Book review: An Enterprise Architecture Development Framework from Adrian Grigoriu

Denis Hageman, zondag 31 augustus 2008

In the introduction of the book the author promises “to answer some of the common sense business questions related to Enterprise Architecture”. Reading the book, I got very soon the impression that he in fact, wanted to answer every potential question. Some aspects are discussed on the level to guide the Architect, others to teach the Business Manager.

Chapters 2-6 are mainly written to convince the reader, or to support the reader to convince his management how vital Enterprise Architecture is to survive in the future.
In Chapter 2 the author notes that the Enterprise, to deliver faster and better, among other things has to be documented; but, somewhat disappointing, the approach for Current State Architecture is described in a one pager in chapter 14.
In Chapter 3 the key problem that Enterprise Architecture according the author, needs to attack, is introduced. The introduction leaves the reader with a collection of arguments that sometimes repeat themselves, while you would expect (within the ICT view) a more historical view on the evolution of Enterprise Systems in the 70’s to 90’s that helps the reader to find the proper arguments for his or her situation. The author’s conclusion: “the current state of Enterprises requires simplification”, I can fully subscribe, but a more structured approach to get there would help.
In Chapter 4 a definition of EA is given in the context of the book. The description touches upon many relevant elements for EA but fails to teach the reader how EA relates to other relevant related activities and artefacts on strategic level or business unit level. EA is presented as the one and only ‘guide to the future’ for the Enterprise. The benefits of EA presented in Chapter 5 will never be achieved by only defining a future state and roadmaps on EA-level. EA might set the proper direction to be executed in other business programs.
Chapter 6 gives an introduction into the terminology of business cases which might be useful for Architects unfamiliar with the subject, but the example calculations generate some doubts.

After the introduction of various models, methods, processes and tools which are part of or related to Enterprise Architecture in Chapter 7, the EA framework, where the book is all about, is presented in Chapter 8.
Grigoriu has created his EA Framework using an analogy with the Human Body. For me it was rather difficult to follow this analogy and not very intuitive. I have also serious doubts if the hierarchy of Functions, Processes and Flows that he introduces, is sustainable.
His EA Framework is based on three layers: Business, Technology and People while Business, Applications/Data and Technology/Infrastructure are most common in other frameworks. People, which covers a.o. Organisation and Culture, positioned underneath Technology, looks not very logical to me. While Governance Principles and Processes are part of the Business layer, you find Governance Organisation in the People layer? Why?

Another interesting artefact in Chapter 8 is the Enterprise Functions Classification (GODS categories in fig 8-4). It represents a kind of generic domain model for the Enterprise and I appreciate this brave attempt. But strange enough all functions related to Product and Service Development, Sales and Channels are in one category: Enterprise Development, while the others (which can be seen as ‘overhead’ type of functions) are distributed across 3 categories: a rather unbalanced model in my view.
Chapter 9-11 explain how to use the framework in practice. Chapter 10 is very informative and relevant because it emphasizes the importance of Strategic Planning for Enterprise Transformation before diving into technology. I cannot agree more here.

In chapter 12 the author compares his framework with various others like Zachman and TOGAF. A difficult effort to be done in a few pages, and in particular the value of TOGAF is underestimated in my view.
Chapter 13 presents a useful checklist of all elements an EA approach can contain. But be aware that each EA effort needs be customised to the situation within your company.
Chapter 14 gives some tips and tricks how to do this customisation.

In summary: the book presents many aspects of Enterprise Architecture but a very structured approach is somehow missing. For the Enterprise Architect it stays at a rather high level in most cases but for the CIO or Business Manager it is overly complex and sometimes diving into unnecessary details. Maybe an interesting read for new comers in the field but they might need more structure.

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