John Zachman Interview with Roger Sessions

In April 2007, Perspectives of the International Association of Software Architects' Editor-in-Chief, Roger Sessions, held an exclusive interview John Zachman.




An Exclusive Interview
with John A. Zachman
Perspectives of the IASA



This interview concisely defines John Zachman's view of Enterprise Architecture and The Zachman Framework™ from questions like:

  • What was the main message you were delivering in the famous 1987 article?
  • How have you seen the field of Enterprise Architecture change over the last 20 years? What aspects of it have not changed?
  • How do you define Enterprise Architecture?
  • How do you define an Enterprise Architecture Framework?
  • Why should a large enterprise care about Enterprise Architectures?
  • Many CIO's struggle to justify the return on investment (ROI) of creating an Enterprise Architecture. What advice would you give to them?
  • Can you give us a basic overview of The Zachman Framework™?
  • Can you tell us two of three major success stories in applying The Zachman Framework to a large enterprise?
  • What are the greatest challenges one can face in trying to apply The Zachman Framework™?
  • Besides The Zachman Framework, TOGAF is probably the other well-known framework for Enterprise Architectures. What are the similarities and differences that you see between TOGAF and The Zachman Framework?

Excerpts from the interview:

"Editor's Note: John Zachman is the author of The Zachman Framework and, without doubt, the single most influential person in the field of Enterprise Architectures." - Page 2, Roger Sessions

"(Perspectives of the IASA) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Enterprise Architectures. I believe this field effectively began in 1987 with the publication of your historic paper, 'A Framework for Information Systems Architecture,' in the IBM Systems Journal." - Page 2, Roger Sessions

"Architecture is an ENTERPRISE issue, not a systems issue. Today, I would say that the end object is to engineer and manufacture the Enterprise, not simply to build and run systems." - Page 2, John Zachman

"Architecture is not some arcane, arbitrary concept. It is specifically definable based on the Architecture precedent of the much older disciplines of Architecture/Construction and Engineering/Manufacturing." - Page 3, John Zachman

"I think the United States dominated the Industrial Age because it got serious about architecture for industrial products. We learned how to create extremely complex engineering products and how to change them to keep them relevant over their useful life, that is, we learned about Architecture for industrial products. My opinion is that in the Information Age, it is the Enterprise that is increasing in complexity and changing dramatically and that whoever figures out how to accommodate and exploit Enterprise Architecture concepts and formalisms, and therefore can accommodate extreme complexity and extreme change of Enterprises, is likely to dominate the Information Age." - Page 4, John Zachman

"The Framework has in a way been in existence forever. It is simply a schema. It is kind of like the Periodic Table which is also a schema and also has been in existence forever." - Page 4, John Zachman

"In general, the information industry is still focused on building and running systems, that is, we are manufacturing pieces, islands of automation, stovepipes of the Enterprise. In general, the information industry presently is not thinking about engineering entire Enterprises." - Page 5, John Zachman

"ROGER SESSIONS: How do you define Enterprise Architecture?
JOHN ZACHMAN: ...Architecture is a set of descriptive representations that are relevant for describing something you intend to create and that constitute the baseline for changing an instance of that thing once you have created it. Therefore, Enterprise Architecture is the set of descriptive representations relevant for describing an Enterprise and that constitutes the baseline for changing the Enterprise once it is created." - Page 5, John Zachman

"The end object of Enterprise Architecture is not building and running systems, getting programs to run. The end object is to engineer the Enterprise so it is as LEAN as possible (minimum possible complexity and minimum possible costs) and MEAN as possible, that is, so that is can dynamically accommodate external demands." - Page 8, John Zachman

"By the way, there are cultures in the world that are not intimidated by the specter of a long term asset-based strategy." - Page 10, John Zachman

TOGAF is completely different from my Framework (The Zachman Framework). My Framework is totally neutral relative to methodologies... Process. It has no methodological implications, that is, it does not imply anything about how you might do Enterprise Architecture ar what "composite" artifacts you might produce methodologically. In contrast, TOGAF prescribes how you might do architecture. In that regard, TOGAF is similar to DODAF or MODAF." - Page 10, John Zachman

"I hope that the revelation that the end object is engineering and manufacturing of the Enterprise will at some point take precedence over technological silver bullets and building information systems." - Page 11, John Zachman

Click here for a copy of the Perspectives interview:
John Zachman Interview with Roger Sessions



About Roger Sessions:

Roger Sessions is the Editor in Chief of the Perspectives of the IASA and CEO of ObjectWatch. His ObjectWatch Newsletter is now in its ninth year of publication. He has written six books (including Software Fortresses; Modeling Enterprise Architectures) and dozens of articles. He is a world recognized authority on The Software Fortress Model and high-end enterprise architectures.



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