zachman-framework

Zachman Framework In A Nutshell

The Zachman Framework is the brainchild of business and IT consultant John Zachman.  The Zachman Framework is a core component of enterprise architecture. It is a formal and structured means of viewing and defining an enterprise

Understanding the Zachman Framework

Zachman created the framework in response to the difficulty that many large and complex businesses have in managing change. Indeed, many do not understand their own organizational structure. Many others do have this knowledge, but the information is confined to individual employees or departments and is not freely available.

The Zachman framework is a means of classifying organizational architecture. It considers the pre-existing functions, elements, and processes of a business so that decision-makers can proactively manage change.

Importantly, the framework is an enterprise ontology that shows an organization and its information systems from different perspectives. It is not a methodology that can be followed to produce a desired result.

The structure of the Zachman Framework

The Zachman Framework is a two-dimensional classification scheme in the form of a 36-cell matrix, with each cell focusing on one perspective or dimension of the enterprise.

Columns in the matrix represent interrogatives, or questions that are asked of the enterprise:

  1. What (data) – what data or information is required to institute change or carry out a project?
  2. How (function) – how does the business work? What are its processes?
  3. Where (network) – where does the business operate?
  4. Who (people) – who runs the business? What are the business units and how are they structured?
  5. When (time) – when does the business perform its processes? What are the schedules and workflows?
  6. Why (motivation) – what motivates the business to choose one solution over another? How was the solution arrived at?

Rows in the matrix represent the perspectives of key stakeholders who are involved with change and are ordered according to priority. 

Combining all six cells in one row gives a holistic representation of that enterprise according to one (or each) of the following perspectives:

  1. Planner’s view (Scope contexts) – or the purpose and strategy of the business that defines the arena for the other views.
  2. Owner’s view (Business concepts) – the structure, functions, and organization of the business. This gives insight into areas that might be automated.
  3. Designer’s view (System logic) – how will the system satisfy the informational needs of the business? Ignore solution specific aspects or production constraints.
  4. Implementer’s view (Technology physics) – or how the system will be implemented. What role will technology play in creating solutions or alleviating production constraints?
  5. Sub-constructor’s view (Component assembles) – what are the specific details that need to be clarified before production can begin? Since this view is more concerned with a part of a system and not the whole, it is sometimes considered less important.
  6. User’s view (Operations classes) – or the view of a functioning system within its respective operational environment.

Key takeaways

  • The Zachman Framework is a formal and structured means of helping large organizations manage change through information sharing.
  • The Zachman Framework is an enterprise ontology. It is not a methodology that offers explicit advice on how change should be managed.
  • The Zachman Framework is a two-dimensional classification scheme represented by a 36-cell matrix. Rows in the matrix represent six key stakeholder perspectives, while columns represent interrogatives that help an enterprise clarify every aspect of its operations.

Related Business Matrices

SFA Matrix

sfa-matrix
The SFA matrix is a framework that helps businesses evaluate strategic options. Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes created the SFA matrix to help businesses evaluate their strategic options before committing. Evaluation of strategic opportunities is performed by considering three criteria that make up the SFA acronym: suitability, feasibility, and acceptability.

Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix

hoshin-kanri-x-matrix
The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix is a strategy deployment tool that helps businesses achieve goals over the short and long term. Hoshin Kanri is a method that seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Strategic objectives are clearly defined and the goals of every level of the organization are aligned. With everyone moving in the same direction, process coordination and decision-making ability are strengthened.

Kepner-Tregoe Matrix

kepner-tregoe-matrix
The Kepner-Tregoe matrix was created by management consultants Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe in the 1960s, developed to help businesses navigate the decisions they make daily, the Kepner-Tregoe matrix is a root cause analysis used in organizational decision making.

Eisenhower Matrix

eisenhower-matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool that helps businesses prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance, named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, the matrix helps businesses and individuals differentiate between the urgent and important to prevent urgent things (seemingly useful in the short-term) cannibalize important things (critical for long-term success).

Decision Matrix

decision-matrix
A decision matrix is a decision-making tool that evaluates and prioritizes a list of options. Decision matrices are useful when: A list of options must be trimmed to a single choice. A decision must be made based on several criteria. A list of criteria has been made manageable through the process of elimination.

Action Priority Matrix

action-priority-matrix
An action priority matrix is a productivity tool that helps businesses prioritize certain tasks and objectives over others. The matrix itself is represented by four quadrants on a typical cartesian graph. These quadrants are plotted against the effort required to complete a task (x-axis) and the impact (benefit) that each task brings once completed (y-axis). This matrix helps assess what projects need to be undertaken and the potential impact for each.

TOWS Matrix

tows-matrix
The TOWS Matrix is an acronym for Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths. The matrix is a variation on the SWOT Analysis, and it seeks to address criticisms of the SWOT Analysis regarding its inability to show relationships between the various categories.

GE McKinsey Matrix

ge-mckinsey-matrix
The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s after General Electric asked its consultant McKinsey to develop a portfolio management model. This matrix is a strategy tool that provides guidance on how a corporation should prioritize its investments among its business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.

BCG Matrix

bcg-matrix
In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

Growth Matrix

growth-strategies
In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Ansoff Matrix

ansoff-matrix
You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

Read Also: RAPID FrameworkRACI Matrix3×3 Sales MatrixValue/effort MatrixSFA matrixValue/Risk MatrixReframing MatrixKepner-Tregoe Matrix.

Read Next: Root Cause Analysis5 Whys.

Related Strategy Concepts: Go-To-Market StrategyMarketing StrategyBusiness ModelsTech Business ModelsJobs-To-Be DoneDesign ThinkingLean Startup CanvasValue ChainValue Proposition CanvasBalanced ScorecardBusiness Model CanvasSWOT AnalysisGrowth HackingBundlingUnbundlingBootstrappingVenture CapitalPorter’s Five ForcesPorter’s Generic StrategiesPorter’s Five ForcesPESTEL AnalysisSWOTPorter’s Diamond ModelAnsoffTechnology Adoption CurveTOWSSOARBalanced ScorecardOKRAgile MethodologyValue PropositionVTDF FrameworkBCG MatrixGE McKinsey MatrixKotter’s 8-Step Change Model.

More Resources:

Main Case Studies:

Scroll to Top
FourWeekMBA