Archive for August, 2009

How to survive in the jungle of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks

JungleFront

This is an interesting book in a not particularly useful way. Really for C level executives it gives a potted history of the development of architectural frameworks. Given the almost mindless acceptance of TOGAF that seems to be occurring at the moment, I’d suggest that it might be an ideal time to read this book.

The book sets a clear context for EA and spends a few pages, too few on the critical success factors for EA, EA measurement processes and EA program validation. The real contribution however, begins when it addresses the question of creating and choosing a framework.

It lists, explains and describes the underlying principles of the 15 or so frameworks that you are most likely to encounter. I think one could say that it does this in a casual but fairly objective manner, bearing in mind its intended audience. If you are failure with GERA or are intimately familiar with a sophisticated framework then this book will probably be too lightweight for you.

The book also points out a trend, which has been underway for a while, but in my observation still remains largely unnoticed. That is the need for extended frameworks to support the inter organizational collaboration that seems increasingly to be the way in which corporations seek agility.

This is not a book to start your library with, but it can make a contribution to your architectural education. While concise, it could be little better written. I’d suggest a rewrite of the back cover for starters. At around 270 small pages it’s the kind of book you can read on the train. It’s worth a place on your bookshelf, but only as a lightweight reference.

Schekkerman, Jaap (2006), How to survive in the jungle of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks, 3rd Edition, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, British Columbia.

ISBN 141201607-x

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Enterprise Architecure Sourcebook

BabersFront

This book can only be described as a titanic effort. Designed as a source book for architects working in the US defense industry this epic consists of three volumes, Process and Products, Data-Centric Architecture and a volume on Architecture Based Assessments to Support Capabilities Acquisitions. By my calculation these volumes contain over 1870 pages.

If you work in defence then I’d recommend you get a copy, if you don’t then I wouldn’t be in a hurry to add a copy to your collection, borrow a friend’s. While the books are clearly written with the defence industry in mind the techniques and tools have a wider application and the origin of the book should not preclude none defence architects from having a look at it.

These volumes contain useful sections on planning, governance, training and architectural integration and validation. The size of the work allows a completeness that few other works manage to achieve. While it’s written in plain english with complete sets of instructions and lists of deliverables; it contains arconyms and concepts that the unintiated will not be familiar with.

These are specialist works for defense architects, not for the manager or the novice and probably not for most none defense architects. But, not without considerable merit. Mr Babers is to be applauded for his tenacity.

Babers, Charles, (2006),”The Enterprise Architecture Sourcebook”, Charles Babers, El Paso, Texas, vol.1 – 3.

ISBN 978-1-84728-925-4

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Handbook of Enterprise Systems Architecture in Practice

SahaFront

In some ways this book is sort of a soft sciences version of of Bernus et al. Handbook on Enterprise Architecture. Saha presents us with  twenty six case studies organized in five sections. These are Frameworks and Methodologies, Governance and Management, Transformation and Value Realization, Implementation and Deployment and Technology and Service-Orientated Architecture.

Each section contains a number of chapters written by experienced architects, this is very much Enterprise Systems Architecture in Practice, any reference to theory is typically couched in a practical context thus bridging a gap that many publications fail. This book is the collective knowledge of a lot of talented people and contains a lot of thought provoking points and painful experiences.

This is not a book to start your collection with and its probably not a book for the manager or the novice, but it is none the less an excellent book that delivers. Well written, but not overly academic this is a big book of 460+ pages of carefully selected quality EA writing, beautifully presented. There really isn’t much else to say about it. I’d suggest that it is destined to become a classic.

Saha, Pallab (ed) (2007), Handbook of Enterprise Systems Architecture in Practice, Information Science Reference, Idea Group Inc, Hershey.

ISBN 978-159904189-6

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Lightweight Enterprise Architectures

ThuerekornFront

This is another one of those methodology born of experience books. Predominately practically orientated, if it does have an underlying philosophy it is start simple and stay simple. The book has an entire chapter dedicated to spelling out its philosophy which as one might guess it all about being simple and consumable. According to LEA complexity is the root of most IT evils. LEA makes no excuses or grand claims it is not in its own words a pristine architecture or a business strategy.

This is a surprisingly comprehensive work given its size 300+ pages and that includes about 100 pages of reference material that basically describes the LEA artifacts. There is also a very good chapter on Dysfunctional Enterprise Architectures.

LEA divides architecture into three broad domains Strategic Architecture which engages the business leadership, Conceptual Architecture which develops the road maps and Execution Architecture which guides the projects that implement the architecture.

LEA is careful to define the architect’s role in each of the three architectural domains. An important point that many authors fail to recognize or elaborate on. And while careful consideration is given to the SDLC; LEA is not as obsessed with it as McGovern and company.

