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Bhaumik Nagar
Head-IT,
National Institute of Design, Paldi, Ahmedabad-Gujarat

High Time to Adapt EA Best Practices

Enterprise architecture (EA) helps enterprises to better align their IT systems with business objectives. EA guides the process of planning and designing the IT/IS capabilities of an enterprise in order to achieve enterprise goal.

TOGAF (The open group architecture framework) and TM Forum Frameworx are two leading enterprise architecture frameworks in their respective areas. TOGAF defines a method to achieve EA processes and provides various references to the architectural content frameworks. It also articulates the concept of enterprise continuum and development of capabilities based on business needs. It is a generic framework which can be used by any industries.

Frameworx is focused on the telecom industry and adapted by more than 75 percent of the top CSPs globally. It is a suite of best practices and standards that provides the blueprint for effective, efficient business operations. It defines the common business processes of a service provider (eTOM-Business Process Framework) and provides a comprehensive common information, data model covering a wider set of business concept relevant within a service provider’s environment (SID-Shared Information and Data Model). It acts as a working guide to help operators and their suppliers use a common reference map and language (TAM-Telecom Application Map).

How Frameworx Is Useful?

  • Innovates and reduces time-to-market with streamlined end-to-end service management
  • Creates, delivers, and manages enterprises-grade services across a multi-partner value-chain
  • Improves customer experience and retention using proven processes, metrics, and maturity models
  • Optimizes business processes to deliver highly efficient, automated operations
  • Reduces integration costs and risk through standardized interfaces and a common information model
  • Reduces transformation risk by delivering a proven blueprint for agile, efficient business operations
  • Provides independence and confidence in procurement choices through conformance certification and procurement guides
  • Offers clarity by providing a common, industry-standard language

TOGAF and Frameworx – Common Areas

  • Common system architecture of Frameworx and ADM phases of TOGAF focuses on development of business, data, application, and technology architecture.
  • Mapping of TM forum assets can be achieved using TOGAF architecture repository.
  • Using TOGAF enterprise continuum language, TM forum assets can be classified either as industry architecture or common system architecture.
  • Transformation of TM forum assets into deliverables for a specific program can be achieved using templates and guidelines of TOGAF.
  • Artifacts from TM forum can be developed, by using architecture content framework of TOGAF.

Where Does Frameworx Fit in?

The preliminary stage of TOGAF is to include all the relevant sections of the enterprise to develop enterprise architecture. This phase has to ensure that EA is not about IT solutions alone. It should include all the areas of enterprise, which are going to be affected by EA. This helps to define the scope of EA project, define footprints, framework, most importantly the enterprise and architecture principles, and create request for enterprise architecture.

Preliminary stage does not exist separately in Frameworx, but it can be defined using existing change procedures and processes to start a new architecture project. The application framework fundamentals (TAM) are useful to establish and refine telecommunication-specific principles for CSPs. TOGAF guidelines are useful at this juncture to acquire support of all stakeholders and ensure that these are fully understood by them.

After the scope of EA is confirmed, governance and support frameworks need to be defined and agreed upon by all stakeholders. The SID conformance, compliance criteria, and conformance levels can be used together with architecture compliance and architecture governance of TOGAF to evaluate potential application and confirm the architecture governance process.

The Architecture vision is a very important phase to convey the benefit of the proposed EA to the decision makers. It defines how the proposed architecture will align to the business goals, reinforce the strategic direction, principles of the enterprise, and address stakeholder’s concerns and objectives. TOGAF provides guidance on creating an architecture vision. eTOM, SID, and TAM strongly support the definition of the architecture scope and partitioning. eTOM and SID can be used to define the architecture domain to be used for the architecture approach. This will help in estimation of the efforts for architecture development.

Architecture Development

Business architecture demonstrates the business value and the requirement of respective technology support to key stakeholders and its RoI. It is a working model referred to throughout the lifecycle of EA project. eTOM describes the process and identifies the relevant Aggregate Business Entity from the SID. These processes become enterprise-specific by elaborating the goals into measurable output and by attributing the accountability for the outcome of a process to an actor or organizational function. The eTOM Frameworx solution helps to define the baseline, target architecture and gaps, describing building blocks, functions, processes, activities, services, roles, and responsibilities of actors. The gap between the baseline and the target architecture can be used to identify and resolve the impact across the enterprise. The final Business Architecture should include building blocks, functions, processes, roles and responsibilities, and the architecture definition document.

Information system architecture focuses on the data and application domain. The information framework (SID) can be used to represent the information and data architecture of the enterprise. Later, baseline technology architecture is defined in line with the work done during earlier stages of EA development. This leads to define the work packages required to deliver the solutions as per EA. eTOM, SID, and TAM can be used till phase C to define the baseline and target architecture. The subsequent TOGAF phases will ensure its implementation.

TOGAF guidelines suggest using requirement management in all phases of ADM. Frameworx uses eTOM, SID, and TAM to define business requirement in term of use cases.

TOGAF capability-based-planning is used to concentrate on business outcomes but it does not map to the Frameworx solutions eTOM, SID, and TAM. But using this technique with Frameworx solutions eTOM, SID, and TAM would make significant difference in the development of EA.

Enterprise Continuum and Repository

This is most important for any EA project. EA is defined at two levels – architecture and solution. Frameworx solutions eTOM, SID, and TAM reflect the industry architecture of the architecture continuum. These frameworks define specific building blocks for business processes, data, applications, and technology. Architecture repository helps to classify and categorize different types of architectural assets with different levels of abstraction. This helps to link the enterprise’s assets from design, deployment to service and operations. The Frameworx solution integration framework describes a repository of business services as a core of the distributed architecture, which provides a logical view of all the information regarding deployed distributed systems and the business services in scope.

Business Process, Gap Analysis and Migration

Frameworx does not have explicitly the business scenario technique in eTOM, SID, and TAM. Organizations may use system flow charts and use-case scenarios. The Frameworx solutions do not explicitly define anything about methodology for a gap analysis. Gap analysis is mentioned in TAM to identify the gaps between Frameworx solutions seen as the target architecture and the actual operator’s landscape as the baseline architecture. The eTOM processes and SID data structure can be used to define the current and target entities. This will lead to a better gap analysis for an enterprise.

The Frameworx solution TAM defines a clear target application set from which operators can either build a migration plan or create a greenfield structure. It also allows suppliers to clearly position their products and provides a common language and reference model for the industry worldwide. The TOGAF migration guidelines are also very useful while preparing migration plan.

Conclusion

TOGAF is more useful when an enterprise wants to focus on strengthening their EA processes, whereas Frameworx is better when focus is on CSP-specific artifacts. Both frameworks should be used according to their strength in the respective area. Enterprises need to study the pros and cons of TOGAF and Frameworx in line with their business objectives; accordingly customize the EA process and adapt Frameworx and TOGAF both. As business and operational models are very crucial for any CSP, it is better to prepare the organization to respond to market dynamics faster by strengthening their EA processes.

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