Methodologies and Technologies for Rapid Enterprise Architecture Delivery

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THE ENTERPRISE NEWSLETTER

Issue No 8:
PRODUCTS AND STRATEGIES FOR ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE AND ENTERPRISE PORTALS

 New Products and Services for 
Enterprise Architecture and 
Enterprise Portal Projects

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Contents

Products and Strategies for Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Portals


PRODUCTS AND STRATEGIES FOR ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE AND ENTERPRISE PORTALS

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – December 17, 1999: We have discussed the important role of Enterprise Portals (Corporate Portals) as a central gateway to the enterprise, and the importance of Enterprise Architecture in building Enterprise Portals in previous issues of TEN (see TEN#7). This issue continues the theme. It discusses strategies, products and services that you can use to develop an Enterprise Architecture. It describes some of the products and services that are becoming available to support XML and Enterprise Portals. And it points you to further information on these products and services.

Clive Finkelstein
TEN - The Enterprise Newsletter

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Enterprise Architecture Products and Strategies

In TEN#7 we discussed the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture. We saw that Data Warehouses address the Data column of the Zachman Framework – focusing on “what” information is required. XML applications, in contrast, use metadata from the Data column to focus also on the Process (“how”) column, and the Time (“when”) and People (“who”) columns of the six-column Zachman Framework. But when Data Warehouses evolve to Enterprise Portals using XML, most cells of the Zachman Framework are addressed.

We considered the effect of today's rapid pace of change and the competitive impact of the Internet. Today, enterprises must be designed to change, and to change often. And systems must be built so that they can easily and rapidly change when the enterprise changes. An ability to change depends on architecture. Yet most enterprises have not been designed and built based on Enterprise Architecture.

There is a ray of light; a glimmer of hope. John Zachman has defined an architecture for enterprises and their systems that (when implemented) bring with it the stability, control and flexibility that is missing from most organizations. But this is not a silver bullet. It is difficult to achieve. It requires work, it takes time and it costs money.  

To help you communicate to your management the need for Enterprise Architecture and the productivity benefits that follow, John Zachman and Clive Finkelstein present a two-day joint inhouse seminar titled "Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Portals". This seminar alerts senior business and IT managers and their staff to the dangers of the competitive minefield ahead. It shows how enterprises can negotiate the minefield unscathed. Details of this seminar are available from the Inhouse Courses or Home page links of the IES Online Store (see below).

New products have recently been released to help you define an Enterprise Architecture for your organization. They are briefly described next. 

Visible Advantage - Enterprise Architecture Edition (Visible Systems Corporation): This is a powerful modeling tool which supports Forward Engineering, Reverse Engineering and Business Reengineering. It provides full support for strategic planning, activity modeling, activity based costing, data modeling, process modeling, object modeling, database design and generation. It supports large enterprise-wide projects to help you to develop models (artifacts) for most cells of the Zachman Framework. 

Structure 2000 and Structure for the Net 2000 (Framework Software, Inc): Once developed, these models can be accessed using the Zachman Framework as an interface. Two products are available to achieve this: Structure 2000 (for LAN or single-user operation) and Structure for the Net 2000 (for Intranet / Internet operation). These products use the Zachman Framework as an interface to access any of these models directly (see later this issue). 

Details about each of these products, as well as evaluation versions for free download or for demonstration, are available from the IES Online Store at http://svc004.bne009i.server-web.com/catalogue/visible/default.shtml

A number of inhouse workshops are also available on Enterprise Architecture. These include: 

Enterprise Architecture Overview Workshop: This workshop provides some skills-transfer training in the Enterprise Architecture methods. It also includes hands-on lab sessions in the use of Visible Advantage to develop an Enterprise Architecture, and Structure 2000 for its utilization.

Enterprise Architecture Project Workshops: These are inhouse workshops that are tailored to each Enterprise Architecture project, based on the results of the Overview Workshop above. They enable models, databases and/or systems for priority cells of the Enterprise Architecture to be delivered early.

