11 years, 2 months ago

A Comparison of the Top Four Enterprise-Architecture Methodologies

I recently came across a very good article with above title written by Roger Sessions on the Microsoft Network. It is
one of the few articles which is backed up by good amount of industry research,
rich usage of references and very precise analysis of Enterprise Architecture
literature.


In this article Roger compares following four leading
Enterprise Architecture Frameworks;

  1. The Zachman Framework for Enterprise
    Architecture
  2. The Open Group Architecture Framework
  3. Federal Enterprise Architecture
  4. Gartner Enterprise Architecture Framework
He does so within the context of a fictional company that is facing
some very nonfictional operations problems. These problems include:
  1. IT
    systems that have become unmanageably complex and increasingly costly to
    maintain.
  2. IT
    systems that are hindering the organization’s ability to respond to
    current, and future, market conditions in a timely and cost-effective
    manner.
  3. Mission-critical
    information that is consistently out-of-date and/or just plain wrong.
  4. A
    culture of distrust between the business and technology sides of the
    organization.
Roger concludes that, “these methodologies are quite different
from each other, both in goals and in approach. This is good news and bad. It
is bad news, in that it increases the difficulty for many organizations in
choosing one single enterprise-architectural methodology. How do you choose
between methodologies that have so little in common? Choosing between Zachman
and TOGAF, for example, is like choosing between spinach and hammers. But the
good news is that these methodologies can be seen as complementing each other.
For many organizations, the best choice is all of these methodologies, blended
together in a way that works well within that organization’s constraints.”

Though the whitepaper is probably
getting a bit dated (Mar 2007) especially given the new releases from TOGAF 9.1
and Zachman have advanced the EA field in leaps and bounds, it is nonetheless a
very good piece of academic comparison grounded in some real life business
situation.

I have personally done similar compare
and contrast analysis between various EA frameworks on this blog through posts
such as, EA
Frameworks in Complete Harmony
, Zachman
Complexity and Change
, EA
– Different Perspectives
. These can be referenced as further reading on
this topic.