4.2 EIA Reference Architecture—Architecture Overview Diagram
In Section 4.1, we explored which capabilities are needed from a conceptual perspective. This section now takes that framework and the introduced capabilities and jointly shows them conceptually through an AOD in Figure 4.1. In the AOD, you can see various candidates for ABBs11 representing the discussed capabilities. Note that Information Governance is not shown explicitly, because only parts of Information Governance are technology based.
Figure 4.1 Architecture Overview Diagram for the EIA Reference Architecture
A framework characteristic of the EIA Reference Architecture represented by the AOD is its industry-agnostic nature. Therefore, for any deployment for a company in a specific industry adaptation to industry-specific requirements must be done. For example, if the EIA Reference Architecture is used by a government to define the EIA for a homeland security solution, integration with external supply chain participants might not be needed, whereas third-party data providers such as terrorist blacklists must be integrated.
A company today typically consists of multiple LOBs or departments. IT systems support the automation of business processes and can be custom-developed, legacy or packaged applications such as ERP, CRM, or Supply Chain Management (SCM). Some of these business processes require integration beyond enterprise scope; examples are end-to-end supply chain integration or information enrichment using third-party information providers such as Dun & Bradstreet, ACXIOM, or LexisNexis.12 Business users use Presentation Services to access their business functions driven by Process Services. Thus, we get the following candidate ABBs as shown in the AOD in Figure 4.1:
- Metadata Services—They provide a common set of functionality and core services for enabling open communication and exchange of information between systems based on consistently managed metadata.
- MDM Services—They maintain the core data items in a repository that make up a company’s information assets. They manage the lifecycle of Master Data. MDM Services provide for specific quality services and authoring services to author, approve, manage, and potentially extend the definition of that Master Data for a particular LOB.
- Data Services—They are implemented using databases to deliver comprehensive functions for structured data to operational applications such as CRM, ERP, or e-commerce.
- Content Services—They are frequently delivered by ECM systems. Content Services manage Unstructured Data such as text documents, images, presentations, graphics, e-mail, and provide the necessary functions to search, catalog, and manage that data.
- Analytical Services—They enable organizations to leverage information to better understand and optimize business performance. These services support entry points of reporting to deep analytics and visualization, planning, aligned strategic metrics, role-based visibility, search-based access, and dynamic drill-through.
- EII Services—They provide a uniform way of representing, accessing, maintaining, managing, analyzing, and integrating data and content across heterogeneous information sources. These services take the form of cleansing, transformation and replication services, and services for federated queries to Structured and Unstructured Data spread across different data sources.
- Cloud Services—According to the introduction of Cloud Computing capabilities they provide certain functions across other capabilities which we aggregated in this candidate ABB. As we elaborate and detail the EIA Reference Architecture, we break-up this candidate ABB and insert technical capabilities into other areas as appropriate to enable this delivery model.
- Information Security and Information Privacy Services—Similarly to Cloud Services they are aggregated in a separate candidate ABB although they consist of a group of heterogeneous functions. We will decompose these heterogeneous functions currently in one ABB into different components in the Component Model while further detailing the EIA Reference Architecture.
- LOB Systems—They represent the heterogeneous mix of LOB systems.
- Presentation Services and Delivery Channels—They support a broad range of technologies such as Mashups, portals, or rich clients. They are used for dashboarding UIs for BPM, call center applications, or e-commerce platforms.
- Process Services—They provide process and workflow orchestration. For many industries, industry models provide comprehensive industry-specific business process templates.
- Connectivity and Interoperability Services—They provide for application and service integration within the enterprise and to external participants supporting multitude of different transport and communication protocols. The integration of external participants like e-commerce platforms in the financial industry or the integration of the supply chain is also enabled through this candidate ABB.
Now equipped with an understanding on the conceptual level of the EIA Reference Architecture, we proceed to look at the first layer of the logical architecture whereas architecture principles act as guidance to the solution design process.