Course descriptions for each of these Enterprise Architecture workshops are available from the IES web site. These descriptions can be used as the basis for further discussion by email. An Enterprise Architecture project structure and schedule that is tailored to the unique needs of your organization will be developed for you - together with a cost-effective quotation. 

Enterprise Architecture will be imperative for success and survival in the Information Age. But time is running out. Enterprises and the IT industry no longer have any other alternatives. This task has been delayed in most organizations for too long. It cannot be deferred any longer. The technologies are available. The methods have been developed. The products and courses are now here. 

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Enterprise Portal  Products and Strategies

The Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture provides the blueprint; the Internet, Intranets and Extranets, together with XML, provide some of the technologies. Enterprise Portals provide an effective deployment capability for these technologies. Together, they remove many constraints and limitations of the past. Enterprise Portals evolve from Data Warehouses. With XML they provide ready access to structured and unstructured data and information within, and outside, the enterprise.  

Applications in an Enterprise Portal are web-enabled. The user interface is simplified. It is a common point-and-click browser interface, with online forms for data input. Tables, reports and other results are dynamically generated. These replace the different interfaces used by legacy systems, relational databases, client / server products and offline reference documents. Instead of a multitude of input formats and user instructions, with significant operator training overheads, we see a simple, well-understood interface that can be used with any application. Staff are easier to train. People can provide input related to their job, often as a normal part of that job.

The difficulty of providing ready access to unstructured data in text documents and reports, with graphics and images, is resolved by using XML. Resources that exist as unstructured data in Word, PDF or other document formats can be seamlessly integrated by XML with structured data in databases to support reengineered processes. Audio and video resources can also be easily included, accessible from a browser at the click of a mouse.

Process and change constraints that were difficult to overcome earlier using Business Process Reengineering can be eased with XML. Rather than requiring complete redevelopment of legacy applications and systems to implement reengineered processes, instead systems and process transformations can be achieved by using XML applications and databases for legacy system transformation. By using XML, legacy systems may continue to be used in part or in whole without their complete replacement - which was the only solution prior to the availability of XML.

New products have recently been released to support the development of XML applications and XML databases for use via Enterprise Portals. One outstanding product is described below:

eXcelon (Object Design, Inc): eXcelon is one of the first XML database products to be released. It offers a full - function XML application development environment, with high - performance and highly scalable XML database and XML data server support. The latest version of eXcelon (V2.0) includes eXcelon Explorer and eXcelon Studio. These support high productivity drag-and-drop development of XML databases and applications. eXcelon Stylus uses XSL to transform XML documents and databases to HTML, for access via web browsers. 

During operation, eXcelon supports very high performance web applications with XML cache databases. This is achieved using eXcelon Manager, with automatic load balancing across multiple XML data servers running on Windows NT. 

Enterprise Portal Overview Workshop: This workshop provides basic XML and Enterprise Portal training, and metadata definition using Visible Advantage for XML database generation. It includes hands-on lab sessions in the use of Visible Advantage to generate XML Document Type Definition (DTD) files and eXcelon Document Content Description (DCD) files. It illustrates how eXcelon is used for XML application development.

Enterprise Portal Project Workshops: These are inhouse workshops that are tailored to each Enterprise Portal project, based on the results of the Overview Workshop above. The workshops enable metadata, XML databases and workflow - based or transaction - based XML application systems to be developed and delivered early.

Course descriptions for each of these Enterprise Portal workshops are available from the Inhouse Courses or Home page links of the IES Web Site. These descriptions can be used as the basis for further discussion by email. An Enterprise Portal project structure and schedule that is tailored to the unique needs of your organization will be developed for you - together with a cost-effective quotation. 

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AUTHOR

Clive Finkelstein is the "Father" of Information Engineering (IE), developed by him from 1976. He is an International Consultant and Instructor, and was the Managing Director of Information Engineering Services Pty Ltd (IES) in Australia. 

Clive Finkelstein's books, online interviews, courses and details are available at http://www.ies.aust.com/cbfindex.htm.

For More Information, Contact:

  Clive Finkelstein
59B Valentine Ave
Dianella, Perth WA 6059 Australia
 
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(c) Copyright 1995-2015 Clive Finkelstein. All Rights Reserved.


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