July 9, 2009

book review: enterprise architecture - models and analysis for information systems decision making

I have just finished reading the book Enterprise Architecture - models and analysis for information systems decision making. Several people have recommended this book to me in the past. The book is interesting indeed, even though I think the main title (Enterprise Architecture) is pretty much off. The subtitle is more relevant: the book covers "informed decision making" relating to the information systems of an organization.

The first few chapters give a rough overview of the history of computing which is a good read. Next, the methodology of the book is introduced and presented in more detail in the later chapters. Roughly speaking, the authors take the point of view that decision making about information systems can / should be rational which is defendable. Following this line of thought, a graphic notation that supports decision making (based on causal analysis) is introduced. A small example from the book is included below:

In this notation, the diamons represent goals and the ovals represent 'chance nodes'. The notation also includes rectangles which represent decision points. As for relations, the arrows represent causal relations (a influences b) whereas the relations with a filled diamond represent composition.

The notation reminds me somewhat of the quality scenario's that are developed by the SEI. E.g.

This notation is applied to business goals, information systems goals, IT organization goals etcetera. It is quite interesting to see how this works. Also, the relation to Enterprise Architecture is obvious, eventhough I think the point isn't made explicitly in the book. A missed opportunity.

All in all I think the book is a good read. It is well written and covers interesting topics despite the misleading title.
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