Model-driven Support for Enterprise Architecture (in an Industrial Context)

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Hugo Brunelière talks today abut our work on the MDE + EA combination. Enter Hugo.

MDE has already been largely applied in the general context of supporting software engineering processes (concerning both forward and reverse engineering) or when dealing with interoperability problems (e.g., data exchange, component adaptation) between different systems, environments, tools, etc. More recently, the so-called Model Driven Organization (MDO) initiative has been showing that (business-) strategic or decisional levels within companies, administrations, etc. could also benefit similarly from the application of MDE.

In this area, Enterprise Architecture (EA) implies the representation and manipulation of many different aspects of an organization, such as notably its information system as well as depending services and people. There have been different initiatives during the last 30 years aiming to provide a unified EA representation framework: Zachman Framework, U.S. DoDAF, British MODAF, Open Group ArchiMate, Open Group TOGAF, etc. However, coping with EA is a real challenge despite of the existing tools (cf. the interesting list from Gartner http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1CR3TJ5&ct=121108). Modeling, in the very large sense of dealing with representations of reality, has already been proposed as a possible solution in the EA context although real effective applications of MDE have been much rarer.

The main objective of our TOGAF Enterprise Architecture Platform (TEAP) collaborative project (http://www.teap-project.org/) is to provide (benefiting from MDE capabilities) a lightweight support to standard industrial EA activities, more particularly to EA governance and decisional processes as commonly performed manually by the enterprise architects. The TEAP consortium is made of the following complementary partners:

  • Obeo, an SME with a strong experience on applying MDE to the industrialization of software life cycles, leading the project and developing the tooling;
  • Capgemini, a worldwide group leader in consulting and services, playing the role of the EA expert and service provider;
  • Inria-AtlanMod, a research team specialized in MDE and its applications, scientifically advising and supporting the different partners;
  • DCNS, one of the world leading companies in the domain of military ships and energy, providing the actual EA industrial scenarios.

In particular, the industrial partners in TEAP, based on their long-term expertise in EA and their concrete use cases, have identified some MDO shortcomings:

  1.  1.  The capability of obtaining an initial cartography of the organization’s system (in terms of EA) from the relevant available information and data.
  2.  2.  A standard (EA) representation facilitating interoperability that, at the same time, is flexible enough to be specialized for specific contexts and scenarios.
  3.  3.  Support for the efficient handling of several views over the organization’s system according to different viewpoints (here business, functional, technical, etc.).

Our paper (to be presented at the AMINO 2013 @ MODELS 2013 workshop) reports on the TEAP ongoing experience to target these MDO limitations in an industrial context while identifying relevant improvements to the MDE techniques themselves. We focus on three main MDE-based approaches allowing to:

  • Federate heterogeneous data sources to integrate relevant EA information.
  • Adapt more easily a standard EA solution to customer needs and potentially trace its different usages.
  • Support multiple views/viewpoints over the same EA repository.

TEAP Architecture

Resulting from this TEAP project, the SmartEA (http://www.obeosmartea.com) tooling (continuously under development) is implementing a model-based EA framework integrating progressively the three MDE-based approaches mentioned before.

UPDATE: See also the slides of the presentation Hugo just did

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  1. Mark Paauwe
  2. Enterprise Architecture Tools

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