This approach gives LEA a scope considerably broader than many similar practical methodologies. While I’m not sure how well LEA would ultimately scale its emphasis on the strategic perhaps makes it better fit for organizations that have already grasped the importance of the enterprise part of EA. This is not the sort of  methodology that you could  sneak in through the back project.

This is not a manager’s book and its not a novice’s book, if you are starting an EA practice in a small to medium size organization you could do a lot worse than use this. The most surprising thing about this book is that more people haven’t read it.

Theuerkon, Fenix (2005), Lightweight Enterprise Architecture, Auerbach Publications, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton.

ISBN 0-8493-2114-X

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An Enterprise Architecture Development Framework

GrigoriuFront

This is another EA Framework and Methodology aimed at securing business – IT alignment. It is however a little more sophisticated than most and has as its foundation a  fairly unique framework which is worth some consideration.

Grigoriu’s Function, Flow Layer and Views (FFLV) Framework underpins four domains, Development, Support, Governance and Operations know collectively as GODS. Each domain contains a number of functions and there are three views of each function; process, technology and people. The emphasis on business processes and the organization of its domains arguably assures that this approach is better aligned than most.

The methodology is supported by a light weight section on business case development which in turn is support by some pretty strong accounting based arguments for the ROI of EA. If you’re still having those sort of stupid discussions in your organization this book will provide you with some good ammunition.

The book is mostly about architecture and while it tackles the interface between architecture and system development this is not the book’s strong point. Although it does make a better fist of  data mapping to functions than the typical methodology book this too is really an aside.

The book  also contains a useful section on EA best practices which it delivers in a concise, although arguably a too simplistic a manner.

This is a competent book and while it isn’t as complete as its author would like you to believe; which was always unlikely at 220+ pages, it contains enough different ideas and approaches to earn its place on your bookshelf. Not a book for managers, but a good set of alternate views that will extend the horizons of most architects, novice or experienced.  In short, it’s a bit different and definitely worth a look.

Grigoriu, Adrian (2007), An Enterprise Architecture Development Framework, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, British Columbia.

ISBN 141208665-5

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A Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture

McGovernFront

This is very much a practical guide to doing EA. McGovern and associates offer a six tier Enterprise Architecture model consisting of Business, Information, Operation, Organizational, Architectural and Infrastructure domains. From this promising theoretical start the book dives far too quickly into technical detail. In an attempt to make the topic accessible it abandons the rigor of establishing its foundation and gives only a passing glance to key issues like the role of the architect. Which is a pity given the breadth of the authors’ collective expertise.

Using a case study of a newly appointed Enterprise Architect the book works its way through the problem. Starting with an underdone establishment of the value of EA and heading altogether too quickly for the software development methodology. It’s not difficult to pick the authors’ background.

By page 12 the book has decided that SOA is the answer and from there on in similar and equally unarchitectural ways the book unquestioningly presents a series of solutions. Which to be fair were in 2004; when this book was published, pretty much the accepted wisdom. Unfortunately, like all EA books that go technical some of those choices don’t look so good now, UDDI for example. The problem with this is when the suggested solution doesn’t fit the reader is lost and they haven’t been equipped to make an alternate decision.

Now this all sounds a bit negative but, I always say that you can tell how practical a book is by the number of pages that have been marked. How many pieces of wisdom are underlined? For a book of just 300+ pages my copy has more than its fair share. There are a lot of useful and insightful comments in this book. Again the authors’ experience shines through.

I would not use this book as a foundation for establishing an EA practice. I would not recommend it for a novice architect. It is not earth shattering, in fact it’s a bit pedestrian. It’s kind of Carbone written by a dozen people, with an irritating case study substituting for theory. Is it useful? Very. Should I have a copy of it? Definitely, particularly if you are working at the solution delivery end of the architectural spectrum.

McGovern, James, Ambler, Scott W., Stevens, Michael E., Linn, James, Sharan, Vikas, and Jo, Elias K. (2004), A Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture, The Coad Series, Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

ISBN 0-13-141275-2

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Enterprise Architecture at Work

LankhorstFront

When talking to architects the subject of gap analysis often comes up and I can’t help but ask exactly what they mean by that? How do they intend to do it? The response is often no more than a sheepish glance. The poverty of analysis is an issue for most architectural practices and the distinction between free form thinking and rigorous analysis is often swept under the carpet.

As architects we know that the later that a problem is identified the more expensive it is to fix. So why is there not more work done on analysis techniques. Without analysis we’re in danger slipping into a documentation orientated paradigm the value of which is questionable. The purpose  of EA is to develop useful insights; not the creation of documents that becomes an end in itself.

I’m frequently impressed by the quality of European EA writing and this book is another fine example. It’s not a large book 330+ pages, it’s well written, but the language is perhaps a little more formal than the typical North American publication. But, the tone is probably the result of the authors’ rigor. Given the book’s origins that’s not surprising. It’s the produce of the GRAAL project of the Archimate consortium from the Netherlands. For those not familiar with the GRAAL framework I can recommend investigating it; it will be time well spent.

