Systems 1 Systems

A system can be defined as a collection of different architecture objects that operate together for a specific purpose (mission or goal) not obtainable by the objects alone. A system can be classified as a Business System, Information System, Project and more. The system requires primary and secondary resources as input such as time, people, data, technology, capital, management mechanisms and services. These resources act as enablers or constraints. The system is effective if the required outputs are produced through transformation. The system is efficient if the optimal combination of resources are utilised.

The system structure is a decomposition of systems that act as a catalog and defines the scope of systems and context for system engineering or system architecture.


Systems 2 Scenario Analysis

A scenario is a collective name for a state that has implied factors and which an organisation or system is exposed to.

Scenario analysis is an important technique that may be used at various stages of compiling strategy or for making decisions. Scenarios are typically used to analyse what the future will entail in order to plan for the future. After analysis of the probability of realisation of a scenario, a specific scenario(s) is selected that typically has the highest probability of realisation or alternatively is preferred. The organisation or system is positioned against this scenario(s).

Scenarios for the future need to be investigated for the business as well as for technology. Both of these influence change.


Systems 3 Environmental Influencing Factors, Implications and CSFs

To truly understand what the scenarios against which we position ourselves mean to us we need to describe them and explore their potential. The description that we require on these scenarios are expressed in terms of the influencing factors (drivers), which are relevant to each of the three-business environments, external, target and internal. Sub types of external environment influencing factors include: Political, Economical, Socio Economical, Technology Trends, Legislation, Environmental, Cultural, Industrial and other. Sub types of target environment influencing factors include: Competitor, Supplier, Customer, Market and Other Stakeholders. An example of an driver is a change in regulation or compliance rules which, for example, require changes to the way an organization operates; i.e., Sarbanes-Oxley in the US.

The internal environment of every business is subjected to these influencing factors which inevitably affect it and motivates strategy.

The implications of an influencing factor is different for each system given the architectural definition of its internal environment. The implications are analysed using the SWOT analysis technique.

The SWOT Analysis is a useful technique to test the performance ability of the system against the implications arising from the interpretation of the effect that the environmental factors has on the internal environment. A key distinction must be made between Internal and External Issues. Strengths and weaknesses are a reflection of our internal capability. For example, a strength could be our specialist product offering. A weakness could be the lack of a new product. Opportunities and threats represent the influence from the external- and target environments. For example, an opportunity could be to develop a new product, or increase our shoppers from our customer base, that potentially increase demand for our products. A threat could be new competition in our market or a technological change that makes existing products potentially obsolete.

The result of the SWOT Analysis is used to create Critical Success Factors (CSF’s). CSFs for a business are those things that absolutely need to be achieved in order to avoid the organisation's “certain death” and to excel in the game. Typically, these are derived from the identification of potential death threats as well as the source of core competencies that the business needs to capitalise on in order to survive.

As an alternative approach one could identify strategic themes. A strategic theme is the logical grouping of implications deemed to be of strategic importance to an organisation. These strategic themes then result in CSFs.


Systems 4 Measures

A measure is used to track the success of architecture and operational execution with the strategic intent. Measures can defined be on an area, indicator or value level. Measurement areas include Performance, Availability, Quality and more. For architecture management the values are typically used to set targets rather than to track the measurement values of operational execution on an ongoing basis.

The measures are decomposed and used as a catalog for referencing.



Systems 5 CSFs to Measurement Mapping

The success of strategy and the resultant architecture has to be understood and quantified by some or other yardstick. The realisation of CSFs are measured by a specific set of measures.


Systems 6 Governance Mechanisms

Governance mechanisms are necessary to direct or guide the execution of a system, to ensure compliance and to ensure that risks are managed appropriately and resources are used responsibly. Governance mechanism could be of type Policy, Plan, Contract, Standard Operating Procedure, Control, Standard, Act, Regulation, Framework, Reference Model ant other. The internally compiled governance mechanism are derived from the strategy and architecture of a system.

The list of Governance Mechanisms are structured to the appropriate level and act as a catalog. This level of detail could be down an element level such as a paragraph within a Policy document.


Systems 7 CSF to Governance Mechanism Mapping

Governance Mechanisms such as polices are required to ensure the successful implementation of strategy that is represented by the CSFs. The mapping of CSFs to Governance Mechanisms can potentially identify new governance mechanisms that are required or increase the criticality of existing governance mechanisms.


Systems 8 Governance Mechanism to Measurement Mapping

The measurement of compliance to governance mechanisms such policies are measured by a specific set of measures. The mapping can potentially identify new measures that are required or increase the criticality of existing measures.


