John Zachman

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John A. Zachman (born December 16, 1934) is an American business and IT consultant, early pioneer of enterprise architecture, Chief Executive Officer of Zachman International, and originator of the Zachman Framework.


  • A significant observation regarding... architectural representations is that each is of a different nature than the others. They are not merely a set of representations, each of which is an increasing level of detail than the previous one. Level of detail is an independent variable, varying within each architectural representation.
    • Zachman (1986) as cited in: Peter Bernus, Kai Mertins, Günter Schmidt (2005) Handbook on Architectures of Information Systems. p. 544
When the rate of change increases to the point that real time required to assimilate change exceeds the time in with change must be manifest, the enterprise is going to find itself in deep yogurt.
- Zachman (1994)
  • When the rate of change increases to the point that real time required to assimilate change exceeds the time in with change must be manifest, the enterprise is going to find itself in deep yogurt.
    • Zachman (1994) cited in: Ronald G. Ross (2003) Principles of the Business Rule Approach. p. 35
  • A framework as it applies to enterprises is simply a logical structure for classifying and organising the descriptive representations of an enterprise that are significant to the management of the enterprise as well as to the development of the enterprise's system [with the aim of] rationalising the carious concepts and specifications in order to provide for clarity of professional communication, to allow for improving and integrating development methodologies and tools, and to establish credibility and confidence in the investment of systems resources.
    • Zachman cited in: Egon Berghout and Dan Remenyi, Egon Berghout (2003) Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Information Technology Evaluation - 2003. p. 503
    • In this quote the "framework" refers to the Zachman Framework
  • It is not adequate merely to produce running code. In the long term, enterprise value lies in the models themselves. They have intrinsic value in their own right, as they constitute the baseline for managing change
    • Zachman cited in: Carol O'Rourke, Neal Fishman, Warren Selkow (2003) Enterprise architecture using the Zachman Framework. p. 538
  • (Enterprise Architecture is) the set of descriptive representations (i.e., models) that are relevant for describing an Enterprise such that it can be produced to management's requirements (quality) and maintained over the period of its useful life.
    • Zachman (1987) cited in: Antonio Laganà, Marina L. Gavrilova, Vipin Kumar (2004) Computational Science and Its Applications -- ICCSA 2004. p. 604

Business Systems Planning and Business Information Control Study: A comparison, 1982

John Zachman (1982), "Business Systems Planning and Business Information Control Study: A comparison" in IBM Systems Journal 21 (1)
  • Business System Planning (BSP) and Business Information Control Study (BICS) are two information system planning study methodologies that specifically employ enterprise analysis techniques in the course of their analysis. Underlying the BSP and BICS analysis are the data management problems that result from systems design approaches that optimize the management of technology at the expense of managing the data.
    • p. 31
  • Business System Planning (BSP) and Business Information Control Study (BICS) are representative of enterprise analysis tools that are growing in importance and are likely to become mandatory for ant business that continues to grow and evolve.
    • p. 31
  • Although many popular information systems planning methodologies, design approaches, and various tools and techniques do not preclude or are not inconsistent with enterprise-level analysis, few of them explicitly address or attempt to define enterprise architectures. Some examples of such popular offerings include
    • Planning Methodologies: Stage Assessment, Critical Success Factors, Strategy Set Transformation, etc.
    • Design Approaches: Structured Analysis, Entity-Relationship Approaches, etc.
    • Tools and Techniques"Problem Statement Language/Problem Statement Analyzer (PSL/PSA), Prototype Development Methodology, Structured Analyses and Design Techniques, etc.
From an historical perspective, BSP and BICS likely will be looked back on as primitive attempts to take an explicit, enterprise-level architectural approach to information systems.
  • p. 32
  • The analytical approach employed by both BSP and BISC is "top down". The implications of the words "top down" are multiple and varied, and all apply to these analysis. For instance:
    • Top down implies scope - that is, looking at the business as a whole as opposed to looking at pieces or subparts of it.
  • • Top down implies level of detail that is, looking at the highest level of summarization and then decomposing hierarchically to lower levels of detail as required.

• Top down implies perspective - that is, the perspective of the highest levels of management as opposed to the operational levels of management.

