A Comparison of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks


This paper provides a framework to compare key enterprise architecture frameworks - Zachman enterprise architecture framework aka Zachman, Department of defense architecture framework aka DoDAF, Treasury enterprise architecture framework aka TEAF and, Federal enterprise architecture framework aka FEAF.

I have included this paper for a few reasons other than sharing the comparison framework. The first is to highlight the state of discussion on enterprise architecture - enterprise architects are still stuck in the technology weeds - and the resulting lack of connection with business leadership. One cannot make a business case for enterprise architecture - or anything else for that matter - if we do not connect with the business aspects of it.

Take for example the definition of enterprise architecture presented in this paper: "An Enterprise Architecture Framework (EAF) maps all of the software development processes within the enterprise and how they relate and interact to fulfill the enterprise’s mission." Really?

The good news is that we are trying to make a connection to the enterprise's mission. However, is the essence of an enterprise architecture framework the mapping of software development processes? Sure, it is one of the activities but is the architecture of a house - I know there is a debate on the use of this analogy but I am trying to make a point - the mapping of all the brick, door etc. making processes?

So it turns out that the bad news is that we lose out business connection with this definition and way of thinking.

Second, I wanted to highlight the futility of comparing enterprise architecture frameworks. Again, one can admire and perhaps express a preference for the architectures of various buildings but can we truly "compare" architectures in a meaningful way? I don't believe so.

Third, the completely academic nature of these discussions - I could've said juvenile in a "my architecture is better than yours" way but I didn't go there for a reason. Enterprise architects and technology geeks like me love these kinds of discussions – sometimes it feels like we live for them! - because what meaningful discussion does one hope to make based upon such a comparison? This paper is comparing deliverables and process - does that really tell us which framework to adopt?


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