We use cookies and other similar technologies (Cookies) to enhance your experience and to provide you with relevant content and ads. By using our website, you are agreeing to the use of Cookies. You can change your settings at any time. Cookie Policy.

Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Enterprise Architecture, the anatomy and physiology of the Enterprise

Vote 0 Votes
How do we describe an Enterprise? Let me give you an well known example, the human body and illustrate the way the enterprise should be described, by comparison. 
The description of the structure and operation of the Enterprise is shown here by analogy with the anatomy and physiology of the body. 

The structure is illustrated by anatomy while the operation by physiology. Anatomy illustrates the body by depicting its 

* parts: the head, torso, neck, limbs and organs like lungs, heart, liver...

* systems in separation: circulatory, nervous, skeletal, muscular systems... 

These reflect two points of categorisation, two taxonomies. Systems look like cross body sections in a CT (computer tomography) scan. 

Physiology describes how the vital flows such as breathing, digestion etc operate over these various systems and parts. The digestive process, for instance, depicts the food ingestion, distribution and transformation into energy from mouth to stomach and beyond. The respiratory process shows how the body processes and transports oxygen to organs.


* A body part (organ) implements a few of the body vital processes. For an Enterprise Architecture, the term "Function" (or Capability) plays the same role, grouping related business processes. 

* A body system depicts the assembly of a few parts of a body with similar functionality. In EA, a View is an abstract cross-section in the Enterprise, looking like a virtual cut or a CT (computer tomography) picture.  A layer is a physical View consisting of elements of same type, such a layer of muscles in the body or applications in EA.

* The organs or body parts, are interconnected by nerves, arteries... In EA, the interconnections between business functions are Lines that are implemented by connections.

A vital flow is a sequence of activities performed in organs (body parts). Like breathing. In EA, a "Flow" (aka value stream) is defined as a sequence of processes (in Functions) delivering the service/product.

A body interacts with the environment i.e. eats , breathes, feels... In the Enterprise, Use Case scenarios describe the interaction with the environment and stakeholders.

A doctor, a surgeon cannot diagnose or operate without being familiar with all the body parts, systems and vital processes. If he cuts the wrong link (read artery, nerve...) the operation will be successful but the patient probably dead.

Similarly, an Enterprise Architect, or those who need to operate the enterprise and implement strategy, cannot properly do so without knowledge of the business Functions, Flows, Layers and Views (FFLV) e.g. the anatomy and physiology of the enterprise.

Without anatomy and physiology medicine could not progress. We are at a stage now where we able to roughly describe what happens in a human body. 

But we don't have a clue how an enterprise operates, end to end. We are at the beginning of the journey to understand, fix and improve the Enterprise. 

We have first to understand the enterprise anatomy and physiology. 

The FFLV  (Functions-Flows-Layers-Views) EA framework, described in my book, blogs and site,  can be used to describe the anatomy and physiology of the enterprise.

The description of the generic enterprise parts - body anatomical parts - can be done using the GODS (Governance-Operations-Development-Support) business architecture framework described  by same sources and this link.


Leave a comment

Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

Recently Commented On

Monthly Archives