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About PantologEA

This work on Enterprise Architecture…

Was motivated by

the perception that EA is largely misunderstood, and thus, to the persistent detriment of enterprise performance and competitiveness, undervalued and under-exploited, this perception being informed by the particular observations that:

  • EA is typically considered to be an esoteric and difficult practice that delivers insufficient value
  • EA is only considered appropriate for enterprises of particular scale, with particularly complex IT
  • EA is erroneously thought of as an optional capability which may exist independently of business analysis, strategic planning, execution management, etc.
  • EA initiatives fail more often than they succeed

Despite which, diligent and enthusiastic EA practitioners have nonetheless delivered very significant benefits for the senior managers and executives of enterprises who had the vision to see that, by providing and exploiting integrated enterprise information, EA is the lever that converts knowledge to power.

Seeks to stimulate discussion

on all aspects of EA theory and practice and to offer new perspectives on EA intended to advance the practice of EA by:

  • Increasing understanding of what EA is
  • Explaining why EA is absolutely necessary to the function of the enterprise (to the extent of being unavoidable)
  • Exploring how EA has worked in the past and how it should work in future
  • Developing and clarifying fundamental concepts of EA so that the information generated by EA activities is more valuable to the enterprise by making it more accessible, intelligible, useful and actionable by everyone

Is predicated on

the following theses, which will be developed and justified in forthcoming articles:

  • EA is intrinsic to the operation of any enterprise: all enterprises already do EA, they merely differ in whether or not they are aware of doing it and how well they do it
  • Enterprises that consciously practise EA have benefitted from doing so – but at greater cost and for less benefit than should have been the case
  • The historical approach to EA is overcomplicated and lacks both conceptual rigour and clarity, as evidenced by major meta-models such as DoDAF, MODAF, TOGAF, etc.
  • Current EA practice, particularly in terms of processes and tools, is maladapted to the scale and rapidity of change in modern enterprises – the very things it should address effectively
  • Those who practise EA consciously and conscientiously enjoy significant competitive advantages over those who do not by virtue of being more assured and truly agile in the execution of strategy and more responsive to change in their internal and external environments

Will, progressively

  • Deliver precise, unambiguous definitions of key concepts such as Capability, System, Role, Management, Governance, Requirement etc. to facilitate the development of flexible but unambiguous architecture descriptions, reliable analyses
  • Identify the relationships between EA and: business analysis – particularly requirements analysis; quality – both assurance and control;

It will also comment on news relating to EA theory, practice and tools from other practitioners and tool vendors.

About the Author

Three Decades of Success

Julian Moore has been an engineering and architecture thought-leader addressing the problems of advanced and complex IT systems in high-tech, mission-critical and life-critical applications for public and private sector enterprises for over thirty years, with a track record of success in delivering complex turnkey systems right first time, on time and on budget – and sophisticated frameworks and methodologies for EA.

Having been involved in all key aspects of high-tech enterprises1Business, technical and operational management; requirements analysis, bidding, solutions architecture & design, quality, usw. usw. und so fort. he is a highly-experienced generalist2Quoth the author, “I do Stuff,” and “I see no box.” who employs multi-disciplinary best-practice in synthesising solutions to challenging problems.

As a generalist he makes no claim to be the expert in anything in particular3Though in some things probably I am., but his diverse knowledge and experience allows him to engage effectively and productively with the real experts and to challenge the expert-pretenders.

The Beginnings of Quality

His initial experience was in the design and development of bespoke hardware and software systems for the defence, nuclear power and aviation industries where the performance of the system was not merely mission-critical but often life-critical on a large scale.

Concern that design, coding, or manufacturing errors might result in widespread loss of life tending to concentrate the mind wonderfully led to a lifelong commitment to quality. Such a commitment to quality – and the means required to deliver it – is nowadays equally vital to IT security and its increasing influence over the privacy, financial and existential interests of individuals, enterprises and nation states.

He spent the first twelve years of his career working for a system integrator with the highest specific quality approvals for both the design and manufacture4Variously, in order of decreasing antiquity, UK Defence Standards 05-21 (Design) and 05-24 (Manufacture), AQAP 1, and ISO 9000, to name a few. of systems for the defence and nuclear power industries.

Big Data Before Big Data

In the late 80’s he conceived and architected “industrial multi-media” systems for recording and instant playback of communications, radar, flight data and workstation displays for aviation control centres, developing state-of-the-art networking5e.g. a custom protocol for dual-ring, contra-rotating 100Mb/s fibre-optic networking, now equivalent to 1Tb/s., processing6One system, deployed circa 1990 deployed about 2Tflops of processing – although not general purpose; equivalent to high peta-scale computing 2015. and storage solutions7e.g. real-time access via tiered storage to what would now be petabytes of data..

With subsequent experience in operational and strategic business management as a senior executive of both UK and US entities (with responsibilities at various times for marketing, sales, bid management, contracts, project delivery and profitability) he has a unique combination of technical and business competences.

