Enterprise Architecture at Work

Modelling, Communication and Analysis

Editor’s Note : What follows is an excerpt of Enterprise Architecture at Work – Modelling, Communication and Analysis, a book written by Marc Lankhorst, a managing consultant and chief technology evangelist at BiZZdesign. Those interested in acquiring the book can do so here.

Many stakeholders within and outside the company can be identified, ranging from top-level management to software engineers. Each stake­holder requires specific information presented in an accessible way, to deal with the impact of such wide-ranging developments. To predict the effects of such developments and modifications of an organisation’s business and IT, it is necessary but very difficult to obtain an overview of these changes and their impact on each other, and to provide both decision makers and engineers implementing the changes with the information they need.

This book is about enterprise architecture, the practice that tries to de­scribe and control an organisation’s structure, processes, applications, systems, and technology in such an integrated way. More specifically, we focus on methods and techniques for making and using integrated descrip­tions by means of architecture models, visualisation of these models for various stakeholders, and analysis of the impact of changes.

The unambiguous specification and description of components and es­pecially their relationships in an architecture requires a coherent architec­ture modelling language. Such a language must enable integrated model­ling of architectural domains and should be appreciated both by people from IT and by people with a business background. In this book, we pre­sent such an enterprise modelling language that captures the complexity of architectural domains and their relations and allows the construction of integrated enterprise architecture models. We provide architects with con­crete instruments that may improve their architectural practice.

Furthermore, we provide techniques and heuristics for communicating with all relevant stakeholders about these architectures. Central to the communication of architectures is the notion of viewpoint. Viewpoints de­fine abstractions on the set of models representing the enterprise architec­ture, each aimed at a particular type of stakeholder and addressing a par­ticular set of concerns.

An architecture model is not just useful to provide insight into the current or future situation; it can also be used to evaluate the transition from ‘as is’ to ‘to be’. We therefore provide analysis methods for assessing both the qualitative impact of changes to an architecture and quantitative aspects of architectures, such as performance and cost issues.

In order to make the approach we envisage practically feasible, archi­tects require a tool environment, which supports the definition, generation, editing, visualisation, analysis, and management of architecture models and views. Moreover, such an environment should work in concert with existing domain-specific modelling tools, since we cannot expect archi­tects to start using other tools, let alone other languages, than the ones they are used to. We therefore present the design of a viewpoint-driven enterprise modelling environment that can provide just this support, and a vision on the future of model-driven enterprise archi­tecture tooling.

The ArchiMate modelling language and the other techniques in the book have been proven in practice in numerous real-life case studies, and since its transfer to The Open Group, the language has become the de facto standard for enterprise architecture modelling. To put these instru­ments into context, the book also addresses the use of enterprise architec­ture models and techniques in governance, with a focus on alleviating the infamous business–IT alignment problem.

Overview of the Book

In the first chapter, we give an introduction to architecture in general and enterprise architecture in particular, outline its drivers, and describe the architecture process. Chapter 2 provides an overview of methods and techniques currently used in this field. Following this, we outline the foundations of our approach to enterprise architecture modelling (Chap. 3). We then describe our view of architecture as being primarily a means of communication with all the stakeholders involved (Chap. 4).

Architectures are fruitfully used both in requirements analysis and design for new applications, business processes, etc., and to gain insight into existing systems (in the broad sense). In our approach, the use of architecture models has a central role; the ArchiMate modelling language used throughout the rest of the book is introduced in Chap. 5. In Chap. 6, we show how this modelling language works together with other management, architecture, and modelling standards and approaches. And having a language is not enough: the architect also needs to be guided in its use, which is the topic of Chap. 7.

Many stakeholders with different goals or concerns in mind can view architectures. Each of these requires its own depictions of (part of) an architecture model, and the creation, use of such views and viewpoints is the topic of Chap. 8. Given that we have accurate models of an architecture, we can subject these models to various types of analysis, to establish for example what the impact of a change might be, or whether the performance of the technical infrastructure is sufficient given the applications and business processes that use it. These analyses are discussed in Chap. 9.

The practical applications of these modelling, visualisation, and analysis techniques are the topic of the next three chapters. In Chap. 10, experiences and best practices from case studies regarding the alignment of business, applications, and infrastructures are presented. These provide the context in which architectures are designed. Chapter 11 describes our vision on software support for enterprise architecture. Chapter 12 presents our practical experience with applying ArchiMate in a number of real-life case studies. Finally, Chap. 13 provides a vision of the future: what is next; what comes ‘after’ architecture?

Marc Lankhorst is a managing consultant and chief technology evangelist at BiZZdesign. He is responsible for BiZZdesign’s vision, market development, consulting and coaching on digital business design and enterprise architecture, and for spreading the word on the ArchiMate® language for enterprise architecture modeling,  the Open Group standard of which he has managed the development. Marc can be reached at m.lankhorst@bizzdesign.com