This is an excellent work, not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination. This is hard core enterprise architecture at work. The techniques are deep and sophisticated. There are conversation strategies, guide lines for modeling symbolic and semantic models and a mathematically supported framework for analysis. This book is not an out of the box quick fix, it is about developing “REAL” architectural capabilities. Think EA meets engineering.

This book is NOT for the novice or the manager. You’ll have to read it several times and ignore the sales pitch. If you are an architect with some experience this is a great book to take you to the next level.

Lankhorst, Marc, et al. (2005), Enterprise Architecture at Work, Telematica Instituut, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

ISBN 3-540-24371-2

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Constructing Blueprints for Enterprise IT Architectures

BoarFront

This book tackles one of the most difficult areas of EA the transition from the abstract planning to the physical implementation. This book came out of developments at AT&T.  Because telco’s  business is basically “virtual” the selling of an ethereal  phone call which requires a hardware foundation; which they would rather not have to build, they are an accelerated  microcosm of the broader digital economy. Telco’s, because of their size  hit a lot constraints earlier than other industries. This makes the thoughts of their EA teams interesting for other similarly digital organizations like banks.

In Zachmanian terms this book  gives us a way of expressing the Designer’s perspective a key piece of the process that ties the Planners and Owners to the Builders. As I’ve already said a very difficult space to master.

Although the introduction sets a business context this book is all about technique and tools. While it makes use of the Gartner 40 cell framework and the Index consulting 16 cell framework to establish the architectural states its real contribution is in filling out the detail and preparing for execution.

Numerous pages of the book (300+ pages) contain details of the format of the various documents. This is where the book’s age may be starting to show. While the ideas are still valid some of the frameworks have been superseded and one must wonder if tools like System Architect or Enterprise Architect might now represent a more productive approach. All that said, the act of filling out framework cells can be very informative.

This book still has a place on your bookshelf, but  skim over the forms design. Unless of course your still doing everything manually, in which case you need to have a careful think about a lot things!

Boar, Bernard, H. (1999), Constructing Blueprints for Enterprise IT Architectures, Wiley Computer Publishing, New York.

ISBN 0-471-29620-1

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Enterprise Architecture as Strategy

RWRFront

You can always tell a book is having an impact when people create a short hand for its name Ross, Weill and Robertson (RWR) have certainly done that.

This book is the state of the art strategy / EA fusion argument. Based on years of research by the Sloane School at MIT this book makes a compelling case for the use of EA. Not only do RWR advocate the use of EA and  support it with hard research, but they insist that EA become a core skill central to the development of the organization’s strategy and management.

In simple straight forward language they make no bones about the extent of change required. Talking about managers they state in a matter of fact way that “they will need to learn new behaviors”  with the “shifting of flexibility between local and global” (p. 81) In short, they advocate a major shake up in management and structure. This is the beginning of the end of amateur  IT management. Not before time I say.

This book is going to be very confronting for many managers, because the message is that basically they’re not up to it and they are going to have to surrender power to more competent centralized groups. But, if the organization is to truly exploit IT and create its “foundation of execution” then this is inevitable.

I understand that a major Australian bank has used this book as its “bible” for its current transformation, which includes the replacement of 30 year old core systems. Their objective is to be able to change business models in 20 minutes. With RWR’s vision implemented;  if that’s possible,  it might be doable. But I say good luck to them. It’ll be interesting to revisit them in 12 months.

This book is aimed principally at C level executives and chief architects. While very much at the business end of the EA spectrum I’d suggest that it would be a useful addition to most EA libraries.

Ross, Jeanne W., Weill, Peter and  Robertson, David C.  (2006), Enterprise Architecture as Strategy, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

ISBN 1-59139-839-8

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ITArchitecture Toolkit

CarboneFront

This text  is exactly what the title says, a toolkit.  Easy to read and at around 230 pages not too taxing this is a set of techniques developed through experience.

While very practical the methodology is  short of a sound theoretical foundation. While it has obviously been successful,  I’d question whether a reader without Carbone’s  tacit knowledge could be as successful. I’d also question its value in planning and directing architecture above the tactical level of a single project.

However, having said all that if you have an isolated project in need of a broader perspective and particularly one that  is similar to the case studies then I’d  suggest that you could do a lot worse than this.

This book is an IT focused Bernard at half throttle.  But, this methodology will be a better fit for some organizations’  architectural capabilities than Bernard’s.  On  the right course, this horse will do just fine.

Carbone, Jane A.  (2004), IT Architecture Toolkit, Harris Kern’s Enterprise Computing Institute, Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

ISBN 0-131-47379-4

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