The Focus on EA

For more than a decade now he has been involved in architecture, particularly enterprise architecture. He was a thought-leader and core practitioner at the UK MOD’s Integrated Architecture group in Malvern, England where, in addition to developing specific architectures for defence projects, he was also responsible for the development of the so-called Malvern Meta-model which first elucidated the Capability-Approach-Component, and for significantly extending the data visualisation capabilities of the architecture tools then in use.

Best Practice Architecture at the Highest Levels

His specific architecture for Project                 , which dealt with the ability to do real-time               against            was presented to the MOD’s Chief Scientist as an exemplar of best practice and demonstration of the power of architectures.

Since then, he has worked on system-of-systems modelling approaches and tools for the European Space Agency and was most recently Enterprise Architect for the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market in Alicante, Spain.

About the Design and User Interface

Use of Colour

Within articles and posts the following colour coding is used.

  • On-page links are coloured like this.
  • Within the Kumu, links to other existing Kumu articles are coloured like this. For those with editing privileges, articles yet to be written (i.e. which do not currently exist) are coloured red like this. For those without such privileges, the putative link is not coloured, so you should never see a red link (the example above is just an example, it is not actually a link).

Other links are generally styled in the usual way, but with the addition of an explicit off-site marker like this link to encrypted Google search.

In complex diagrams, particularly the box-and-line diagrams for entity-relationship etc. diagrams, I have generally adopted a styling and colour scheme that should maximise visibility and clarity for protan, deutan and tritan colourblinds.

Responsive Design

This site is built in WordPress using the Divi theme from Elegant Themes with a number of customisations. I have been particularly concerned with making sure that the content is usefully accessible on mobile devices so that it can be consulted away from the desk, e.g. in meetings or when working while travelling.

Enhancements

Whilst Divi is a very sophisticated responsive theme, I have added some pure CSS enhancements8CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets; see here at Wikipedia to maximise the site’s utility on mobile devices.

The key points are as follows.

  1. Tables reflow from column-oriented to row-oriented on small screens. A good example may be see in the article on Stakeholder Kinds.
  2. Highly structured articles (i.e. with many headings and sub-headings) have individually expandable and collapsible sections – and a large button at the top that will temporarily override all user display selections to show all content: previously collapsed headings will re-collapse when the button is clicked again to restore the view prevailing before all sections were shown

Implications

Clicking a link that targets a collapsed section does not reveal the target: it will not cause the relevant section to expand because control of section display is done entirely in CSS9I based my approach on the CSS + HTML only Accordion Element work of Alex Bergin; what I have done is to make his single-level accordions nestable.; there is no JavaScript involved10There is plenty of JavaScript elsewhere of course, mostly in the theme..

It was for this reason that the option to display all sections was added.

Table Formatting for Mobile – Layout and Size Changes

Although Divi is a powerful responsive theme, i.e. one which adapts the layout according the screen size of the reader’s device, additional effort has been dedicated to making tables usefully legible on mobile devices. For this, I made use of Chris Coyier’s proposals at CSS-Tricks.com for using CSS to make the columns of a table behave like rows.

One drawback of his approach is that column labels have to be hard-coded in the CSS; fortunately I am in control of my own HTML generation and so am able to sidestep this issue (and have general purpose CSS) by making use of the content and attribute capabilities of CSS to create row headings with “content: attr(data-label);” where the data-label is generated in the source HTML from the column headings.

However, on the smallest screens the headings were often still too large, so I have made then shrink with decreasing screen size.

I had one or two other difficulties in implementing his approach, but since I have now forgotten what they were, they were clearly minor and it all works very nicely now.

Diagramming

I make extensive use of Draw.io’s online drawing capability (try it here) to generate diagrams that render as SVG, which supports links on objects. In most cases here, the links are to other places on this site.

Whilst Draw.io does have the ability to export HTML (containing compressed mxGraph data) for embedding in a web page, for work-flow reasons I have chosen to directly embed the contents of the xml files that Draw.io can save. This is achieved by a personal WordPress plugin I wrote to complement Mike Thomson’s excellent DrawIt WordPress plugin, which integrates Draw.io with WordPress.

The embedding of Draw.io diagrams is generally excellent, but there are some minor variations in rendering between browsers (IE11 always seems to show scroll bars) and between desktop and mobile devices (the stock Android Internet browser on my Samsung Galaxy S4 sometimes misplaces the zoom controls).

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Draw.io embedding does not work well when the canvas is in an HTML <div> tag which is not visible 11e.g. but not limited to, display: none; and so all rendering takes place in initially visible divs that are hidden on completion of page load by a small piece of JavaScript. Since section expanding and collapsing employs animations, I hope the effect is not jarring – in fact it almost works as a whole-page preview12Does that make it a bug or a feature? Well, it’s deliberate, so it’s a feature, but the preview effect is just a post hoc rationalisation. Maybe its a pheature..

If anything is badly wrong on a particular browser or device I would like to know, though depending on the obscurity of the issue it may or may not be addressed. Best advice: try a different browser.