    • p. 34

A Framework for Information Systems Architecture, 1987

John Zachman (1987), "A framework for information systems architecture". In: IBM Systems Journal, Vol 26, Issue 3, p. 276-292
  • With increasing size and complexity of the implementations of information systems, it is necessary to use some logical construct (or architecture) for defining and controlling the interfaces and the integration of all of the components of the system.
    • p. 276, cited in: CM Pereira (2004), "A method to define an Enterprise Architecture using the Zachman Framework". in: SAC '04 Proceedings of the 2004 ACM symposium on Applied computing. pp. 1366-1371
  • Decentralization without structure is chaos.
    • p. 276 cited in: Robert Mylls (1994) Information engineering: CASE, practices and techniques. p. 8
To keep the business from disintegrating, the concept of information systems architecture is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity
- Zachman, 1987.
  • To keep the business from disintegrating, the concept of information systems architecture is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity
    • p. 276, cited in: Jaap Schekkerman (2003) How to Survive in the Jungle of Enterprise Architecture. p. 131
  • [In Mr. Zachman's view] the architect's drawings [represent] a transcription of the owner's perceptual requirements.
    • p. 278 cited in: David C. Hay (2003) Requirements Analysis: From Business Views to Architecture. p. 5
    • In the 1987 article Zachman states: The architect’s drawings are a transcription of the owner’s perceptual requirements.
  • [Zachman reasons that] an analogous set of architectural representations is likely to be produced in building any complex product.
    • p. 281 as cited in: San Murugesan, Yogesh Deshpande (2001) Web Engineering: Managing Diversity and Complexity of Web. p, 126
  • There is a set of architectural representations produced over the process of building a complex engineering product representing the different perspectives of the different participants.
    • p. 283. cited in: Stephen L. Montgomery (1994) Object-oriented information engineering: : analysis, design, and implementation. p. 279

Extending and Formalizing the Framework for Information Systems Architecture, 1992

Sowa, J. F.; Zachman, J. A. (1992). "Extending and formalizing the framework for information systems architecture". IBM Systems Journal, 31(3), pp. 590–616
  • The world contains entities, processes, locations, people, times, and purposes. Computer systems are filled with bits, bytes, numbers, and the programs that manipulate them. If the computer is to do anything useful, the concrete things in the world must be related to the abstract bits in the computer. Zachman’s framework for information systems architecture (ISA) makes that link. It provides a systematic taxonomy of concepts for relating things in the world to the representations in the computer.
    • p. 590
  • Soon, the enterprise of the information age will find itself immobilized if it does not have the ability to tap the information resources within and without its boundaries.
    • p. 613, cited in: Nik Bessis, Fatos Xhafa (2011) Next Generation Data Technologies for Collective Computational Intelligence. p. 84
  • It is only the advent of an automated model storage facility or repository that brings any of this into the realm of feasibility and makes architecture a reality. It does not mean to suggest that all of these ideas will be immediately available in any particular repository product. It only means that they come into the realm of feasibility as repository technology becomes a reality.
    • p. 615

Concepts of the Framework for Enterprise Architecture, 1993

John A. Zachman (1993) Concepts of the Framework for Enterprise Architecture, Zachman International paper, 1993-1997
  • In the early ‘80’s, there was little interest in the idea of Enterprise Reengineering or Enterprise Modeling and the use of formalisms and models was generally limited to some aspects of application development within the Information Systems community. The subject of "architecture" was acknowledged at that time, however, there was little definition to support the concept. This lack of definition precipitated the initial investigation that ultimately resulted in the "Framework for Information Systems Architecture." Although from the outset, it was clear that it should have been referred to as a "Framework for Enterprise Architecture," that enlarged perspective could only now begin to be generally understood as a result of the relatively recent and increased, worldwide focus on Enterprise "engineering."
    • p. 1
  • The older disciplines of Architecture and Manufacturing have accumulated considerable bodies of product knowledge through disciplined management of the "product definition" design artifacts. This has enabled enormous increases in product sophistication and the ability to manage high rates of product change over time. Similarly, disciplined production and management of "Enterprise definition" (i.e. the set of models identified in the Framework for Enterprise Architecture) should provide for an accumulation of a body of Enterprise knowledge to facilitate enormous increases in Enterprise sophistication and accommodation of high rates of Enterprise change over time.
    • p. 3

Enterprise Architecture: The Issue of The Century, 1997

J. A. Zachman (1997), "Enterprise architecture: The issue of the century," Database Programming and Design, 1997
  • The Information Age is unfolding just as predicted by many of the sociological prognosticators of this century. Information issues are on everyone’s mind and on multitudes of lips. It is hard to pick up a newspaper or current affairs magazine without seeing a feature on the internet, web pages, e-mail, television terminals or some other new technology. In fact, technology innovation is relentless and escalating and technology stocks continually drive the stock market to high after high. There is no field of human endeavor that is exempt from the onslaught of information technology.
    • p. 1
  • Issues of quality, timeliness and change are the conditions that are forcing us to face up to the issues of enterprise architecture. The precedent of all the older disciplines known today establishes the concept of architecture as central to the ability to produce quality and timely results and to manage change in complex products. Architecture is the cornerstone for containing enterprise frustration and leveraging technology innovations to fulfill the expectations of a viable and dynamic Information Age enterprise.
    • p. 1-2

About John Zachman

  • I came from the information strategy community in the early days and even by the late 1960's, we were quite competent to do information strategy. Although the strategy tools and the methods have improved substantially, the analytical process was quite good understood decades ago. Our problem was, we were have grave difficulties getting from strategy... to implementation.
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