Survey of Architecture Frameworks

A Very Happy New Year 2017 to all!

After many months of inactivity due to serious personal matters, I am back on my research. As I have to redo my literature review to avoid repeating somebody else work as well as keep myself up-to-date with latest developments in the domain of EA, I am visiting a number of online architecture-related sources. In one of them and more particularly the ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 website, I came across a table, which provides a fairly comprehensive list with different Architecture Frameworks. Despite the list does not only contain EAFs – I will understand if some of you have difficulties with the definition  – the work being invested in putting together all information is pretty amazing. What I find really great is that virtually each row contains a link (GIYF if it is broken) to a pertinent source, information is being regularly updated ( the last update occurred on 23/12/2016), and finally proprietary and largely unknown European EAFs are mentioned such as the CEAF sponsored and still used by the European Commission services.

My aim is to contribute to further improving it and publish shortly a new table with the EAFs that I have analysed for the purpose of my research.  Meanwhile, I encourage you to visit the ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 page .

Writing an article for EAF selection and tailoring

I am currently in the process of producing a paper about the provision of a method capable of addressing the selection and tailoring of an Enterprise Architecture Framework (EAF).

I know, the idea is a bit  ambitious but it is driven by the fact that there is no industry standard to universally accepted method allowing that. To my knowledge as a doctorate researcher and IT practitioner, most organisations either rely on their own past experience (good or bad), seek the (often expensive) opinion of  external consultants who most likely have little knowledge on the organisation’s specificities and would feel more comfortable to promote their preferred EAF, or good luck-no, I am not kidding! This may sometimes explain why EA fails for some organisations. Of course, this is one of the reasons.

After reviewing several pertinent articles, books and websites, I came to the conclusion that a better approach is to combine the strengths of three different techniques such as 1) develop domain ontology using past works are input (there are many excellent works out there),  2) build a method that makes use of the ontology and in which quantitative as well as quantitative aspects in a selection are combined, and  2) assess/ incorporate somehow the impact of perceived risks in the final outcome. Why so many? In a nutshell, such problem cannot be easily dealt with a single solution as, for instance, discuss it on the basis of a single list of criteria. On the other hand, it is hard for me to believe that an EAF is something that solely concerns the IT. As a business user, imagine yourself suddenly confronted with the processes and artefacts imposed by the EAF chosen by somebody(ies) in the IT sector of your organisation. How does it feel?

Suppose now that you want to be part of the selection jury whose job is to deciding upon the best-suited EAF and all what you get is a list of arbitrarily defined criteria. With the worst being having a techie compiling that list. Probably, it will take longer for somebody to explain you in pure business terms what each of them means and why is relevant to your needs. Am I wrong?

I assume, it is needless for me to explain why assessing and incorporating risks is crucial. An easy way to determine that is by thinking of the size, culture and maturity of your organisation and then recall a case where a large change was introduced. Generally speaking, a process where multiple stakeholders are involved it comes along with risks and those need to be taken into consideration. In turn, their impact should reflect to the final outcome. Otherwise, what’s the need to be aware of  them and do nothing. Right?

My great hope is that the paper is finalised before December this year and then send to one of the journal publisher for review. I am also planning to post here a stable draft of the paper including the ontology in OWL format in the course of November.

Please feel free to comment on the approach or idea.

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