Architecture Domains | Real IRM

Real IRM

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Architecture DomainsAlthough the Zachman Framework has become the de facto standard in Enterprise Architecture, the framework is perhaps too complicated for general business use.  We have a simplified framework for business communication while the EA team rigorously applies the Zachman Framework to manage models within the EA repository. This simpler communication-framework addresses the Business, Information, Data, Applications and Technology architecture domains - referred to as the “BIDAT framework”.  We have developed a direct mapping between the BIDAT model and the Zachman Framework and have generated tools that can, for example, generate websites based on a specific architectural layer. 

This approach enables the deployment of models that hide complexity and provide simple, easy access to deliverables such as the business model, job descriptions, role accountability matrices, performance measures, application functional specifications, middleware specifications etc. Our technical capability ensures that “the model is the documentation”. This means, for example, that the functional specifications (e.g. e-Business software) and training materials are generated directly from the model in the form of Microsoft Word documents and/or a website.  This reduces the fragmentation of documentation, provides a repository that houses key components of the organisation’s intellectual capital in a format that is actionable, and directly supports organisational agility. We have practically applied the concept of holistic EA for a number of years. This has now become a best practice recommended by Gartner Group.

"Through 2010, less than 20% of the Global 2000 would master business transformation using IT, allowing them to outpace the rest in strategic goals such as revenue and market share."
Gartner EA Summit, Orlando, June 2008

The following are the architecture domain definitions:

  • Business Architecture - The business policies, strategies, people, processes, business rules, products, services, customers, geographical span, partners and competitors define the enterprise. The business architecture is thus the context within which the business operates.
  • Information Architecture - All the sources of information, supporting business and decision processes, including paper, graphics, video, speech and thought that defines the sources and destinations of information, its flow through the organisation, as well as the rules for persistence, security and ownership.
  • Data Architecture - As a subset of the information that drives the enterprise, the data architecture defines the types of data, their form, and the rules that govern their use. The elements of this layer are the only forms of information that must be stored by information technology.
  • Application Architecture - The applications that the enterprise chooses to access and manipulate its data also help to define its ability to communicate internally and, through electronics commerce, externally.
  • Technology Architecture - Underpinning the other layers, the technology of the enterprise enables or disables the enterprise in its execution of its business strategy. The implication for the technology architecture is that the choice of servers, client devices, databases, middleware and network components must be linked ultimately to the policies and goals of the business architecture.

The EA capability provides multiple views of the BIDAT framework such as:

Time-Based View

Time-based views are defined for the architecture domains. An enterprise can be represented by several different architecture instances, each representing the enterprise at a particular point in time.  One architecture instance will represent the current enterprise state (the "as-is", or baseline). Another architecture instance, perhaps defined only partially, will represent the ultimate target end-state (the "vision"). In-between, intermediate or "transitional" architecture instances may be defined, each comprising its own set of target architecture descriptions.  These time-based views support strategic and tactical planning, budgeting and enterprise portfolio management.

Role-Based View

The EA capability provides role-based views of the architectural domains, tailored to the specialised needs of, for example, software deployment, application integration, organisational design, training and development, risk, audit, business process improvement etc. This capability supports knowledge management as personal, tacit knowledge is capture in models and directly linked to the business process at an activity level. The linking of information to the business process and business role is superior to conventional knowledge management approaches that simply focus on content management because this “human centred” approach links those who “know” to those who need to know and supports their collaboration and knowledge transfer. Existing documentation, such as presentations, training material, technical diagrams etc., is linked to the business processes and is often stored in a documentation management system such as Documentum or SharePoint and is subjected to configuration management and change control. The intranet provides easy and relatively inexpensive access to the model content.

Globalisation and Portfolio Management

Globalisation and Portfolio ManagementThe design of the architecture domains provides Global, Regional and Local views of the EA. A current best operating practice template provides a benchmarking capability and the means of transferring best practice systems across the group.

Variants of the architecture domains, such as Europe, America, South Africa etc., could be used to drive pragmatic globalisation (globally consistent processes) based on regional business needs, process maturity and the need to harness local innovation for the group’s advantage.

Strategic Planning View

The EA capability provides a unique opportunity for moving existing content into an EA repository with the business objective of transforming a static approach to developing business strategies into a “living” and dynamic business capability.

Other Viewpoints

The EA capability provides a number of views that support requirements for an IT Enterprise Architecture blueprint and the e-Business programme. These views include a:

  • Risk View
  • Data Stewardship View
  • Information Security View

The following section provides an overview of how this is made practical and results in a business capability that is of strategic importance.


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