New Manifesto for Business Enterprise Architecture…

Posted by Nabil ABU EL ATA on August 3, 2011 in Optimal Enterprise | 10 comments

Since its inception (Dewey Walker 1967, John Zachman 1987 and later JTA, DoDAF and ToGAF etc.), Enterprise Architecture Promised lot and delivered little. In its early target, Enterprise Architecture (EA) was intended to deliver a rigorous description of the structure of an enterprise: entities, components and their relationships with the enterprise and its evolution. The last portion of the previous statement was both the most challenging and consequentially the most dramatic.  Indeed, from such angle EA failed to cross the time with systems they produced that gradually becomes inadequate, inefficient, aging quickly and deviates overtime from representing the business dynamics. We see 3 major cause of what happened under our sight:
1.The lack of understanding of business dynamics that are partially or never captured in the first place either because of incompleteness resulting from:
• Approximation or partiality of natural language,
• Communicability of dynamic characteristics
• Absence of analytical understanding of the relationship between a dynamic behavior of an isolated component and its behavior within a structure that involve others
Or, because of the absence of methods that are able to digest and provide system equivalence definitions
2.The exercise of transforming a business problem into a system solution (in its narrow sense) became the only dimension that everyone and effort concentrate on.  In fact the outcome of EA represents in most cases 2-dimensional definitions of the problem free from what characterize the dynamics of business and the behavior of system constituents and their interactions.
3.Existing tools that talk to business stakeholders r (e.g. BPM or formal/semi-formal methods) are also static in nature enjoy detailed hierarchical analysis  but ignore how business runs in space-time environment. Later when such graphs turns into process that produce code there exist no way to influence or select the right code for the right dynamics early on.
4.The pressure on time and budget that guide the selection of methods, techniques and infrastructure that in most cases happen as a result of other considerations than architectural ones! We should better talking about what may change the business, its evolution, costing/pricing or competitiveness rather we talk about SOA, RDBMS, platforms and interfaces.

In fact the majority of architectures we analyzed over the last 7 years shows issues that may harm business, threaten its of business produced, service quality acceptance and pricing/costing ratio. Over a reasonable period of time (3 to 7 years) most successfully implemented architectures start to show risky behavior:
• Continuous degradation: lower volume ceiling, frequent quality of service problems and/or  cost ineffectiveness and inflation
• Gradual difficulty to enhance, maintain, adapt or upgrade
• Obsolescence of capacity planning and forecasting
In addition to the reasons invoked above that lead to ill-defined architectures; in practice additional reasons are identified pointing to a host of risks that threaten architecture viability and robustness:
• Continuous exceptions handling that gradually corrupt the reference architecture and makes impossible its governance
• Most effort concentrates on infrastructure as a way to fix “problems”. In fact Infrastructure route may present limited impact and in such cases will produce growth in dynamic complexity (loss in efficiency) and further limiting adaptability
• In Reality what is considered as Enterprise Architecture is nothing more than a predesign that partially translate business characteristics and repose on a predefined infrastructure- implementation strategies that seldom fit the business imperatives or its evolution
• Dynamic complexity appears and develops as a result of those dynamics produced through the multiple perturbed impacts of constituents dynamics on each other as well as the aggregated influences due to business behavior fluctuations and imperatives that may lead to unpredictable chaos if not captured and treated from the outset
Such dislocation between Business Architecture that carries the business definition, service structure and environmental characteristics and Enterprise Architecture (that reproduce and systemize the business) is from our opinion, the main reasons of:
• Fast Business implementation Obsolescence which usually faced by a continuous enhancement of already divergent implementation that accelerate its aging and deteriorate its performance and effectiveness
• Interrupted 2-way dialog channels between business (Top-Down) and systems (Bottom-up) with the absence of a real added value from the later to the former. In fact little cycling from the system back to the business occur which bring new  ideas facilitated by system advances that may contribute in advancing the business and its economics
The availability of real industrial and engineering processes with the ability to offer new tools, methods and techniques become urgent. Such processes should govern the transformation and manage the change that may happen for multiple reasons covering different facets of business. Such transformation covers dual objectives:
• Help reengineering existing systems by adding the business dynamics that were missing and reconceive them to fit the selection to best represent the required constraints in terms of evolution, changing dynamics and the extended influences of the infrastructure dynamics on both.
• Conceive and deliver new generation of systems that produced through a rigorous industrial process that deals from the outset with the business and infrastructure dynamics that best minimize dynamic complexity and facilitate changes and enhancement.
X-Act Technology and MBA methodology are developed to fill such critical gap in current practices and actual methods.  Accretive is already involved in major transformation projects of an increasing number of major corporations. The results of transformation through analytical predictive emulation are remarkable: considerable economy as first step, better system reengineering that adheres and fits business dynamics and a platform that allow continuous surveillance and fast fixing of eventual issues and exceptions. As a corollary, the MBA approach allowed better selection of infrastructure that better fit business requirements and its service constraints. Supported by a rich library of businesses, processes, logical components, data modeling, systems and infrastructure components, X-Act is able (along the lines the CAD systems are used in construction and industries) to build quickly the blueprints of an architecture, select and exercise the implementation options, fix the choice of physical components and stress the system to discover limits and constraints that may represent risk prior to investment.
We are convinced that only such class of scientific approaches will allow the construction of new generation of business systems that will reflect the business dynamic changes keeping efficient implementation, offering a platform for new ideas, service options, identify risk and continue to evolve without continuously introducing dynamic complexity and accelerated system aging. It also allows to capture business dynamics early enough to evaluate their impacts on the future system performance, service quality and economy. Finally it will facilitate construction of robust capacity planning, introduce the use of standard in the right context of use, regain control on all sorts of transformations and align service delivery to business imperatives….

 

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