A Survey of Enterprise Architecture Model Transformation Efficiency

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Rory Darling


Consistent with its goal of providing a management planning tool in the context of complex information technology, Enterprise Architecture (EA) unifies a broad range of documentation artifacts from different disciplines. Each of these artifacts is expressed in the language of its native discipline. By inclusion in an EA framework, the artifacts constitute the nouns of the EA language used to describe strategy and its transition to business capabilities. EA frameworks define paths through which decisions and facts flow in the course of pursuing an enterprise level initiative. The dimensions of an EA framework expose the boundaries that occur along these paths. When boundaries are crossed as detail is added and refined, transformations occur. Transformations are the verbs of the EA language. EA frameworks go to great lengths to describe their nouns and organize them into understandable dimensions as a form of dictionary to guide the practitioner. Yet the verbs that are equally important contributors to the quality of an enterprise initiative receive less attention. Like artifacts, transformations also have properties that can be tailored for efficiency. As a complement to EA artifacts, design and selection of EA transformations must also receive consideration when selecting an EA framework for a specific purpose. Fortunately for EA transformation analysis, a transformation is bracketed by the set of input and output artifacts involved. Thus it is instructive to use the extensive artifact descriptions from an EA framework to make value judgments regarding the choice of transformation techniques. Combined with known transformation techniques and transformation theory, an EA practitioner can tailor a framework for both artifact and transformation efficiency. Following an introduction that establishes transformation principles, this paper looks at a series of well-documented EA frameworks as means of illustrating the extent to which their dimensional structure and artifacts support efficient transformations. The analysis reveals the range of explicit support for efficient transformations within the EA documentation. Where transformations are not explicitly discussed as part of the methodology, characteristics of each framework that might form the basis for tailoring a transformation strategy within the framework are discussed. To conclude, a brief summary of transformation theory is presented in the form of a meta-model and a procedure for evaluating EA transformations.

Journal of Enterprise Architecture

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