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Big Architecture for CEOs

Written by John A. Zachman on Thursday, 08 October 2015. Posted in Zachman International

We've been having a great GovEA Conference this year- no shortage of good speakers, exhibits and vendors.

I had the distinct pleasure of introducing my long-time friend and colleague, Scott Bernard who has been the U.S. Federal Chief Enterprise Architect for the last several years.

Scott was gracious enough to come to my 80th Birthday Gala in Universal City last year to speak to a room of folks who who came there to celebrate.

As usual, it was great being with him, however I wanted to make a comment on something he said during his keynote address at the conference.

I've been saying for a long time that Enterprise Architecture should be about just that: ENTERPRISE Architecture. For the most part, I never get any pushback about that concept, however because of the sheer amount of inertia that has made EA all about building IT models, it is difficult to get people to change their behavior.

I've also been saying for some time, that Enterprise Architecture should be the way to get at solving General Management problems and in that, to be able to store the "primitive” (enterprise knowledgebase) assets in order to diagnose enterprise (General Management) problems and present prescriptive alternatives, moving the whole architecture discipline from that of a trade to a profession (click here for that discussion). I don't care if the problem is revenue production, product innovation or application rationalization... any typical "pain points" that Executives face daily.

Scott said something very interesting in his keynote address: he used the term "Big Architecture," and stated that "Big Architecture looks at the whole Enterprise in all aspects." He followed it up with a discussion about getting EA in front of Executives and thus validating that we don't need more models in EA, but a profession that actually adds value to the Enterprise. In essence, Scott was talking about "Big Architecture for CEOs."

There are many of us who understand that this is precisely the original intent of Enterprise Architecture, however I thought this "re-branding," if you will, might be coming at a good time and just also might be a very good way to encapsulate the benefit that Enterprise Architecture actually has if we can get it in front of the right people.

We have found time and time again, that the CEOs who embrace the ideas of Enterprise Architecture, or "Big Architecture," are able to move with agility through the high rates of complexity and change that characterize today's environment.

Thanks to Scott for his many years of contributions to this community and for the continued push to let the world know that Enterprise Architecture, or more appropriately "Big Architecture for CEOs," contains many of the answers that so many are searching for.

About the Author

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman is the originator of the “Framework for Enterprise Architecture” (The Zachman Framework™) which has received broad acceptance around the world as an integrative framework, an ontology for descriptive representations for Enterprises. Mr. Zachman is not only known for this work on Enterprise Architecture, but is also known for his early contributions to IBM’s Information Strategy methodology (Business Systems Planning) as well as to their Executive team planning techniques (Intensive Planning).

Mr. Zachman retired from IBM in 1990, having served them for 26 years. He is Founder and Chairman of his own education and consulting business, Zachman International®. He is also the Executive Director of the Federated Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute (The FEAC® Institute) in Washington, D.C., as well as the Chairman of the Zachman Institute™, a non-profit organization devoted to leveraging Zachman International's vast network of professionals and resources to offer services to small businesses and non-profit organizations as they prepare for and experience growth.

Mr. Zachman serves on the Executive Council for Information Management and Technology (ECIMT) of the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and on the Advisory Board of the Data Administration Management Association International (DAMA-I) from whom he was awarded the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award. In August 2015, Mr. Zachman was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for “recognition of his long term impact and contribution to how people think and practice Enterprise Architecture today, leaving his mark on generations to come” by the Global University Alliance and LEADing Practice. He was awarded the 2009 Enterprise Architecture Professional Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession as well as the 2004 Oakland University, Applied Technology in Business (ATIB), Award for IS Excellence and Innovation. In August 2011, he was awarded the Gen. Colin Powell Public Sector Image Award by the Armed Services Alliance Program. In November 2013 he was acknowledged for Achievement and Excellence for Distinguished Innovative Academic Contribution by the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society Technical Committees on Enterprise Information Systems and on Enterprise Architecture and Engineering.

Mr. Zachman has been focusing on Enterprise Architecture since 1970 and has written extensively on the subject. He has facilitated innumerable executive team planning sessions. He travels nationally and internationally, teaching and consulting, and is a popular conference speaker, known for his motivating messages on Enterprise Architecture issues. He has spoken to many thousands of enterprise managers and information professionals on every continent.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Zachman serves on the Elder Council of the Church on the Way (First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California), the Board of Directors of Living Way Ministries, a radio and television ministry of the Church on the Way, the President’s Cabinet of the King’s University, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Citywide Children’s Christian Choir, the Board of Directors of Heavenworks, an international ministry to the French-speaking world and on the Board of Directors of Native Hope International, a Los Angeles-based ministry to the Native American people.

Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Zachman served as a line officer in the United States Navy and is a retired Commander in the U. S. Naval Reserve. He chaired a panel on "Planning, Development and Maintenance Tools and Methods Integration" for the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. He holds a degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University, has taught at Tufts University, has served on the Board of Councilors for the School of Library and Information Management at the University of Southern California, as a Special Advisor to the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, on the Advisory Council to the School of Library and Information Management at Dominican University and on the Advisory Board for the Data Resource Management Program at the University of Washington. He has been a Fellow for the College of Business Administration of the University of North Texas and currently is listed in Cambridge Who’s Who.

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