Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

Enterprise Architecture Development Based on Enterprise Ontology

Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

Enterprise Architecture Development Based on Enterprise Ontology

Article excerpt


Enterprises choose Enterprise Architecture (EA) solution, in order to overcome dynamic business challenges and in order to coordinate various enterprise elements. In this article, a solution is suggested for the Enterprise Architecture based on a conceptual model of Enterprise Ontology (EO). Enterprise Ontology provides a common structure for data collection. First, conceptual model of Enterprise Ontology based on the Zachman Framework is presented. Then, the Enterprise Architecture development process based on Enterprise Ontology is proposed. Using this solution, Staffs, stakeholders, users, architects, and systems achieved a common understanding of enterprise concepts and relationships and therefore, architecture data are collected in a correct way. The primary focus is collecting accurate architecture data instead of developing architecture artifacts; also meet the decision maker's needs by fit for purpose modeling. Finally, we demonstrate our solution in a case study and show the appropriate results and conclusions.

Keywords: Enterprise architecture, Enterprise ontology, Zachman framework, Enterprise architecture development process, Repository

1 Introduction

The Enterprise Architecture refers to a comprehensive description of all of the key elements and relationships that constitute an organization [16]. Enterprises pay remarkable attention to Enterprise Architecture to increase their flexibility and to adapt to business environment changes. By architecture aid, enterprises can achieve organizational integration and overcome business dynamics [5], Enterprise Architecture refers to a discipline that attempts to integrate, govern and analyze enterprise elements. Alignment of elements creates synergy in achieving enterprise objectives.

Gruber [14] defined ontology as follows: "Ontology is an explicit specification of a conceptualization". In other research, Campbell and Shapiro [3] defined ontology as "Ontology consists of a representational vocabulary with precise definitions of the meanings of the terms of this vocabulary plus a set of formal axioms that constrain the interpretation and well-formed use of these terms". Ontology defined prevalent terms and concepts in a domain to exchange information and provided the way to share and to reuse knowledge among people and asymmetrical application systems. In other words, ontology provides a common understanding of a domain that facilitates communications between people and systems [23],

Existing Enterprise Architecture methodology has some problems. Firstly, there has not been common and exactly semantic understanding between human and system yet and it causes communication problems among humans or among systems or between human and system [17]. In addition, data collected in developing Enterprise Architecture are not based on a common definition of concepts and data communication; for example planner has one definition for action and the developer has another definition; in some cases a specific data is called with different names. Such problems can lead to inconsistency and lack of integrity of the architecture data. There is not a semantic foundation for collecting architecture data.

Another problem is none-effective architecture results for decision-making. Architects have to accompany models and explain results to the mangers in order for him to make decisions according to results. Most of Enterprise Architecture frameworks and methodologies rely on traditional and routine artifacts; Architects attempt to produce an artifact and present it to managers; for example, they produce business process model or system model. Since creating Enterprise Architecture models is expensive and lacks intrinsic value, it is desirable to only create Enterprise Architecture models that fit for purpose and support decision making well [10]. Often technical models, which are suitable technically are produced, while they are not suitable for decision-making. …

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