Enterprise Architecture: Tools & Framework

Instructor: Martin Gibbs

Martin has 16 years experience in Human Resources Information Systems and has a PhD in Information Technology Management. He is an adjunct professor of computer science and computer programming.

Enterprise architecture unites business and IT goals, driving business strategy and achieving positive return on investment. Here, learn about enterprise architecture framework and tools for enterprise architecture framework design.

Enterprise Architecture Frameworks

Enterprise architecture is unfortunately not the study of blueprints for a spaceship in Star Trek. Rather, it is a term that encompasses a system that spans an entire organization, the enterprise. Enterprise architecture refers to the technologies, business processes, and information systems of the enterprise.

You can't build a house without some sort of a framework. This is especially true for enterprise/organizational systems. As a home needs a plan for the plumbing, electrical, floor plans, etc.; so too does an enterprise software application.

An organization is really a large system made up of complicated and interconnected subsystems. Managing this complexity requires the right tools to work with this complexity in a way that is manageable. A framework helps with this daunting task.

Architecture Frameworks

There are several enterprise architecture frameworks in the industry. In this lesson, we will mention quite a few that can be use in conjunction with a main framework, but we will focus more heavily on four specific architecture frameworks:

  • The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)
  • Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF)
  • Zachman
  • Gartner

Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)

The Open Group Architecture Framework (better known as TOGAF), divides the enterprise structure into four categories: business architecture, application architecture, data architecture, and technical architecture.

The Open Group Architecture Framework or TOGAF
togaf

In the TOGAF example, the architecture is actually a continuous architecture, from the very granular to the very complex. TOGAF complements Zachman by providing a process for creating the components of the architecture.

TOGAF can be used in conjunction with another framework (ArchiMate) created by the Open Group.

Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEAF)

This architecture was developed by the U.S. federal government and is a very robust methodology. It consists of five sub-models: a business reference model which provides a business perspective of the functions of the enterprise; the components reference model; technical reference model; data reference model; and performance reference model.

Federal Enterprise Architecture
Federal Enterprise Architecture

This visual illustrates the key component of this model: the goal is to foster collaboration across organizational boundaries (e.g., between IT and the business).

The Zachman Framework

The framework is simple, but doesn't have to be confined only to IT; it can fit all industries. It is a two-dimensional model that can be organized on one side by the various players in the system (architects, engineers, managers, etc.), and on the second side according to the focus of each piece of the puzzle.

A graphical representation of the framework.
zachman framework

In the Zachman grid, there are 36 cells: there is a cell for each connection between the player (e.g., manager) and its description (e.g., data). As one moves along the grid, there are different definitions/descriptions, each from the perspective of the player.

Gartner

The Gartner approach unifies business owners and information technology specialists into a single team. The framework is built with these stakeholders in mind; the architecture is built based on the business strategy PLUS the information technology needs. Success is measured in profit or increased net operating income for non-profits, not on whether little boxes were checked on a spreadsheet.

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