Systems 9 Risks

A Risk is defined as a likelihood of a threat of a negative impact (damage, injury, liability, loss or other negative impact) that will exploit vulnerabilities of the System and that may be neutralized through mitigating actions. A Risk can potentially influence the realisation of the strategic intent and compliance with governance. Within a process a risk represents the possible danger of the process goals not being achieved. Risks are usually measured by a combination of impact and probability of occurrence.

Risks are potentially derived from the SWOT Analysis and Function Resource Gap Analysis techniques.

The structure is a decomposition of risk categories as per a risk framework as well as the risks themselves. The structure act as a catalog of risks.


Systems 10 Services

A Service references to a set of functions that is managed (and sometimes sold) as a single component of the system, has an explicitly defined interface and is explicitly governed. A service has a clear purpose. These services and their corresponding consumers interact using a well-defined protocol. A service is self-contained and may be composed of other services. Examples of services are Train Users and Provide Computing Platform for Applications.

The Services Structure acts as a catalog and should be aligned to the Functions.


Systems 11 Service Channel and Market Segment

It describes in the form of a three dimensional matrix the relevant offerings (products and services) provided to the relevant market segment (grouping of stakeholders per dimensions) and which mechanisms (or channels) are used to deliver the particular offering to the particular market segment.


Systems 12 Functions

A function is the action or intended purpose of a person or object in a specific role. It expresses a goal / result that has to be achieved. Is described by a verb and a qualified object.

Function structuring is necessary to provide scope to a business, information or project and indicates the complete set of functions required to realise strategy. The structure represents a decomposition and classification of functions that describes what needs to be done; and acts as an index mechanism for operational definitions in the form of for example an operating model or business process.  The different levels of abstraction for functions can include a business goal (function), process or activity.

Functions can also be represented as a Value Chain step.


Systems 13 Function to CSF Mapping

The purpose of this mapping is to define which functions directly contributes to the realisation of strategy in the form of CSFs. Functions that contribute to more CSFs have a higher criticality rating. The result of such mapping indicates the urgency of each function. The functions, which support the most CSFs, i.e. with the highest criticality, require more attention in terms of resourcing and the quality (effectiveness and efficiency) of execution in order to realise strategy.

The mapping also ensure that the set of internal functions to be performed is complete to realise strategy.


Systems 14 Function Resource Gaps

The availability of adequate resourcing is measured along with the overall quality (effectiveness and efficiency) of execution of the function. This is combine with the criticality of each function derived from strategy in order to determine the priority for fixing functions (fix-it priority). The most critical functions with the largest resource gaps will have the highest priority for fixing. Projects are initiated to fix resource gaps.

This technique aims to derive a quantitative indication of how sufficient our current resources are in achieving the business strategy. The resource gaps are plotted against criticalities of the functions which then will give us a very clear indication of where the problem areas are, when measured against the ideal set of functions.

Systems 15 Logical Data Model (Attribute Dependencies)

This is a representation of data of a natural construct or system in its smallest atomic form, on a logical level of detail. It defines the attributes of data entities (a physical object or event) to further describe them as well as the functional dependencies (relationships) among the data attributes. Examples of attributes are Person Name or Delivery Date.

Systems 16 Logical Data Model (Attribute Dependencies) with Algorithm Applied

By applying a mathematically based algorithm to the logical data model, certain outputs are produced that are of value to the business in terms of architecture- and data management. The model delivers a mathematical verification of the business rules, architectural priority, data represented in 5th normal form and mathematically derived business objects that adhere to the object-oriented principles.

Systems 17 Conceptual Data Model

Using the logical data model as input, data entities are clustered and abstracted to represent data on a conceptual level of detail. This can be done for logical or physical data. These clusters of data (Data Subject Areas) can be reverse engineered by means of an algorithm or masterminded from a zero base.

Represents a catalog of Data Subject Areas that is an abstraction the more detailed data attributes and fields. Functional dependencies between The Data Subject Areas can also be described.



Systems 18 Organisation Structure

An Organisation unit is a social unit of people, systematically structured and managed to meet a need or to pursue collective goals on a continuing basis. It is a self-contained unit of resources with strategy and measures. An Organisation Structure represent the hierarchy of units in the organisation. Organization units may include external parties and business partner organizations. Sub types include: divisions, business areas, operating units, departments, sections and sub-sections.

