Enterprise Framework Edition
The Visible Analyst Enterprise Framework Edition is the most comprehensive modeling tool that Visible offers. It incorporates strategic planning, data modeling, object modeling, process modeling, and the Universal Data Model, driven by an easy to use framework interface that allows straightforward navigation to all your model artifacts. The initial release of the Framework Edition supports the Zachman framework, with other frameworks slated for release in the near future.
In 1987 John Zachman wrote, "To keep the business from disintegrating, the concept of an information systems architecture is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity." From that assertion over a decade ago, the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture has evolved and become the model around which major organizations view and communicate their enterprise information infrastructure. The Zachman Framework draws upon the discipline of classical architecture to establish a common vocabulary and set perspectives--a framework--for defining and describing today's complex enterprise systems. Enterprise Architecture provides the blueprint--or architecture--for the organization's information infrastructure and provides a framework for managing information complexity and managing change.
Today the Zachman Framework has become a standard for Enterprise Architecture used by many of the most successful organizations in the world. Evidence of the acceptance of the Framework has been apparent at the annual forums conducted by the Zachman Institute for Framework Advancement (ZIFA, www.zifa.com). At each forum, attendees hear presentations on the many different aspects and practical uses of the Framework. Visible fully supports both the concept and philosophy of the Zachman Framework. Visible helps clients gain greater control of their information systems and technology requirements through development of an enterprise-wide architecture.
Visible Analyst supports the tasks and techniques involved in the creation and management of an enterprise architecture, with sufficient flexibility to integrate and support other approaches to software engineering. Visible Analyst captures business plans of multiple organization levels and maintains the hierarchy of planning components (mission, goals, strategies, measures, business rules, etc.).
Unlike many other modeling tools, Visible Analyst has the capability of directly linking each business plan component to the entities and attributes of a data model that support/implement the planning elements. This feature is used to control quality and completeness, and to ensure that process and system designs meet business requirements. Visible Analyst can also be used to specify physical information system designs based on the data model or import physical designs of existing data structures into the repository, and then link them back to the business plan component.
Universal Data Model
The Visible Analyst Enterprise Framework Edition leverages the power and repository of the Visible Analyst to applying an object-oriented approach to data modeling. The Visible Universal Data Model attempts to fulfill the ideal of total model reuse through familiar objects and patterns. The key to this approach is to consider a model as constructed of reusable components; i.e., object classes. Every model contains fairly common object classes developed over and over again in different guises. By raising the level of abstraction we are able to generalize about the object classes and their relationships within a model - thus, the Visible Universal Data Model .
The Visible Universal Data Model is a high-level data model containing nearly fifty business subject areas or object classes and encompassing over 600 entities with 1,000 attributes. Each of the object classes is centered on a "kernel" entity. The kernel entities were established based on their relevance in the business environment. The object classes constructed around the kernel entity vary in complexity. The object class PERIOD, for example, consists of only 3 entities. Others, such as PERFORMANCE are very complex and consist of between 20 and 30 different entities.
The Visible Universal Data Model also adds an additional frame of reference. Each object class may have one or more levels of abstraction based upon the business perspective from which the object class is viewed. For example, an entity viewed from a sales perspective will have different characteristics (attributes and associations) then the same entity viewed from a manufacturing perspective. The Visible Universal Data Model is constructed with these different perspectives in mind.
The premise of the Visible Universal Data Model is that:
- All businesses, even diverse businesses perform a set of common functions, e.g. Marketing, Sales, Research, Production, Purchasing, Human Resources, etc.
- Each business function performs many of the same activities, e.g. Contract Management, Contact Management, Document Management, Inventory Control, Budgeting, Accounting, Hiring, Training, etc.
- Many of the activities act on similar data, e.g. organizations, people, skills, products, services, facilities, locations, assets, liabilities, accounts, documents, etc.
- In many cases the similar data is in fact the same data, e.g. Mr. Jones, Ms. Smith, Washington DC, Dallas, etc.
In the Visible Universal Data Model , closely related data are grouped by subject area (business objects). While many business activities can be supported by data from a single subject area, other activities need data from several subject areas. The Visible Universal Data Model shows the interdependency of the subject areas. By grouping the activities performed by business function; the subject areas, hence the data, needed to support the business function are determined. These business functions can then be modeled using the UML and Structured Systems Analysis and Design diagrams as well as the Strategic Planning capabilities of the Visible Analyst . The cohesiveness and interrelationship of the models is maintained within the same Visible Analyst project.