Architecture Model Integration – Join the Dots!

In this series of blog posts I will describe integration of architecture models with external content sources, such as spreadsheets, databases, CMDBs and Master Data Management systems. I’ll also describe how best to synchronise between the two and ‘join the dots’ between different information sources to form a coherent and holistic architecture model.

Architecture models, and in particular ArchiMate models, are often used to join data originating from different information sources to form a single model and coherent architecture. The data may be migrated into the architecture model as a one-off activity and managed in the model thereafter; or ‘mastered’ externally and regularly imported into the model. The data can then be joined to other datasets that may also originate from other sources or be mastered directly in the model.  Data sources may be spreadsheets, databases, Service Management (ITSM) repositories and CMDBs; and the data being imported may represent objects, relationships between objects and relevant metadata such as IDs and descriptions.

Figure 1 – Master Data Model Integration

 

As represented in the diagram above, the process generally followed is:

  1.  Integrate with external data sources to receive and import the data into the tool. Cleansing and transformation can be performed here if necessary.
  2.  Identify the applicable ArchiMate elements that align to each source of data, such as Application Components, Locations and Devices. In other words, convert the source data that may represent applications, sites and servers to the applicable concepts in ArchiMate.
  3.  Match the source data with existing elements within the architecture model. To eliminate duplication in the model it’s best to match the existing objects and relationships that relate to our source data. This is usually best achieved by using the IDs from the original data source, or if necessary it is possible to match by name. Data can therefore be imported as new elements, or may override and replace data for existing elements. It’s important to be clear on whether the objects and relationships are being mastered in the external data sources or within the architecture model.
  4.  Once the data has been imported into the model, it is then possible to enrich directly within the model and join with other model elements to form a single coherent and holistic architecture.
  5.  Reports can be produced from the architecture model showing different viewpoints for different stakeholders. These are often in the form of spreadsheet tables, matrices, diagrams and dashboards.

 

The blog posts that follow will focus on a particular stage in the process, so stay tuned!

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Enterprise Architecture Modelling

Edifit has produced ArchiMate models for clients in the Uk & Ireland which document the organisation’s “as-is” (existing) and “to-be” (future) architectures. The model is often used for the following benefits:

 

As-is Architecture
Capture and visualise the “as-is” architecture. Enables multiple stakeholder groups to visually understand the current Business and IT landscape.

System Dependencies

Understand how each component is connected. For example, how applications are used by business processes and business roles; how applications interface with other applications; which infrastructure platforms host business applications

Reporting

Once the information is held in the model we can produce reports from it, including spreadsheets, matrices and diagrams, from the click of a button. The reports query the model and ask questions to produce reports. For example, a question may be:  if a server fails how will this affect the applications it hosts and the business processes or teams dependent on it.

“As-is” vs “To-be”

It is also possible to model future ‘to-be’ architecture states and show how the organisation will change over time via projects and programmes. This helps organisations to visualise the changes being made and understand the impacts. It is also possible to produce roadmap diagrams showing the organisation’s evolution over time, e.g. comparing by 2015 vs 2016 vs 2017

 Training, Architecture Capability & Governance

Edifit has worked with clients in the past to provide training services that help the stakeholders learn ArchiMate and build an internal capability to use the modelling tool. This helps to realise the benefits and return on investment. We also help our clients integrate a process for maintaining the model into existing governance processes.

Business Intelligence

Edifit also integrates the ArchiMate model with other systems via Business Intelligence tools. This can being the following benefits:
  • automate maintenance of the model by importing from existing data sources
  • Master Data Management capabilities that can be integrated with the ArchiMate model. MDM manages the list of components and the model joins the dots
  • Advanced reports and dashboards for key stakeholders

Contract Modelling

The use of third party suppliers is ubiquitous. In today’s digital world the Internet and, more recently, the Cloud have created larger marketplaces where businesses of all sizes can compete globally and offer services using a number of commercial models such as pay per use, e.g. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

In some cases organisations may find that the service they purchase, or at least a subset of it, is actually delivered by another third party contracted directly by the prime supplier. In most cases this is an acceptable supplier model to use, but the organisation consuming the service may at least want to know of the sub-contracting supplier’s existence, especially if the service is visible in the public domain.

To explain the objects and relationships that exist with supplier models, we recommend the use of the following terms:

  • Service Consumer – an organisation purchasing a product consisting of one or many services (either Business, Application or Infrastructure).
  • Prime Service Provider – an organisation that sells a product to a Service Consumer. This product provides the entitlement to consume specific services.
  • Sub-Contractor – a third party that holds a contract with the Prime Service Provider to deliver a service that forms part of the overall service consumed.

Edifit has worked with a number of clients where there is a need to understand which components of the overall service are delivered by third parties, be they Prime or Sub-Contractors. We’ve found that in some cases a supplier may be the prime provider for one service and the sub-contractor for another service. We help organisations understand the services provided by their suppliers and the impact of changing a contract or the services in scope. We also enable insight by joining disconnected datasets without changing the accountabilities for delivery.

By using Archimate 2.0 it is possible to model the:

  • Consumers
  • Service Providers (Prime and Sub-Contractors)
  • Products
  • Services (Business, Application and Infrastructure)

The diagram below is an example of how we often recommend modelling these concepts and their relationships. This model enables our clients to calculate which services are supplied by the prime contractor directly, and which are provided by their sub-contractors. view 3

Edifit has a wealth of experience of Enterprise Architecture modelling and we are passionate about delivering insight by simplifying the complex relationships that exist cross-domain (Business and IT). If you too would like some assistance please contact us and we’ll be glad to help.

Stay tuned for our next blog where we’ll focus on Edifit’s recommended approach to managing our supplier model.