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Thursday, January 05, 2006


Zachman Economics

John Zachman states that we "can't cost-justify" architecture. I heard him state it verbatim to the Kool-Aid drinkers at a DAMA chapter meeting here in Portland last year. Before you get the idea that I think ill of the man and his work, let me state forthwith that I view his overall contributions to be seminal to what we now call enterprise architecture. Although I have more than a few quibbles with aspects of the Zachman Framework, its use, and his subsequent work after that, I have tremendous respect for him.

OK, that being said, I have a number of issues with the statement he made concerning cost-justification:

  1. He doesn't tell us, at least not directly, whether he's referring to cost-justifying enterprise architecture efforts (i.e. the process and personnel EA requires) or the actual architecture produced (the as-is and to-be states).
  2. If he's referring to the latter case in point (1) above, then cost-justification of the as-is state is a moot point since the architecture already exists. Last I checked, we don't cost-justify existing architecture that we already paid for with one exception...
  3. ...and that is it needs to be replaced or refactored. Which, of course, is the to-be state and would need to cost-justified to the business and IT management in any event. Why, then, is he telling us that we can't do that? That we shouldn't, or that it will never come out correctly (and exactly who's standard is being applied to that assessment)?
Now if he's talking about cost-justifying architecture efforts, that's another matter entirely, and something I'm going to leave to a posting next week, but suffice it to say his principle doesn't hold much water there either.

If I missed something in his message along those lines, anybody in the blogosphere should feel free to correct me.

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