Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a strategic planning discipline used by organizations to align business objectives with IT strategy, processes, and infrastructure. One of the key components of EA is the use of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks. These frameworks provide principles and practices for creating and using the architecture description of a system. This blog post will explore three popular EA frameworks: The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture, and the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA).
The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)
TOGAF, developed by The Open Group, is a popular EA framework that provides a comprehensive approach to designing, planning, implementing, and governing an enterprise’s architecture.
Key Components of TOGAF
- Architecture Development Method (ADM): A step-by-step approach to developing an enterprise architecture.
- Enterprise Continuum: A model for structuring a virtual repository and methods for classifying architecture and solution artifacts.
- Architecture Repository: A logical information model for storing different types of architectural outputs.
Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture
The Zachman Framework, created by John Zachman, is a schema for organizing architecture artifacts. It uses a matrix to address multiple perspectives (scope, business concepts, system logic, technology physics, component assemblies, operations classes) against multiple abstractions (what, how, where, who, when, why).
Key Components of Zachman Framework
- Interrogative Framework: Each row in the framework answers a basic interrogative question (What, How, Where, Who, When, Why) providing a holistic view of the enterprise.
- Reuse: The framework encourages the reuse of existing architectural artifacts and provides a way to add more detail to an artifact without losing sight of the big picture.
Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA)
FEA is a reference model designed by the US Federal Government and it provides a common methodology for IT acquisition, use and disposal.
Key Components of FEA
- Reference Models: FEA comprises of five reference models – Performance, Business, Service, Data, and Technology, each describing a different aspect of the federal enterprise architecture.
- Consolidation: FEA aims to identify opportunities to simplify processes and unify work across the agencies and within the lines of business of the federal government.
While TOGAF, Zachman, and FEA each have their own strengths, the choice of an EA framework often depends on the specific needs and context of the organization. Regardless of the framework chosen, the ultimate goal of EA remains the same: to create a cohesive and holistic IT environment that aligns with business objectives and is flexible enough to adapt to changing business needs and technologies.