Advances in Enterprise Information Systems II Møller & Chaudhry (eds)
© 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 978-0-415-63131-0
A comparison of practitioner and researcher definitions of enterprise
architecture using an interpretation method
Jan Mentz
School of Computing, University of South Africa, Pretoria, Unisa, South Africa
Paula Kotzé
CSIR Meraka Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Institute for ICT Advancement, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Alta van der Merwe
CSIR Meraka Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
ABSTRACT: The term enterprise architecture has been in use for almost thirty years if the sem-
inal paper (published in 1987) by Zachman is taken as its starting point. As a scientific area of
study this time span is relatively short but for the practitioner it could be a time long enough for
the original interest to wane. Gartner’s research reflects that the practitioner interest is growing
and the development of enterprise architecture frameworks, such as the 2009 update of The Open
Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), shows the active development of enterprise architecture
frameworks. In this paper two enterprise architecture definitions that is representative of the prac-
titioner and the researcher position are compared to the definitions of the Zachman Framework
and TOGAF to determine the agreement between practitioner and researcher thought on enterprise
architecture.The comparison is conducted via an interpretation method that is based on hermeneutic
phenomenology. The results indicate a correspondence between practitioner and researcher views
that opens the way for co-operative research.
Keywords: Enterprise architecture, enterprise architecture frameworks, meaning.
1 INTRODUCTION
The term enterprise architecture has been in use for almost thirty years if the seminal paper (pub-
lished in 1987) by Zachman (1987) is taken as its starting point. As a scientific area of study this
time span is relatively short but for the practitioner it could be a time long enough for the origi-
nal interest to wane. However Gartner’s research reflects that the practitioner interest is growing
and the development of enterprise architecture frameworks such as the 2009 update of The Open
Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) shows the active development of enterprise architecture
frameworks.
Banerjee (2010) summarized a popular debate dealing with the topic of the death of enterprise
architecture, hosted on the LinkedIn (LinkedIn Corporation 2011) social networking website, with
the claim that there was “no disagreement about the proposition that ‘Enterprise Architecture IS
dying’”. Allega (2010) in turn emphasized that Gartner’s 2010 hype cycle report (Burton andAllega
2010) for enterprise architecture indicated growth. The blog posting that sparked the debate was
based on Zachman’s (Zachman 2009) explanation of his statement that “enterprise architecture is
relative
1
”. In this article Zachman expresses his dissatisfaction with the arbitraryuse and ownership,
1
The response from Zachman was made to correct a misquotation by Roger Sessions on the issue.
11

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