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Viewing and communicating the information infrastructure. Explanation of Enterprise Architecture of John Zachman. ('87)


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In 1987, John Zachman, wrote: "To keep the business from disintegrating, the concept of an information systems architecture is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity." From that moment on, the Enterprise Architecture Framework of Zachman evolved. It became the model around which many major organizations are viewing and communicating their enterprise information infrastructure. It provides a blueprint, or architecture, for the organization's current and future information infrastructure.

The Zachman Enterprise Architecture at that time presented a new model for viewing and communicating information infrastructures.
Instead of looking at the process as a series of steps, he organized it around the points of view (perspectives) taken by the various players.

Players in the Enterprise Architecture framework

  1. Someone who has undertaken to do business in a particular industry.
  2. Business people who run the organization.
  3. Systems analyst who wants to represent the business in a disciplined form.
  4. Designer, who applies specific technologies to solve the problems of the business.
  5. Builder of the system.
  6. System itself.

The perspectives or points of view are represented as rows in the matrix (see figure below).
Zachman acknowledged that each of the participants was looking at the same categories of information, represented in the columns in the framework.

Information Categories in the Enterprise Architecture framework

  • The data manipulated by an organization (what).
  • Its functions and processes (how).
  • Locations where business is conducted (where).
  • Events that trigger business activities (when).
  • People and organizations involved (who).
  • Motivations and constraints which determine how the business behaves (why).

Enterprise Architecture (Zachman Framework) Terminology

  • An "Enterprise" is a business association consisting of a recognized set of interacting business functions. It is capable 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 an "Extended Enterprise", meaning that the scope of the impact of an enterprise architecture effort could also include inter-relationships with external entities. Such as: suppliers, business partners, and customers.
  • "Architecture" provides the underlying framework. This defines and describes the platform required by the enterprise so that it can 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 with business strategy and information requirements, that is guiding 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; secure 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

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Compare with the Zachman's Enterprise Architecture Framework: Business Intelligence  |  Performance Management  |  Balanced Scorecard  |  Activity Based Costing  |  Modeling

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