Much has been written in various forums about how enterprise architecture seems to fail in delivering the promised
value across many organizations from a business perspective.
Through these posts, two of the common sources of this problem become apparent:
K With the time it takes for the development of enterprise
architecture, the timeframe of such operations often wear
out the organization’s patience.
K The output typically ends up
being limited to an IT perspective instead of comprehensively
covering the organization (e.g.
including business and strategic
views), as required by stakeholders across the enterprise.
The good news is that solutions
have emerged for the above challenges.
To solve these challenges, organizations like The Open Group,
with the support of hundreds of
member organizations around the
world, have created methodologies like the TOGAF Architecture
Development Method (ADM).
The TOGAF ADM provides a
time-proven process to produce
technology, and implementation
perspectives that stakeholders
participating in the projects need.
In order to ensure success, the
ADM provides a phased approach with built-in validation steps
to ensure the right set of artifacts is produced at each stage of
the architecture process.
However, the architects often end up reinventing the wheel
when following such a process. For example, one can easily find
architects assembling a list of business processes on a proj-
ect-by-project basis, even though there is a significant overlap of
processes across the projects. As a result, by the time the enter-
prise architects (EA) are done, the rest of the organization has
already labeled the EA effort as a failure. Also, while reinventing
the wheel, the enterprise architects often have to cut corners in
order to save on cost and time, resulting in an architecture that
lacks necessary levels of depth or breadth.
To fix this problem, the TOGAF ADM methodology recommends another concept called the Architecture Continuum,
which uses a progression of generalized to specialized architectures to facilitate reuse. The following diagram from TOGAF
illustrates this concept:
The architecture continuum recommends creating organization-specific architecture by leveraging industry reference
architectures as a base. This speeds up the architecture efforts of the
organization and also provides the benefit of the knowledge vested
in the industry architecture. Over time, multiple organizations contribute parts of their architecture back to the industry architecture,
resulting in a continuous cycle of elaboration and reuse.
A critical dependency of this elaboration-reuse cycle is the
availability of industry reference architectures, which is fulfilled
by a number of robust, industry-specific reference architectures.
The following is a list of prominent contribution-based industry
K The IRBI: Industry Reference Blueprint for Insurance
(Property and Casualty Edition)
K ACORD Framework: Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development
K OMG: Object Management Group (P&C Model)
Banking & Mortgage
K BIAN: Banking Industry Architecture Network
K MISMO: Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization
Enterprise Architecture Headaches
Organizations are working on the positive developments that will give insurers a
strategic view of their business.