In previous postings, I explored TOGAF ADM phases and iterations. To enable the ADM phases, you must employ a number of guidelines and tools as an EA. These are the guidelines and tools that will allow the architecture content to be established, structured, displayed, and accessible in a consistent manner. They will also discuss how complicated architectures grow, how they may be reduced to concrete and physical views, and how they are related and integrated. Each phase of the ADM creates a wide range of outputs, and in order to maintain consistency, we need a formal framework for the relevant terminology employed, which must be kept up to date:
- The architecture content framework,
- The TOGAF content meta model,
- The architectural repository and
- The enterprise continuum.
Architecture Content Framework
By providing a structural model for architecture content, the Architecture Content Framework facilitates consistency across the ADM. It is an enterprise architectures vocabulary that is intended to be compatible with ADM and aligned with business concepts and terminologies, facilitating communication, collaboration, and integration. It will aid in the development of architecture capability in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
The Architecture Content Framework will make it easier for everyone to communicate in the same language. It basically describes the work products or outputs of architectural work in three areas Deliverables, Artifacts, and Building Blocks:
- Deliverable: A deliverable is essentially a work product that has been contractually specified and, as a result, has been formally reviewed, agreed upon, and signed off on by stakeholders. Project outputs are what they are.
- Artifact: An artifact is a piece of architecture that describes a specific component of the design. They are either catalogues, matrices, or diagrams in general.
- Building Block: A building block is a component of a business capacity. Building blocks can be dependent on one another or combined to provide a solution. The concept of building blocks is extremely adaptable. For example, it could start as only a name or an outline and grow into a complete specification that can be employed in other projects down the road. There are two types of building blocks in the TOGAF content framework.
- Architecture Building Block (ABB): describes a capability and in turn determines the specifications for the solution.
- Solution Building Blocks (SBB): represent components that will be used to implement the required capability.
The Content Meta Model
A meta model is a model that describes another model and defines what may be included in a model as well as any rules that govern how a model can be assembled. The meta model can be used to guide organizations who want to use an architecture tool to implement their architecture.
The Content Framework's Content Meta model provides a formal structure for terminology to maintain uniformity throughout the ADM. Because of the multiplicity of inputs, outputs, work products, artifacts, processes, and applications that come from moving through the many ADM iterations, this is quite beneficial. The content meta model in TOGAF gives definitions of all the many types of building blocks that can exist, as well as how they can be described and related to one another. It specifies the formal rules that govern the structure and interactions between the many constructs that comprise the model. In enterprise architectures, meta modelling is crucial for organizing the complications of enterprise architecture work, its inputs and outputs, and the success of executing enterprise architectures. To be applicable to the majority of enterprise designs, the content meta model is divided into two parts:
- One creating the meta model's core, which supports modelling features that will be common to most organizations and facilitates traceability across various artifacts.
- The other case is known as the Full Content Meta model, and it contains entities that comprise multiple extensions to the content meta model. Each layer of the architecture supports a distinct layer of the architecture that may be used as needed when constructing architecture and passing through the ADM phases.
Let's start with a list of the most important concepts in content meta modelling:
- Actors, who could be a person and organization, or a system that is outside the consideration of the architecture model but interacts with it. An actor could take on a role in order to interact with the architectural modeling by doing specific role related tasks.
- An Organization is a self-contained unit of resource is with goals, objectives and measures. Organization units may include external parties and business partner organizations.
- A Function delivers business unit capabilities closely aligned to an organization but not explicitly governed by the organization,
- A Business Service supports business capabilities through an explicitly defined interface and is explicitly governed by an organization.
- A Process is a set of related activities designed to accomplish specific tasks. It may entail the collaboration across functions, organizational, business units and services.
- An Application Component is an encapsulation of application functionality that is aligned to implementation structure.
- A Data Entity is an encapsulation of data that is recognized by a business, no main expert as a discreet concept.
- A Value Stream is a representation of an end-to-end collection of value, adding activities that create an overall result for a customer stakeholder or an end user.
Generally, an enterprise, has several organizations, each organization has several functions that together enable a business service. Those services enabled by an application or set of applications and are defined in the applications architectures. The applications run on platform, which is enabled by technical services such as application servers and network infrastructure and are documented and defined in the technical architectures.