Organisation units are further describe by the roles / functions they fulfil and the jobs, positions and persons contain in them. A position represents an instance of a job. Jobs fulfil roles that are contained in a process. Roles should have functions allocated to it. A job, role or person has a set of actual or expected competencies (skills, experience, knowledge, qualifications, etc.) A person, job or organisation unit may have multiple roles to fulfil, for example the roles of Configuration Manager and Change Manager may be carried out by a single person.

An organisation structure act as a governance mechanism for aspects such as delegations of functions and reporting lines.


Systems 19 Organisation Unit to Risk Mapping

Organisation units are expected to manage the risks that are applicable to them. The mapping can potentially identify new risks that need to be mitigated by the organisational unit while performing its functions. The risk rating for the same risk can be different between between organisation units.


Systems 20 Location Scheme

A location scheme standardises the way of referencing locations. The location units and the relationship between the location units are described. Examples of location schemes are: Warehouse Location Scheme, Geographical Location Scheme and Mining Location Scheme. The units for a Warehouse Location Scheme is for example: Warehouse, Aisle, Shelve and Bin.

References to the physical locations as per location scheme. Each location has an address. Example: South African Geographical Structure (Gauteng, Pretoria, Irene, Justice Mohamed Street, ...)


Systems 21 Locations

Provides for a decomposition of all locations where an organisation performs business operations or houses architecturally relevant assets, such as data centers or end-user computing equipment. Maintaining a definitive list of locations allows change initiatives to quickly define a location scope and to test for completeness when assessing current landscapes or proposed targeted solutions. For example, a project to upgrade desktop operating systems will need to identify all locations where desktop operating systems are deployed. Similarly, when new systems are being implemented, a listing of locations is essential in order to develop appropriate deployment strategies that comprehend both user and application location and identify location-related issues, such as internationalization, localization, timezone impacts on availability, distance impacts on latency, network impacts on bandwidth, and access.

It is required in business to associate localities with one another for a multitude of business reasons. A branch can be associated with the head office in terms of the cost of travel by air between the two localities, the bandwidth of the network link between them, the combination of the governance mechanisms enforced from head office on this particular branch, the road distance, the business continuity requirements, etc.

Systems 22 Time Scheme

Time refers to when something needs to be done. Time schemes standardise the way of referencing to time. The time units and the relationship between the time units are described. Natural Time Calendar, Financial Calendar or Work Calendar are examples of time schemes. The time units included in a Financial Calendar is for example a Financial Year, Financial Quarter, Financial Month and Financial Day.

Time units of time schemes can also be related to one another.


Systems 23 Other Resources

Resources are used as primary or secondary input to enable a system. Resources need to be used in an optimal manner to establish an efficient system. Other than for Services, People, Data, Time, Management Ability and IT the other classes of resources include amongst other Natural Resources, Raw Material, Equipment, Facilities, People and Capital.

Depicts a decomposition of all the resource categories and the instances that could be used as inputs, enablers or as outputs of a system.


Systems 24 Object Interfaces

An alternative approach to process modelling is to classify all elements that form part of a process as objects and then to focus on the functions they perform and the interfacing between them. Due to the fact that all the dimension are represented as an object, the process definition is simplified.

Objects interact with each other by means of flows. The objects and flows are further classifying into the relevant classes.


Systems 25 System Operation

A system operation represents the integration of elements from the other facets: Strategy, Function, Data / Information, Organisation, Location, Time and Object. This forms a coherent process operation to ensure balance between all the elements defining the internal operation of a system. A process represents flow of control between or within functions. Processes represent a sequence of functions that together achieve a specified outcome.

The basic layout of a process consists of Triggers; Inputs or Pre-conditions; Internal Operation; Outputs, Post Functions and Post-conditions.

A logical system operation typically has now reference to any physical components and also does not account for any of the constraints of the physical environment.

One of the primary views that can be obtained from the system operation is where data attributes are associated to function via an information artefact. This mapping enables the following to take place: Assign ownership of data to stakeholders; Understand the data and information exchange requirements between functions; Support the gap analysis and determine whether any data is missing and need to be created; Define application of origin, application of record, and application of reference for data entities; Enable development of data governance programs across the enterprise (establish data steward, develop data standards pertinent to the business function, etc.).

Systems 26 Software Components

A software component is a collection of executable programs that enables and facilitate the use of the computer devices. Software controls the operation of the hardware and the processing of data. Subtypes include Applications and Base IT Infrastructure Software.

The structure acts as a catalog of components.


