Saturday, November 25, 2006

For Whom

There are several enterprise architecture approaches (TOGAF, DoDAF, MoDAF) based on the work of John Zachman and his Kiplingesque sextet:
"I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who."

One of the extensions we’ve been looking at for SOA is the possibility of introducing a "For Whom" column. This reflects the fact that value is not just experienced by “The Enterprise” - regarded as a single centralized pot of costs and benefits - but may be distributed across a federation or ecosystem.

For example, does a service intermediary add value for the service provider, or for the service consumer, or both? Does a change in business policy improve the whole supply chain, or have we merely pushed the problems upstream? Does a security layer mitigate risk for the bank or for its customers? Does a compliance monitoring service protect the interests of the directors or the shareholders?

Some people have told me that this is already implicit in the "Who" column. Or perhaps it is implicit in the "Why column. But I don't believe that many enterprise architects currently interpret the "Who" or "Why" columns in this way.

"For Whom" is important for SOA when we start to look at service networks that span several organizations. One organization may produce a business case for doing some SOA, but this may only be viable if other organizations cooperate. Participation in a network is based on some form of self-interest (each participating organization gets out more than it puts in) and/or some form of governance (the organizations collaborate according to some agreed or imposed regime).

In addition, "For Whom" is important for security engineering. Some organizations focus their security on protecting their own internal systems against a narrow range of direct threats, but seem to pay little attention to a broader range of indirect threats against themselves and their customers. In my view, an organization such as a bank should take a 360-degree view of security, and should try to provide real security for its customers and their assets, as well as for itself.

Philip Boxer has published a more radical critique of the Zachman framework on the Asymmetric Design blog.

The distinction between "For Whom" and "Who" is similar to the distinction between "Customer" and "Actor" in Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). Some readers may be familiar with the SSM acronym CATWOE, which stands for Customer, Actor, Transformation Process, WorldView, Owner, Environment. links: CATWOE Zachman
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