Consider the following scenario: at an enterprise, one of the functions requires an update. The business unit's manager is played by an actor within the organization. That actor submits a change request, which initiates the new change process. The changes are analyzed and evaluated in relation to business strategy and policies, and they are assigned a business-related priority and category. It is now a part of the contextualized value stream.
Content Model Objects and Attributes are described in TOGAF as:
content model objects and attributes as being used as a basis by enterprise architecture tool vendors to build and implement their modeling tools.
The Architecture Repository
The architecture repository is used to keep track of the enormous amount of architectural output generated. As the ADM progresses, the output of each phase is either its own distinct entity or enhances the output of the preceding phases. For an enterprise repository, this portion of TOGAF provides a framework. In this way, architects and others will be able to distinguish between the various architectural assets that exist at various levels of abstraction and the enterprise. It is one portion of the enterprise repository that gives the ability to link architectural assets to components of the detailed design, deployment, and service-management repositories.
The Architecture Meta Model explains how an architectural framework, comprising a technique for architectural development and a meta model for architectural content, may be adapted to meet the specific needs of an organization.
The Architecture Methods provided a description of the customized architecture framework that the organization has selected to meet its unique demands and implementations
the content meta model defines what may be included in a model as well as any rules that govern how a model can be assembled. I have share earlier in this post some notes about Content Meta Model in more details.
The Architectural Landscape provides an architectural depiction of assets in use or planned by the enterprise at specific times, which may be divided into three levels of abstraction:
- Strategic layer that provides a view of the organization over the long term. It provides an organizational change framework, operational and tactical activities in addition to direction setting at an executive level.
- Segment architecture provides specific operating models for sectors of an enterprise. They could be employed at the program's portfolio levels.
- Capability architecture demonstrates how the enterprise can support a specific capability. They are used to provide an overview of present capabilities, target capabilities, and capability increments, as well as to regroup individual work packages and projects inside manageable portfolios and programs.
The Reference Library includes guidelines, templates, and patterns, as well as other types of reference material, that can be used to accelerate the construction of new enterprise architectures. Reference Materials in the library are often gathered from a range of sources, including accumulated internal knowledge based on previous architectural implementations, industry bodies, standard bodies, suppliers, and the public generally.
The Standards Information Base encapsulates the standards to which new architectures must adhere This could comprise industry standards, selected products and services from suppliers, or already-deployed shared services within the company. There are numerous methods to categorize the information. It typically comprises legal industry and organization standards, and the information can be further subdivided into architectures domains, which include business data applications and technology. TOGAF classifies standards which gone through a life cycle as Trial, Active, Deprecated, and Obsolete.
The Governance Log captures a record of enterprise governance activity Maintaining a shared repository of governance information is important because decisions made during projects, such as standards, deviations, or the rationale for a particular architectural approach, may be required to be retained for legal reasons, or information about decisions made today that will impact future capabilities may be required to be retained for legal reasons. Assessment records could also be included in the logs.
The Architecture Capability defines the enterprise architecture practice's organization, expertise, and responsibilities, as well as the criteria, structures, and processes that support architectural repository governance. The Architectural Requirements repository contains a listing of all permitted architectural requirements that have been approved by the architecture board.
The Enterprise Continuum
As architecture teams work through the various phases of the architecture development method, thousands of records, artefacts, documents, and so on are created that must be properly classified and prioritized, or the people who need the information will never be able to find them, let alone understand them once they do. As the enterprise architecture capability expands, categorization schemes will most certainly need to alter to match that expansion, and unless the enterprise architecture capability stays on top of this, the repository will quickly become congested and difficult to use.
When there are differences between architectures, it is critical to have a consistent vocabulary to express those differences, which is one advantage of an enterprise continuum.
The enterprise continuum is a repository-wide view that allows architecture assets to be seen from the most generic to the most particular architectures and solutions. This allows repository users to navigate across multiple architectural contexts, allowing for effective communication and understanding of complex architectures. It also helps the organization to identify reusable artifacts and solution assets, letting it to maximize its enterprise architecture investment. In addition it will help to identify opportunities, better standards, compliance and better agility.
The architect may find a set of pre-existing building blocks to design a solution without having to start from scratch by browsing the continuum of architectural artifacts. It would be the first stop and architect would look for solutions which ultimately lead to complexity and cost reduction.
Enterprise Continuum is usually implemented on top of the architectural repository as a virtual repository.
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