This somewhat impenetrable acronym is one of the best things I’ve seen in enterprise architecture for a fair old while, ‘cos it means that someone is thinking wider than just IT boxes…

The ‘someone’ in this case is Nigel Green and Carl Bate at CapGemini, and the acronym stands for the following:

  • Values
  • Policies
  • Events
  • Content
  • Trust

They use it as a checklist for a review-process that happens before the usual “let’s rush off and build an architecture solution”. As they put it, “ask ‘What?’ before ‘How?'” (with ‘What’ meaning more ‘what do we want to do?’ – in other words closer to a Zachman ‘Why’). The aim is to create a proper translation between business and IT – hence the title of their book, Lost In Translation [on Amazon.co.uk], which describes the checklist and how to use it in practice.

In essence, this is the Zachman columns ‘Why’ (Policies), ‘When’ (Events) and ‘What’ (Content), with their Values being the equivalent to my extra ‘row-Zero’ on Zachman. (I note, though, that they’re right to point out that Values permeates every layer, not just at the highest level: this suggests that it really is another dimension relative to the Zachman frame, and that my simplification of it to a ‘row-0’ may be just that bit too much of a convenience… hmm…)

The ‘-‘ before the ‘-T’ is there for a reason. (It’s not just that ‘trust’ doesn’t sit anywhere in the Zachman frame. Which it doesn’t – which could be a useful topic for another post?) The key issue in all of this ‘translation’ is trust – or, more to the point, the lack of it. And the aim is to create that trust. Because if the trust doesn’t exist, we don’t have a usable architecture. Or, eventually, an enterprise, for that matter. :wrygrin:

More details in the book, or on their website www.LIThandbook.com, which includes a free download of the introductory chapter. Perhaps still a bit too IT-centric for my taste, but hey, that’s where the big problems are, yes? 🙂

Had a really good conversation with Nigel Green on all of this last week, and look forward to hearing more.

All in all, very strongly recommended.

3 Comments on “VPEC-T

  1. Tom

    I agree that it’s good to see people thinking beyond the rush to IT. However, the Green and Bate list highlighted in your post will need much more wrapping around it (for example understanding and learning) to become truly effective.

    Nevertheless I am reassured that more people are recognising that the IT-centric paradigm is redundant and that the time to move forward is long overdue. Check out my blog (Fighting the Trillion Dollar Bonfire) if you want to know more about my own position on this very serious issue.

  2. Hi Colin

    Yes, agreed – my point in this post, and in this area in general is to re-use what we have, by getting the present generation of nominal ‘enterprise architects’ to start thinking wider, rather than trying to throw the whole lot out. (Sure, some of the IT-centric thinking _does_ need to be thrown out in its entirety, but much is re-usable once there’s awareness of the broader scope needed at the real enterprise-level)

    Will follow through in more depth when I come back from vacation – I’m currently in Portugal, in part in the vain hope that it’ll get me to finish the now long-overdue book “Bridging the Silos: enterprise architecture for IT-architects”. 🙂

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