Zachman’s Framework – An Enterprise Architecture?

I had an interesting day today. I attended one day workshop on Enterprise Architecture by none other than Mr John Zachman. Mr. Zachman is a passionate and entertaining speaker. He tried to explain his framework as lucidly as possible. But as he himself said during his presentation, “more you know about something, more you do not know about it”. Having been introduced to the framework by the man himself, I still wonder whether the framework should be called as “an Enterprise Architecture”. He says Enterprise architects are in the business of engineering “enterprises” and he draws analogies with automobiles and aeroplanes to explain his framework. But is engineering an enterprise as simple as engineering an automobile or an aircraft?

According to Mr Zachman, the “System” is the “Enterprise”. But is system really the enterprise? And although the scope decides the span of horizon for the architecture, the illustrations he cited especially of benefits, were about single system rather than enterprise information systems architecture. To me his framework seemed more like System architecture rather than enterprise architecture.

I am more confused about enterprise architecture than ever before. I went to the seminar with an understanding of enterprise architecture being enterprise information systems architecture. I always thought enterprise architect addresses issues about information exchange / touch points / integration points between multiple systems. Enterprise architect makes decisions about information systems building blocks and information integration between these building blocks. Mr Zachman managed to obliterate my perception. I am confused.

Have any of you used Zachman’s framework? In that case, I would like to hear from you about your experience.


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