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Zachman weighs in on cloud's effect on enterprise architecture

The Zachman Framework, now in its 24th year, was intended precisely for new paradigm shifts such as cloud computing, its creator says.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

John Zachman created the Zachman Framework more than two decades back, and in the process, defined the very essence of enterprise architecture -- and indeed, launched the EA profession as we know it. Recently, he published his thoughts on the impact of cloud computing on EA.

Turn the question around, he says -- what impact will EA have on the success of cloud? Cloud is only the latest technology blip to come along, and a good EA should be able to handle that and anything else. Any viable cloud strategy worth its salt, as a matter of fact, should have a robust enterprise architecture underpinning it.

Otherwise, Zachman adds, an organization will be incapable of managing the changes that come its way. "Cloud Computing is not likely to be the last technology innovation you are going to have to address," he says. Attempting to build a cloud-based infrastructure without EA means:

"You are adding one more implementation to the legacy of systems and likely recreating something that is already implemented (spending money that doesn’t have to be spent); adding general and administrative costs, additional on-going operating expenses to the Enterprise reconciling (interfacing) the new implementations to existing systems (less the cost/benefit realization of the new implementation); increasing the existing complexity of business operations; and inhibiting subsequent changes."

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Latest edition of the Zachman Framework. Source: Wikipedia

In his post, Zachman cites how specific components of his framework -- from business strategies to data storage to technology motivations -- address today's cloud computing requirements. It doesn't matter if IT capabilities are housed within the enterprise, or are acquired from somewhere else -- enterprise architecture is the discipline that gives it value to the business.

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