HTML Generation

A considerable amount of material has been derived from previous work stored in MediaWiki (which was itself derived from documents in Word; there is some circularity of formatting); unfortunately there is no simple way to use MediaWiki content directly in WordPress13No plugin I found worked well enough – but I eventually found the Yada Wiki WordPress plugin for WordPress which provided the minimal functionality I needed. Yada Wiki is an excellent plugin that provides the key features of a wiki (via a WordPress custom post-type): links to existing articles, the option to create new articles on-the-fly, and tables of contents. It works very well for me and David McCan, the developer, has been very supportive and responsive.

Since the MediaWiki markup I had been using was very limited, I initially wrote VBA for Microsoft Word to convert to HTML. Then I extended the code to convert MediaWiki markup to Word styling and began to write in Word again. Articles are now generated by writing in Word, which is then converted, via MediaWiki markup, to HTML snippets.

HTML files are then bundled into a full or incremental CSV file that allows me, via another personal WordPress plugin to upload articles in batches. The CSV importer also takes care of setting certain custom properties, such as SEO data (derived from code generated HTML <meta>) and editing preferences. Files are date and timestamped, nominally based on the last time the source was changed (but not always).

To prevent WordPress corrupting HTML sources in the event that Visual editing mode is (accidentally) invoked, I rely on the Always Edit In HTML WordPress plugin to keep HTML only editing.

The custom VBA code also takes care of the HTML structures required to support nested accordions as well as the conversion of MediaWiki (and other) links to Yada Wiki shortcodes.

Legal

I Am Not A Lawyer, as the saying goes; I am a human being with free will and a moral compass, and I assume you are too. I therefore offer the following on the customary “as-is” basis and assume that your continued use of the site implies acknowledgement of and consent to the following.

Privacy & Cookies

This site does not use HTTPS, but even if it did I would advise you to assume that you have no privacy here. That having being said, to the best of my limited ability I shall protect your name, email address, password and any other information that might be used in registering as a user of this site. That also having been said, whilst certain steps have been taken to secure the site, I cannot guarantee that it will not be hacked and your details stolen. Caveat lector.

This site uses cookies. Some of them are probably required for social media functions to work, some for the WordPress theme to work correctly, and at least one is required to manage the EU cookie directive notification; there seem to be others but I have neither the time nor expertise at the moment to investigate their utility or content. I don’t believe I can give give you sufficient information to make a truly informed choice, and assume that, realising that nobody does, you recognise that you are probably no worse off here than most places on the web and reluctantly accept cookies as a necessary evil14If, on the other hand, you are a cookie collector, an aficionado of data crumbs, or otherwise delight in receiving these things, I should probably apologise for not using more..

And, when all is said and done, at the end of the day, what with one thing and another, whilst your mileage may vary, you are at liberty to block scripts and cookies as you see fit – though what works and what doesn’t as a result is then at your discretion.

Copyright

Such use as I make of others’ material is either typically by explicit permission or covered by copyright provisions of fair use – but I do believe in acknowledging authorship and giving appropriate credit whenever possible; I like to cite my sources carefully. If you have a reasonable objection to my use of copyrighted material, I shall probably try to accommodate your objection and will probably also be willing to amend citations if you so request.

Licensing

Original content here is typically licensed on the basis of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, and these terms (or, in particular cases, alternatives) are typically included on each web page and in the page header. Should you fail to respect the terms of the license and directly or indirectly make money by doing so, you are deemed to agree to pay not less than 50% of the revenue so obtained, or in the event that no one can, or can be bothered to, work out how much that is, a painfully large but affordable amount of money to be determined by me at my sole discretion.

If you would like to license parts on other terms, please get in touch.

Notes   [ + ]

1.Business, technical and operational management; requirements analysis, bidding, solutions architecture & design, quality, usw. usw. und so fort.
2.Quoth the author, “I do Stuff,” and “I see no box.”
3.Though in some things probably I am.
4.Variously, in order of decreasing antiquity, UK Defence Standards 05-21 (Design) and 05-24 (Manufacture), AQAP 1, and ISO 9000, to name a few.
5.e.g. a custom protocol for dual-ring, contra-rotating 100Mb/s fibre-optic networking, now equivalent to 1Tb/s.
6.One system, deployed circa 1990 deployed about 2Tflops of processing – although not general purpose; equivalent to high peta-scale computing 2015.
7.e.g. real-time access via tiered storage to what would now be petabytes of data.
8.CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets; see here at Wikipedia
9.I based my approach on the CSS + HTML only Accordion Element work of Alex Bergin; what I have done is to make his single-level accordions nestable.
10.There is plenty of JavaScript elsewhere of course, mostly in the theme.
11.e.g. but not limited to, display: none;
12.Does that make it a bug or a feature? Well, it’s deliberate, so it’s a feature, but the preview effect is just a post hoc rationalisation. Maybe its a pheature.
13.No plugin I found worked well enough
14.If, on the other hand, you are a cookie collector, an aficionado of data crumbs, or otherwise delight in receiving these things, I should probably apologise for not using more.

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