In the early 1980s, there was little interest in the idea of enterprise reengineering or enterprise modeling, and the use of formalisms and models was generally limited to some aspects of application development within the information systems community. The subject of "architecture" was acknowledged at that time; however, there was little definition to support the concept. This lack of definition precipitated the initial investigation that ultimately resulted in the "Framework for Information Systems Architecture." Although from the outset it was clear that it should have been referred to as a "Framework for Enterprise Architecture," that enlarged perspective could only now begin to be generally understood as a result of the relatively recent and increased worldwide focus on enterprise "engineering."

The Framework as it applies to enterprises is simply a logical structure for classifying and organizing the descriptive representations of an enterprise that are significant to the management of the enterprise as well as to the development of the enterprise's systems. It was derived from analogous structures that are found in the older disciplines of architecture/construction and engineering/manufacturing that classify and organize the design artifacts created over the process of designing and producing complex physical products (e.g., buildings or airplanes.)

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