The Origins of Enterprise Architecture

Written by John A. Zachman on Thursday, 19 November 2015. Posted in Zachman International

Here are some samples of seminal works that constitute the origins of Enterprise Architecture:

  1. Frederick Taylor "Principles of Scientific Management" 1911
  2. Walter A. Shewhart "The Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product" 1931 (Dr. Edward Demming's Mgr.)
  3. Peter Drucker "The Practice of Management" 1954
  4. Jay Forrester "Industrial Dynamics" 1961
  5. Peter Senge "The Fifth Discipline" 1990
  6. Eric Helfert "Techniques of Financial Analysis" 1962
  7. Robert Anthony "Planning and Control Systems: A Framework for Analysis"
  8. 1965 Sherman Blumenthal "Management Information Systems: A Framework for Planning and Development"
  9. 1969 Alvin Toffler "Future Shock"
  10. 1970 George Steiner "Comprehensive Managerial Planning" 1972
  11. Etc., etc., etc.

Frederick Taylor wrote the “Principles of Scientific Management” in 1911. These were the work flow studies that addressed the allocation of responsibility for efficient production of the product or service.

Walter Shewhart wrote “The Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product” in 1931. Shewhart came up with “Plan, Do, Check and Act” ... Demming made it famous but it was Shewhart’s cycle. Demming worked for Shewhart at AT&T.

Peter Drucker wrote “The practice of Management” in 1954. This was the first time Management was separated from the concept of Economics. There was no legitimacy to the topic of “management” until very recently. In fact, when I went to the University, there were no business schools. Business schools are a very recent phenomenon.

Jay Forrester wrote “Industrial Dynamics” in 1961. This was the result of a research project at M.I.T. where they were employing classic process control concepts (cybernetics - feedback loops and servo mechanisms) in human systems, tracing resource flows.

Peter Senge manages the same research project that Jay Forrester began in the ‘50’s and wrote “The Fifth Discipline: The Learning Enterprise” in 1990. In the Information Age, not only do people have to learn, the Enterprise has to learn. How does an Enterprise learn? There are 5 learning disciplines and the fifth discipline is “Systems Thinking” which is a derivative of Industrial Dynamics. There are many cyclical things going on in an Enterprise and some of the cycles reinforce each other and some inhibit each other. You have to understand all of the cycles and their interactions because until you do, your natural reaction to external stimuli is exactly WRONG. You will do more damage to the Enterprise than you will help.

I am not going to elaborate any more... I am sure you get the idea. If you really want to engineer an Enterprise, a lot of good work has already been done. You don’t have to know everything... you just have to do some research.

Who do you think will do the research to learn how to engineer the Enterprise?... the CEO? General Management? Probably not. Probably the person who is doing the engineering will do the research if any research is to be done.

I recently saw my friend Adriaan Vorster in Johannesburg. He was the CIO in one of the big mining companies and in retirement taught at Pretoria University. He was observing that most of the problems we have today have already been solved and extensively documented but nobody is taking the time to read what has been written.

My sixth grade history teacher, Miss Collins, had a banner posted around the crown molding of the classroom that read: “HISTORY IS A STUDY OF THE PAST TO HELP US UNDERSTAND THE PRESENT TIME”. (What ever happened to that idea?!!)

About the Author

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman is the originator of the “Framework for Enterprise Architecture” (The Zachman Framework™) which has received broad acceptance around the world as an integrative framework, an ontology for descriptive representations for Enterprises. Mr. Zachman is not only known for this work on Enterprise Architecture, but is also known for his early contributions to IBM’s Information Strategy methodology (Business Systems Planning) as well as to their Executive team planning techniques (Intensive Planning).

Mr. Zachman retired from IBM in 1990, having served them for 26 years. He is Founder and Chairman of his own education and consulting business, Zachman International®. He is also the Executive Director of the Federated Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute (The FEAC® Institute) in Washington, D.C., as well as the Chairman of the Zachman Institute™, a non-profit organization devoted to leveraging Zachman International's vast network of professionals and resources to offer services to small businesses and non-profit organizations as they prepare for and experience growth.

Mr. Zachman serves on the Executive Council for Information Management and Technology (ECIMT) of the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and on the Advisory Board of the Data Administration Management Association International (DAMA-I) from whom he was awarded the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award. In August 2015, Mr. Zachman was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for “recognition of his long term impact and contribution to how people think and practice Enterprise Architecture today, leaving his mark on generations to come” by the Global University Alliance and LEADing Practice. He was awarded the 2009 Enterprise Architecture Professional Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession as well as the 2004 Oakland University, Applied Technology in Business (ATIB), Award for IS Excellence and Innovation. In August 2011, he was awarded the Gen. Colin Powell Public Sector Image Award by the Armed Services Alliance Program. In November 2013 he was acknowledged for Achievement and Excellence for Distinguished Innovative Academic Contribution by the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society Technical Committees on Enterprise Information Systems and on Enterprise Architecture and Engineering.

Mr. Zachman has been focusing on Enterprise Architecture since 1970 and has written extensively on the subject. He has facilitated innumerable executive team planning sessions. He travels nationally and internationally, teaching and consulting, and is a popular conference speaker, known for his motivating messages on Enterprise Architecture issues. He has spoken to many thousands of enterprise managers and information professionals on every continent.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Zachman serves on the Elder Council of the Church on the Way (First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California), the Board of Directors of Living Way Ministries, a radio and television ministry of the Church on the Way, the President’s Cabinet of the King’s University, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Citywide Children’s Christian Choir, the Board of Directors of Heavenworks, an international ministry to the French-speaking world and on the Board of Directors of Native Hope International, a Los Angeles-based ministry to the Native American people.

Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Zachman served as a line officer in the United States Navy and is a retired Commander in the U. S. Naval Reserve. He chaired a panel on "Planning, Development and Maintenance Tools and Methods Integration" for the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. He holds a degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University, has taught at Tufts University, has served on the Board of Councilors for the School of Library and Information Management at the University of Southern California, as a Special Advisor to the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, on the Advisory Council to the School of Library and Information Management at Dominican University and on the Advisory Board for the Data Resource Management Program at the University of Washington. He has been a Fellow for the College of Business Administration of the University of North Texas and currently is listed in Cambridge Who’s Who.

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