Executable enterprise architecture
Just come off the phone from an excellent conversation with Sigurd Rinde, developer of Thingamy – brilliantly summarised by Hugh ‘gapingvoid’ MacLeod on 30megs.com (“Here’s 30 megs. Now go run Germany.”)
Key point is that it connects exactly with whole-of-enterprise architecture: the architecture analysis phase – the ‘enterprise ontology’ – leads directly to enterprise software for information/process flow. So it’s not just ‘actionable enterprise architecture’ – to use a current popular buzz-term – but executable enterprise architecture. A few of the existing enterprise architecture toolsets are starting to get somewhere close to this – EVA NetModeler from Promis being perhaps the best example – but this comes at it from another direction entirely, and a more immediately usable direction at that.
That’s just the start. The key aim of Thingamy is to tackle the complex, near-chaotic, barely-repeatable process-flows that businesses really use in most of their work, and which to date have barely been addressed by existing enterprise software, precisely because they don’t fit the usual clunky true/false logic. The real-world processes that people use, in fact. Sigurd suggests that something like two-thirds of all business processes fit into this ‘barely repeatable’ category, yet almost all ‘enterprise software’ efforts to date have focussed on the ‘easily repeatable’ end of the scale, precisely because it is ‘easier’ (easier to sell to those who cling onto wistful dreams of ‘control’, too… :wrygrin: ). As with the comparison of analogue and digital – analogue can replicate digital, but digital can never do more than provide a abstraction of analogue – so too are the ‘easily repeatable’ processes merely a limited subset of the real ‘barely repeatable’ ones. So something that’s designed to tackle the ‘barely repeatable’ processes can also do all the ‘easily repeatable’ ones – yet much, much more. Definitely interesting…
To an enterprise architect, one obvious example of a ‘barely repeatable process’ is enterprise architecture itself. With many thanks to Sigurd, I’ve downloaded a copy of Thingamy, and over the next few weeks – time and sanity permitting – will have a go at implementing an executable version of my amended-TOGAF ADM, as one directly useful place to start. Watch this space?
[Many thanks to Sally Bean for her initial pointer to the 30megs site, by the way.]