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Zachman's Views On Impact Of Cloud Computing On Enterprise Architecture

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John Zachman, the originator of the Zachman framework, recently wrote an article that addresses the questions regarding the impact of cloud computing on enterprise architecture; especially given how disruptive and popular cloud architectures are becoming an effective technique to cut costs.

The whole idea of Enterprise Architecture is to enable the Enterprise to address orders of magnitude increases in complexity and orders of magnitude increases in the rate of change. [...] If you have Enterprise Architecture, and if you have made that Enterprise Architecture explicit, and if you have designed it correctly, you should be able to change the Enterprise and/or its formalisms (that is, its systems, manual or automated) with minimum time, minimum disruption and minimum cost.

According to the article, if enterprise architecture is done correctly, the only technology and engineering perspectives (rows 4 and 5 in the Zachman framework) of the enterprise architecture need to be adjusted.

[...] if you have your Enterprise Architecture stored in a repository, I think I would SIMULATE those changes before I actually made any of them to make sure I did not introduce any discontinuities or dis-functionality that would disrupt the Enterprise business.

He warns of the dangers of the enterprise architecture not being able to accommodate complexity nor change if not done correctly. He reasons that the cloud computing isn't possibly the last technology innovation that could disrupt an enterprise architecture and offers suggestions for when companies dont have an Enterprise Architecture in place.

[...] “What kind of impact does the rise in Cloud Computing have on Enterprise Architecture” is probably not the right way to ask the question. Probably a better way to ask it would be, “Is Cloud Computing a useful technology alternative for implementing our Enterprise (or at least portions of our Enterprise) and how would we affect that implementation to minimize our risk and maximize its utility?”

He concludes his article advocating that regardless of the disruptions in technologies; be it cloud computing or future architectural paradigms and solutions; companies should start making long-term investments in Enterprise Architecture.

Enterprise Architecture, the knowledge-base of the Enterprise, creates the Knowledge Advantage paramount to Enterprise viability and success in the Information Age.

Be sure to check out the original article and share your opinions.

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