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Book Review: Enterprise Architecture Using the Zachman Framework

Published
  • June 01 2003, 1:00am EDT

Enterprise portals and Web services achieve enterprise integration through technology integration. However, enterprise integration also depends on business integration through enterprise architecture. This month we will review a recently published book, Enterprise Architecture using the Zachman Framework by Carol O'Rourke, Neal Fishman and Warren Selkow. In December 2001, at the annual ZIFA Forum (Zachman Institute for Framework Advancement) in Scottsdale, Arizona, my good friend Warren Selkow drew me aside to say they were writing a book to teach the concepts of Enterprise Architecture using the Zachman Framework.

They told me the book was to be a university text for undergraduates and graduates, but they also wanted to address the community-college level. It was also for business, government and defense organizations. This was an extremely ambitious undertaking! When they asked me if I would write the foreword, I accepted as my curiosity had been whetted. As they sent me each chapter to review, the significance of the book emerged. They were succeeding in their ambitious objective.

This brilliant book introduces the concepts of enterprise architecture with humor, using lessons from history. Before this book was written, enterprise architecture was presented in a very abstract way. This made the importance and power of enterprise architecture difficult to communicate.

Enterprise architecture is a rigorous way of thinking about any problem or problem domain. The framework concepts are simple, but its application is powerful. The framework shows how complex problems using enterprise architecture can be resolved by considering all the perspectives and aspects that must be addressed to understand each specific problem or domain.

Perspectives enable a problem domain to be viewed through the eyes of all who need to be involved: the planner, owner, designer, builder, subcontractor and functioning enterprise. These people and their different interests must all be understood if the result produced is to address their various needs.

Aspects are the what, how, where, who, when and why questions that must be asked to understand each problem domain. These need to be asked from each person's perspective.

The majority of applications do not successfully address the needs of the business due to the complexity of most enterprises and the complexity of systems development. The problems are endemic and are due to the inability of businesspeople and IT people to communicate effectively. The Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture brings clarity and understanding to all.

The Framework enables businesspeople to be sure their requirements are met from a business perspective without requiring them to become technology experts. The Framework enables IT people to understand the business needs from an IT perspective and does not require them to become business experts. It helps business and IT people communicate effectively by considering complex problems from each person's perspective in terms of the six aspects.

The Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture enables senior business managers to be sure that all requisite business controls needed for corporate governance and accountability can be implemented. The Framework helps ensure the systems, when built by IT, address the needs and responsibilities of each person who should be supported. It provides a clear way to ensure all requirements are addressed, providing a road map for business survivability and success.

This is not a dry technical text. This book not only informs and instructs, but also entertains! This is why I love it ­ not just for the book's importance, but because it is fun to read.

The book is an invaluable aid for teaching, but has also been written for self-study. It does not require prior knowledge of computers or of information technology. The text is intended to be used in many disciplines including: business administration, business management, computer science, information systems, information technology and organizational management.

In business, government and defense organizations, this book leads business managers and their business experts ­ at all management levels ­ through the use of enterprise architecture using the Framework. It teaches them to think about the planning, design and establishment or restructuring of any complex enterprise. The book teaches experienced IT staff how to think about the planning, design and construction of systems (manual or automated) that are needed to support the enterprise. Such IT staff includes CIOs, CTOs, IT managers, information engineers, enterprise engineers, business process reengineers, systems analysts, business analysts, data analysts, process analysts, data administrators, project managers and many others.

The authors have done their work well. This book will be widely read and used by all of their projected audiences. I enthusiastically recommend it to you.

Book reference details: Enterprise Architecture Using the Zachman Framework, Carol O'Rourke, Neal Fishman and Warren Selkow, published by Course Technology, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Boston, MA (2003). ISBN: 0-619-06446-3. Publication date: April 2003.

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