a structural representation of a business solution as it relates to creating business value and achieving business goalsLike most practitioners we mean a blueprint. Actually, blueprint doesn’t completely align with the dictionary definitions of architecture. You can take your pick from the following alternatives, but not one of them refers to a representation of what is being built.
1. Art and Science: the art or practice of designing and building structures … in accordance with principles determined by aesthetic and practical or material considerations
2. Structure: formation or construction whether the result of conscious act or of growth or of random disposition of the parts … e.g., architecture and function of the cerebral cortex
3. Specific Result: instance of the exercise of the art or science of architecture … architectural product: architectural work … e.g., the mansions which comprise the entire architecture of the Square
4. Method of Style: a method or style of building characterized by certain peculiarities of structure …The first definition above refers to architecture as an art and science. That’s what architecture students go to universities to learn, and what professional architects practice daily. Who today really thinks of business architecture as an art and science? It should be – and it probably will be eventually – but it’s not yet. The first definition also highlights principles. Any viable approach to business architecture must enumerate its principles and adhere to them closely. That’s not just so much talk. The approach must provide proper thinking tools so that you can consistently act in accordance with the principles. Do most current approaches to business architecture provide such thinking tools? I think not. If they did, they would feature:
1. The quest for ‘certainty’ in an inherently-uncertain world is futile. Rules of all kinds exist to help human thinking and human judgment, not to act as a substitute for it.
2. The software vendors … are frankly not far short of committing fraud with many of the claims they make as to the efficacy and validity of their ‘business-rules engines’.The term business rule unfortunately has been hijacked by software vendors to mean something very different from the original concept. For example, production rules (the basis for the majority of current product offerings) are not business rules. Full stop. This distorted view of business rule needs to be rectified. Don’t let yourself be sucked into it! For real business rules there are three (optional) supplemental specifications for each business rule statement:
(1) level of enforcement
(2) violation (breach) response
(3) violation (breach) message.It is through these specifications that the richness of behavioral coordination can arise.
a computer program typically used to provide some form of artificial intelligence, which consists primarily of a set of rules about behaviorProduction rule systems are a class of platform whose rule format and operation are aimed toward developers. According to Wikipedia:
“A production system provides the mechanism necessary to execute productions in order to achieve some goal for the system. Productions consist of two parts: a sensory precondition (or ‘IF’ statement) and an action (or ‘THEN’). If a production’s precondition matches the current state of the world, then the production is said to be triggered. If a production’s action is executed, it is said to have fired.”
1. John Zachman says enterprises (organizations) are the most complicated things ever invented by humans. Now I can think of some things that are pretty darn complicated … say nuclear weapons … but ultimately they reduce to mathematical equations. Businesses don’t. He’s probably right.
2. We’ve been at automating enterprises for how long? Say 50 years? Only one generation. Our generation (well, mine anyway). There might be a few things we haven’t figured out yet?!
3. The power of computers has increased faster than our imagination about how to use them. Add to that the huge inertia faced in changing the current skill base (much less the current legacy portfolios themselves) and it all adds up to … a gigantic logjam.And that’s where we sit today. Management feels pain, but they can’t diagnose the real sources of the pain. IT knows … well … IT. The economics of the current scheme no longer produce real value except at the edges of operations (e.g., analytics, social media, etc.). And the current infrastructure is no longer scalable or sustainable cost-wise. Logjam. But what happens in a logjam? Pressure builds up and eventually it bursts. So let me repeat my prediction made a few posts back … and add that something equivalent will eventually happen for business architecture.
>> In the long run the whole equation will change. The fundamental problem lies with the fact that business rules still have to be programmed. (Even production rules are programming.) Take programmers out of the business of implementing rules, put business analysts and skilled writers in their place (with appropriate tools), and the current economics of rule management (and IT as a whole) can be improved by at least an order of magnitude. At least!Entrepreneurs will eventually see the opportunity. (I just hope some of them are in North America.)