Elements of a solution
There are many
challenges in Enterprise Architecture, each potentially addressed
by slightly different tools to best resolve a particular kind of
issue. However, when combined into a consistent overall approach, these
tools bring a new coherence and confidence to a difficult undertaking,
helping bridge the gap between business and IT. A consistent approach
should ask the right questions, uncover key issues and insights, and
relate disparate viewpoints into an understandable whole.
Our approach is called MAp.
It is built on and extends our previous work on component modeling with
Catalysis, integrating key aspects of the OMG's MDA, UML, and EDOC, the
Reference Model for Open Distributed Processing (RM-ODP), SEI (Software
Engineering Institute) work on software architecture, Problem Frames,
and Goal Modeling. It covers the most important issues in Software and
- Enterprise viewpoints: Viewpoints
for the enterprise must cover business goals and processes, portfolio
management, cross-business perspectives, and migration planning, in
additional to application-centric viewpoints on business and technical
components. Key questions are asked, and issues and insights uncovered,
- Business goals: An effective
enterprise architecture must span the business view, logical
application architecture, platform-specific realizations, and deployed
solutions. It's ultimate success is defined by the business value of
the systems it delivers i.e. how well they meet business goals. Hence
goals must be described unambiguously.
- Fractal components and services:
Applications, federations of applications, components, and services can
all be viewed as points in a spectrum of fractal architectural
elements. Shed a few buzzword pounds and gain in simplicity and
consistency of approach.
- Architecture-centric process: The
processes used to define, develop, and evolve systems should be
primarily aligned with the architectural structures of those systems,
rather than be dominated by an orthogonal "phase" structure.
- Architecture vocabulary: A
clearly and consistently defined vocabulary with which to describe,
analyze and draw inferences, and evaluate and choose architectures, is
a significant benefit to most large-scale architectural efforts.
- Portfolio management: Many
important decisions about priority, direction, and architectural
strategy should cross lines of business, applications, and projects and
- Information content: Every
enterprise prizes its business information. Key elements of that
information, starting from potential contents of a management dashboard
and key-performance indicators, through detailed information exchanges
between applications and components, can all be uncovered in a
straightforward and consistent way.
- Model-driven process: Models,
used effectively, can add a lot of value to activities from defining
goals to the integration of systems. But diagrams are not an end in
themselves, and by shaking off diagram-religion in favor of the
underlying shared conceptual language, you can start to define and
benefit from models very early.
- Variable zoom and focus: It is
essential to be able to zoom out to get a wider birds-eye view of some
domain or system, or zoom in to a narrower scope to be worked in more
depth. Similarly, it is important to employ variable precision so even
zoomed out views can retain as sharp a focus as necessary.
- Enterprise lifecycle: In the
context of enterprise architecture, the lifecycle of an application
includes concept, implementation, deployment, production, evolution,
and retirement. Analysis of as-is and development of to-be
architectures frame one part of this lifecycle. Migration planning, and
an architectural language centered on "change", is equally
- Consistent architectural styles:
An architectural style defines a set of acceptable or preferred
architectures. By consistently using architectural styles within
and across viewpoints, from business goals and domain models
through technical architecture and deployments, you can leverage best
practice from industry as well as within your organization.
Learn more about how we can
help weave these together to bring renewed coherence and confidence
to your efforts.