To define Enterprise Architecture, we need to articulate the concepts required to understand what architecture is.

If you want better results, you have to change the processes that produce those results.  If you attempt change without structure (ontology) and a mutually supportive process (methodology) it will be risky and expensive! Methodologies with ontology produce architecture.  Methodologies without ontology produce chaos!

Doug Erickson met John Zachman in 1980, even before there was a Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture.  John revealed his concept of Enterprise Architecture to Doug in 1983 before it became known as the ZFEA.  The ZFEA as initially called the Framework for Information Systems Architecture.  (Of course, that was before we knew what John was actually discovering.)

John and Doug have been collaborators ever since.  As John has stated, “I have spent a lifetime developing the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture, Doug has spent a lifetime developing the Erickson Methodology for Enterprise Architecture (EMEA)!

Since the creation of the ZFEA, the continuing challenge has been HOW to develop an enterprise architecture that is actionable.  A primary issue in the on-going build or buy debate is WHO is going to build it, and WHAT functional capability does their product provide?  Currently, WHO does the building pretty much uses the same HOW as all the other WHOs doing the building.  The essential, more complete question should be, WHO does WHAT, HOW, and you might even need to know a little about WHY?  Most current approaches focus mostly on the WHO and the WHAT, and not enough on the HOW and the WHY!

An Architect, as we commonly know them, architects and designs buildings; and in many cases oversees the construction of those buildings.  This dual role of the Enterprise Architect is critical to the discipline of Enterprise Architecture.  The Enterprise Architect must be intimately involved in the design and manufacture of the enterprise to ensure that the enterprise architecture is not compromised during the design and manufacture of the enterprise.

In the building analogy, an Architect (or Architects) designs the building to an excruciating level of detail.  Then a builder (General Contractor) takes the Architect’s design and builds whatever the architect(s) designed.  If the thing to be built is large and complex, there may be several builders (subcontractors) involved in the building of the thing the architect(s) designed.

In Enterprise Architecture, the Enterprise Architect architects the enterprise and must oversee the engineering and construction of the enterprise to ensure that the integrity of the architectural drawings (often referred to as models) end up being the basis for the manifestation of the enterprise.

When building a house, all of the participants (carpenters, concrete workers, electricians, plumbers, etc. all participate in constructing the entire house.  The current IT approach to a project does not include the process of architecting the enterprise as would occur in the case of building a house.  Current IT projects begin by designing a segment (like a room in the house) of the enterprise, and all the participants work on that segment to the exclusion of all the other segments of the enterprise.  Subsequently, they, or a different group of people, proceed to build another segment (room) in the enterprise using different methods, different materials, even different tools, all the while expecting all of the enterprise “rooms” to form a coherent, cohesive, integrated enterprise.  Good Luck!

The Erickson Methodology for Enterprise Architecture (EMEA) is a methodology aligned with the ZFEA.

ENTARCO provides full life-cycle education, training, and consulting services that includes:

  1. Enterprise Architecture Planning,
  2. Enterprise Architecting (Design and specification),
  3. Enterprise Engineering (Systems Design), and
  4. Enterprise Construction (Systems Development).

Planning – defining the enterprise scope and context.

Architecting – specifying the enterprise detailed form and function.

Engineering -  designing the existence of the enterprise.

Manufacturing -  creating the functioning enterprise

Our Erickson Methodology for Enterprise Architecture (EMEA) is based on the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture.  The EMEA has evolved over the last 40 years and has matured as a model-based enterprise development methodology that enables us to achieve unprecedented:

  1. Enterprise alignment, integration, flexibility, and responsiveness,
  2. Enterprise Data Management (EDM) and Enterprise Business Process Management (EBPM) that results in unparalleled, consistent quality through the elimination of redundancy and very extensive reuse of data and application logic, and
  3. Reduction of development and maintenance costs which have been demonstrated to be one-fifth (1/5th) the cost of traditional development approaches or one-third (1/3rd) the cost of acquiring and implementing purchased packages.

Due to our extensive Enterprise Architecture, applications, and database development experience, we have developed a few extensive data models that we can make available to our clients.  These models have demonstrated their applicability and transferability to various enterprises.  These models make a significant contribution to reducing the cost and lead-time for developing new, very high-quality enterprise databases and applications.

Our experience has also enabled us to provide a very state-of-the-art data management capability in the form of an Enterprise Database (EDB).  Our innovative Enterprise Database has the capability to:

  1. replace application-specific databases,
  2. easily keep track of every fact over time,
  3. minimize, and even eliminate, data interfaces among application databases
  4. reduce or eliminate future data conversions, and
  5. significantly reduce the cost and effort to develop and maintain Data Warehouses when needed.

Another major EMEA innovation is our approach to developing our concept of Data Services whereby the application logic to interact with the databases is designed and developed to maximize the reuse of the data and the application logic.

Our EMEA incorporates and advances the practical use of such concepts as object-oriented design and development, SOA, Agile development, component based development; and achieves dramatic reuse of data and application logic.

The application of the concept of granular, primitive elements, and their dependencies optimizes opportunities for their reuse, lowest per-unit cost, highest reliability, and maximum flexibility.  In other words, recognizing and understanding the primitive elements that comprise the composite model is key to unlocking the inherent benefits of EA.

These inherent qualitative benefits of EA are:

  1. Alignment of the implemented enterprise with the requirements of a well-functioning, high-performance enterprise,
  2. Integration of the elements of an enterprise into mutually supportive and non-redundant, seamless operations,
  3. The flexibility that allows the enterprise to evolve with relative ease and without excessive cost,
  4. Responsiveness to be able to adapt to change in a timely manner.

Consequently, if EA is ever going to achieve the recognition it should and deliver its inherent value, a methodology that is designed to achieve those results must be applied to the EA effort.

Effective and efficient management of change requires that you have a complete, stable, consistent, and explicit baseline upon which to manage change.  Anything less will result in a piecemeal, random, trial-and-error approach to making changes.  Without this baseline, change will be difficult, time-consuming, and very expensive.

These benefits can be achieved because we deliver and implement an Enterprise Architecture that is stable and flexible, non-redundant code and data, reusable data and code, and both designed for change. 

ENTARCO delivers value.  Our experience has shown that we can and do deliver enterprise architected systems at one-fifth of the cost of conventional development  approaches and up to one-third the cost of acquiring and implementing  purchased package solutions!

ENTARCO has the methodology and the experience to deliver exceptional Enterprise Architecture Services.

“It is my opinion that…the methodology used on this project to define and understand explicitly (to the excruciating level of detail) the business processes and needs, and then to develop a system that meets those needs, has set a very high standard to which IT should be held in future projects.  From a data integrity perspective, having each piece of information identified by date/time, stored only once, and used as required, supports accuracy and efficiency.”

Willian Darlage, Director, Actuarial Department, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation referring to results achieved using the Erickson Methodology for Enterprise Architecture (2001)

You can learn more about ENTARCO, our Enterprise Architecture Services, and the Erickson Methodology for Enterprise Architecture on our Blog.

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