Systems 27 Application to Function Mapping

The purpose of the Application to Function Mapping is to depict the relationship between applications and functions that they perform within the organisation. Some of the functions will be supported by applications. This mapping typically enables the following to take place: Assign usage of applications to the business functions that are supported by them; and Enables gap analysis by determining whether applications or application functionality are missing and as a result need to be acquired.


Systems 28 Algorithmic Structure

An Algorithmic Structure is used to define the internal view of any function, process, algorithm, etc. where complex algorithmic logic in terms of sequence, condition, repetition and synchronisation is needed. The structure can be constructed on each of the three architecture levels to depict algorithmic logic applicable at that specific level. The most general application of the technique is to depict program structure or logic for application design and development.


Systems 29 Data Components

Data and information is stored in a physical data construct that allows for storing a specific set of data values. Subtypes include: Database, Data Warehouse, Data Mart or Operational Data Store.

Acts as a catalog of physical data components.


Systems 30 Data Structure

The structure of data components can be described by means of table, fields and the relationships between them. The logical data structure has not been influenced by any of the physical constraints of the environment and typically represents a normalised view of the data. A physical data structure is described by means of a formal language supported by the management system for the specific physical data component.


Systems 31 IT Infrastructure

A description of the logical or physical components that are deployed to host software and data. The IT infrastructure components can be classified as computing, network, data storage or peripheral components as well as the base software installed on these components.


Systems 32 Network

A Network refers to a physical network, i.e. a specific LAN or WAN or a named VLAN. Physical Hardware Components are connected to each other in a network such as routers, switches and hubs.

The network is the enabler for electronic communication between software and data component.


Systems 33 Application Interfaces

Identifies and describe electronic communication between applications and data components. Data can be associated with interfaces by means of an information artefact. Application interfaces form an integral part of the system operation.

The mapping of the Application Interfaces enables the following to take place: Understand the degree of interaction between applications, identifying those that are central in terms of their dependencies on other applications; Understand the number and types of interfaces between applications; Understand the degree of duplication of interfaces between applications; and Identify the potential for simplification of interfaces when considering the target Application Portfolio.


Systems 34 Application Interface Stakeholders

A Stakeholder is a person, position, job, or organization unit that has a direct or indirect stake in a system or object because it can affect or be affected by the outputs of the system or characteristics of the object. The stakeholder roles typically include owner, user, custodian, manager, etc. Stakeholders can be defined for a Project, Business System Information or even object such as IT Infrastructure. In this case it is done for an Application Interface.


Systems 35 Work Packages

A Work Package is a set of actions identified to achieve one or more objectives for the business. A work package can be a part of a project, a complete project, or a program.

Work packages are created for changing the system or for ongoing operational execution. Ongoing execution work packages implies that business process are already available but the scope of what needs to be executed is defined in the work packages. E.g. For a process for installing base software on a server the work package scope is equal to the servers that need base software installed.

A Work Package for a change to the system is typically the link between the Architecture and Project Management disciplines. By managing this link we can realise benefits such as: manage the scope of the project, identify projects that will influence on the same objects, get context and detailed content for all the objects in scope, etc. A subset of the architecture objects form the scope of the change required.

Acts as a catalog of Work Packages for change or operational execution.


Systems 36 Requirements, Assumptions and Constraints

The model captures elements that the enterprise needs in order to realise its strategy (such as CSFs). The elements are stated in a narrative format. Requirements generated from architecture engagements are typically implemented through change initiatives identified and scoped. Requirements can also be used as a quality assurance tool to ensure that a particular architecture is fit-for-purpose. This must be complemented by well architecture models that describe the system in a more structured manner. Architecture content should have traceability (mappings) to any requirements that might have been gathered if this particular approach is adopted.

A constraint is a factor that prevents an organization from meeting its goals. For example, customer data is not harmonized within the organization, regionally or nationally, constraining the organization’s ability to offer effective customer service.

An assumption is a statement of probable fact that has not been fully validated at this stage, due to external constraints. For example, it may be assumed that an existing application will support a certain set of functional requirements, although those requirements may not yet have been individually validated.


Systems 37 Work Package Specification

The Work Package Specification provides a high-level orientation of the solution that is envisaged in order to meet the objectives of the work package. In contrast to the more formal and detailed architecture content developed, this represents a ‘‘pencil sketch’’ of the expected solution at the outset of the engagement. This highlights what needs to be analysed and designed in more detail with formal architecture modelling. The purpose of this diagram is to quickly on-board and align stakeholders for a particular change initiative, so that all participants understand what is the scope of the architecture engagement. An object in scope can be added, changed, re-used, removed or merged.