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Building Collaborative Business Value - The Synergy Project

  • May 04 2006, 1:00am EDT

Synergy is defined by Merriam-Webster as: "mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts)."

In their desire to build value for business and technology communities and in the spirit of cooperation, the Integration Consortium (IC), Object Management Group (OMG) and The Open Group (TOG) have joined forces to develop a formal, business model-driven, industry-independent, standards-based enterprise architecture development methodology. These organizations seek to develop a framework for enterprise architectures that will enable business operations to interoperate with their peers in other enterprises as well as share information within and across their boundaries.

TOGAF ADM - MDA Synergy Project

Building architecture and urban planning are critical for the effective and safe construction of towns and cities. Similarly, enterprise architecture is critical to the construction of business enterprises, their supporting information services and their inter-working with other business enterprises. An enterprise architecture can reduce the total operational costs, stimulate reuse and improve sustainable business value, yet many organizations struggle with the complexity of change and innovation in the IT industry and fail to leverage the business opportunities that enterprise architecture delivers. Fortunately for these organizations, developing enterprise architecture needn't be a struggle. A coordinated, disciplined approach to developing and implementing standards-based enterprise architectures will result in solutions that are focused on meeting the organization's business needs. Developing such an approach is the goal of the TOGAF ADM - MDA Synergy Project.

The approach of the three collaborating organizations is to work together to describe and promulgate the enormous synergy that exists between their various enterprise architecture and integration initiatives (described below). The conclusions drawn from this activity will be applied to actual test cases drawn from the industry to provide valuable business requirements and directions for the initiative that reflect real-world requirements.

TOG's TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) is a detailed, industry-standard method (based on U.S. Department of Defense's Technical Architectural Framework for Information Management [TAFIM]) for developing architectures for enterprise systems that address the needs of business, technology and data systems, and their unification. It calls for the development of a number of architectural models in order to effectively describe the architecture.

The IC's Global Integration Framework (GIF) brings together industry standards, integration best practices, formal modeling techniques and other initiatives to create a prescriptive approach to systems integration. The Total Business Integration Methodology (TBI) is a business-process oriented methodology designed for projects that are integrating data, applications and processes within or across multiple business units using heterogeneous systems throughout the enterprise.

OMG's Model Driven Architecture (MDA) is the industry's leading standards-based approach to model-based, business-focused architecture and systems development. Backed by tools and based upon years of industrial best practice, it helps ensure that enterprise software is developed in a way that conforms to the chosen architecture. It provides for the reusability and easy maintainability of the components of the architecture throughout its lifecycle - supporting the cycle from business requirements to implementation and maintenance.

The essential elements of the project and the synergy to be gained is to combine the TOGAF ADM, which addresses process but not standards for the deliverables, with the OMG's MDA, which does provide a set of model-based content standards but has no standard for how to combine those for the purpose of enterprise architecture, and with IC providing real-world user input and validation.

Business Value

The business value of this coordinated effort can be articulated in many ways. It will develop an approach to developing enterprise architecture that:

  • Is focused on meeting business needs .
  • Yields a process for creating higher quality and lower cost deliverables, reuse of architecture and standards-based traceability from the operations level back to business requirements.
  • Improves the communications and understanding between the architecture, development and operations personnel.
  • Facilitates the efficient and effective integration of enterprise applications
  • Provides opportunities for tools vendors to create products that leverage a proven chain of methods and standards.
  • Promotes a greater collaboration among consultancies and system integrators and their subcontractors in managing large, complex projects through leveraging well-articulated methods and guidelines.


Project deliverables will include:

  • A set of standards: enabling the use of a repeatable architecture methodology across all projects, programs and portfolios, thus ensuring integration and interoperability; enabling technology development, evaluation and selection methods to be mapped to business goals and strategies; promoting reuse; and supporting increased system development flexibility/agility/adaptability, etc. in a cohesive and disciplined way.
  • Guidelines and descriptive business best practices providing methods and procedures for improved product/service quality from concept to implementation.
  • Reports and white papers.
  • Various services that may include (among others) certification of implemented standards.


Current work entails modeling modules of TOGAF ADM using MDA's Software Process Engineering Metamodel (SPEM) specification. SPEM presents a metamodel and UML Profile that is used to describe a concrete software development process or a family of related software development processes. The purpose of this activity is twofold. First, building upon the TOGAF ADM development work with The Open Group's Architecture Forum, it serves as standardized form for validation of the principles set forth. Second, it serves as a validation for ensuring SPEM can accurately serve as a notation for a mature enterprise architecture development process.

Rather than simply being a theoretical exercise, the conclusions drawn from this activity will be applied to actual pilot projects drawn from industry to exercise and validate the standards and guidelines recommended by this effort. The first, the Torpedo Enterprise Advanced Modeling and Simulation (TEAMS) Initiative, will provide valuable business requirements and directions for the initiative to reflect the requirements of commercial, government and defense contributors. The second, as yet to be identified, will apply Synergy Project deliverables to a full-scale, enterprise-level application.

Three major IT consortia are collaborating to develop a coordinated, disciplined approach to developing and implementing standards-based enterprise architectures. The benefit to business leaders is IT solutions that are focused on meeting an organization's business needs. The benefit to the technical community - enterprise architects - will be a more seamless architecture model that spans several layers of architecture planning from the highest-level business modeling to the most detailed systems specifications.

Contributing authors include all of the Synergy Project team members from the Integration Consortium, OMG and The Open Group with a special acknowledgement to Fred Waskiewicz, director of standards at the Object Management Group, Ed Harrington, executive vice president & COO of Data Access Technologies, Inc. and chairman of the Synergy Project, Pete Rivett, CTO of Adaptive Inc., and Michael Kuhbock, chairman of the Integration Consortium.

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