensures that you can predict impact and changes even before initiating implementation.
Solution options, prototype and transformation
Based on the effective diagnosis, our teams create multiple solution models and test them. Based on the results of evaluation, they will create transformation and implementation plan for achieving “Target”. Such plans are created by considering the cost benefit analysis, portfolio optimization, risk assessment and financial impact. Of course, our team will be part of architecture governance to ensure that enterprise problems are resolved ensuring adherence to the performance goals.
One has to remember that “Enterprise Architecture” is not a time bound project or initiative. It’s scientific way of managing and running an enterprise effectively. Of course, a specific enterprise problem could be taken up as a time-bound project. As and when new problems are being addressed, the enterprise primitives can be created, so as the basic composites. Just like a human body, every Enterprise will evolve (change) on a daily basis.
In the case of human body, evolution of body structure is intrinsic. whenever we take an x-ray, we always get a “updated” view of the anatomy. Unlike human body, the responsibility of keeping the enterprise anatomy live and updated is with the architecture team. It’s important to update the enterprise anatomy regularly to ensure that when you get the x-ray, they are not outdated. A diagnosis based on an outdated x-ray might result in a solution which is useless and expensive.
That’s the reason, it’s very important to keep the Enterprise structure alive and updated. To maintain, monitor and control the Enterprise Architecture, it’s important to have
- Architecture Review Board (ARB)
- Setting of Enterprise model Change Control Board (CCB)
- Architecture Repository
- Architecture version control
- Metrics and measurements
- Monthly audit