The Zachman Framework

January 31, 2012

The Zachman Framework

January 31, 2012

During the time of the Industrial Revolution change occurred slowly and the dissemination of information flowed even slower. A great example of this is the machine that really started it all, the first power loom. The first power loom was invented by Edmund Cartwright in England in 1785. The first American power loom was not constructed until 1813 by Francis Cabot Lowell. In this time it took 28 years from the time the first power loom was created until the process was duplicated in America. This is a far cry from today’s fast paced information at your finger tips world. In today’s world companies must learn to adapt to the changes at record pace. We literally have the free flow of information at our finger tips. So how do we handle that change? One way is that we develop processes that will allow us to identify strengths and weaknesses within the organization. Those processes enable us to establish a path or paths for reengineering the company. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though. We want to focus in on the process and how we determine the strengths and weaknesses of our company. The tool that you will find at the root of this process is a Zachman Framework.

The Zachman Framework is an Enterprise Architecture framework for enterprise architecture, which provides a formal and highly structured way of viewing and defining an enterprise. The framework is based on the six communication questions (What, Where, Why, Who, and How). These six questions are often shown at the top of the framework and they do not have any specific priority within the framework. The framework is a simple and logical structure for classifying and organizing the descriptive representations of an enterprise. It is significant to both the management of the enterprise, and the actors involved in the development of enterprise systems. While there is no order of priority for the columns of the Framework (What, Where, Why, Who, and How), the top-down order of the rows is significant to the alignment of business concepts and the actual physical enterprise. The rows represent the points of view of different players in the systems development process, while columns represent different aspects of the process. The level of detail in the Framework is a function of each cell (and not the rows). When done by IT the lower level of focus is on information technology, however it can apply equally to physical material (ball valves, piping, transformers, fuse boxes for example) and the associated physical processes, roles, locations etc. related to those items. The rows are generally a top down view of the different players in the system development process. They are often seen in the framework as (Scope, Business Model, Information System Model, Technology Model, Detailed Representations, and Functioning System). The Scope is the ball park view of the enterprise and business purpose. The Business Model is the owners view or the nature of the business, including its structure, function, and organization. The Information System Model is the architects view, or simply a more in-depth analysis of the business model. The Technology Model is the designer’s view of how technology might be used to address the information processing needs of the enterprise. The Detailed Representation is the builder’s view of the programs, database specifications, and networks. The functioning systems are how a system is implemented and made a part of the organization.

The major contribution of the Framework is its explicit recognition that there is more at work here than functions and data. From the beginning, we should be recognizing the organizational issues; from the beginning, we should be dealing with multiple locations; from the beginning we should be explicitly concerned with timing – triggers, schedules, and so forth.

The major contribution of the Framework is its explicit recognition that there is more at work here than functions and data. From the beginning, we should be recognizing the organizational issues; from the beginning, we should be dealing with multiple locations; from the beginning we should be explicitly concerned with timing – triggers, schedules, and so forth. Very simply put in today’s fast paced ever changing world we must adapt or we will disappear. The Zachman Framework is merely a tool for us to use to identify the areas of the Enterprise that are strong and/or week. It will help us to identify the opportunities and threats that we may encounter as we reengineer the processes of the enterprise.

Submitted by Jeff Putt

Notes:

1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zachman_Framework

2.http://zachman.com/ea-articles-reference/54-the-zachman-framework-evolution

3.http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/4140/

4.https://apps.adcom.uci.edu/EnterpriseArch/Zachman/zachman3_files/zachman3.htm

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