A plethora of EA frameworks

Greetings and Salutations,

One of the hardest decisions to make when undertaking an architecture project is “which framework do I use”? Do I utilise a “COTS” Framework or develop a proprietary framework based on the specifications and requirements of this implementation?

For some, governance dictates the decision, some have the decision made for them, and others simply go with what they know.

But what are the Frameworks already developed out there, and what do they offer?

Today, I’m going to briefly explore some of the Frameworks (that I’m aware of) that are (in my point of view) relevant for Australian corporations in the hope that it will (in the very least) enlighten and inform.

Probably the best known of all the EA Frameworks. First published by John Zachman in the 1980’s, it has become the definitive framework for a number of Architects and Corporations and is still highly utilised.

It aims itself as a positioning Framework, categorizing deliverables in a set of six by six cells that cover the scope, business model, system model, technology model, detailed representations against the functions of what, how, where, who, when and why.

Although the Zachman Framework applies to enterprises, the Framework itself is generic. It is a comprehensive, logical structure for the descriptive representations (i.e. models, or design artifacts) of any complex object, and it does not prescribe or describe any particular method, representation technique, or automated tool.

Personally, because of this aspect, I find it a great planning tool, and utilise it quite heavily for IT based projects. However, I question it’s usefulness as full Enterprise Architecture and find that it’s holistic perspective is a little limited.

( v8.x) Enterprise Edition
Probably my favorite of all the frameworks, TOGAF is a neutral, practical, freely available, industry standard architecture framework that provides an Enterprise Architecture Development Methodology that has been received with broad acceptance. It aims itself as a process and planning tool that provides a detailed method and set of supporting resources for developing an Enterprise Architecture Framework.

The Open Group’s goal with TOGAF is to work towards making the TOGAF architecture development method an accepted industry standard method for developing an enterprise architecture and thus does not prescribe any specific set of enterprise architecture deliverables. Although it is sufficient for an organization to use “as-is”, it can be adapted as an EA development method for use with other deliverables-focused frameworks, such as Zachman, E2A, etc.

A proprietary Framework that has been developed by CapGemini Ernst & Young. IAF breaks down the overall problem into a number of the related aspect areas covering Business (people and process), Information (including knowledge), Information Systems, and Technology Infrastructure. There’s also two specialist areas addressing the Governance and Security aspects across all of these areas. Analysis of each of these areas is structured into four levels of abstraction: Contextual (why), Conceptual (what), Logical (how) and Physical (with what).

The framework is generally characterised in the EA circles as a system that has a solid history in Enterprise Planning that effectively separates concerns, provides an holistic perspective and is a strong communication tool but due to it’s proprietary nature has limited acceptance.

( / )
IFEAD is a not for profit research and information exchange organization working on the future state of Enterprise Architecture. The Extended Enterprise Architecture is dealing with the processes and activities of extending the Enterprise Architecture beyond its original boundaries, defining a collaborative environment for all entities involved in a collaborative process.

Similar to the Zachman model, it contains six columns dealing with why (context), with who (environment), what (conceptual), how (logic), with what (physical) and when (transformation). The rows are similar to the IAF columns with focus on related aspect areas covering Business (people and process), Information (including knowledge), Information Systems, and Technology Infrastructure.

Unlike the Zachman and IAF models, the framework grid is surrounded by four viewpoint boxes dealing with Privacy, Governance, Security and Other Sets of viewpoints.

The framework is focused on remaining a neutral/open framework and positioned with a focus on collaboration, separating concerns, providing a holistic perspective and use as a communication tool.

An European Strategic Program on Research in Information Technology of the European Union (ESPRIT) supported development which provides a framework based on the system life cycle concept together with a modelling language and definitions of a methodology and supporting technology.

This European approach to enterprise modeling and integration focusing primarily on processes, commonality of models and language. While there seems to be a heavy focus on views, models and frameworks, there is a heavy base in manufacturing history and uptake seems to be limited.

This commercial methodology is a specific attempt to provide guidance for specifying the top two rows of the Zachman Framework: Scope (Planner) and Business Model (Owner). Published in 1992, the methodology has a business data-driven approach intended to ensure quality information systems by emphasizing the definition of a stable business model, data dependencies defined before system implementation, and the order of implementation activities based on the data dependencies.

EAP defines a process for enterprise architects that emphasizes interpersonal skills and techniques for organizing and directing enterprise architecture projects, obtaining management commitment, presenting the plan to management, and leading the organization through the transition from planning to implementation.

EAP covers only the first two rows of the Zachman Framework. This means that only the business planning is detailed, and no attention is given to technical design or implementation. EAP has been mainly used in business and industrial information systems.


Well, that’s all for today. I will probably delve into some more as soon as I get a chance to explore them further, and quite possibly may even delve deeply into each if time and mind permits.

Now, I’m sure that some will disagree with some of my views, will tell me of a great EAF that I’ve missed, or how crap a certain framework I’ve mentioned is. Well, that’s great! That’s what the comments board is for, so jump on in!


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