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EA Profession vs. Trade

Written by John A. Zachman on Tuesday, 01 September 2015. Posted in Zachman International

I recently ran across some notes I took from a presentation at an IBM SHARE Conference, August 1991 that may shed some light on the idea of Professionalism.

Roger Greer, who at the time was the Dean of the School of Library and Information Management at the University of California (USC), made some observations about a Professionals in contrast with Labor. He defined the Professional Service Cycle as depicted in Figure 1.

Roger observed that the Professional begins with Step 1, the diagnosis of the problem or identification of the Requirement. Step 2 is a Prescription or recommendation for potential solutions. The Labor enters the Cycle at Step 3, applying technology for solving the problem or implementing the Prescription. Step 4 is evaluating the results to determine whether another iteration through the Cycle is necessary.

What differentiates the Professional from the Technician is Diagnosis and PrescriptionIf there is no diagnosis and prescription, there is no Profession. Where there is only Application and Evaluation, it is performed by a Labor, a Trade a Technician.

Professional Service Cycle

I would submit that with the advent of the information Technologies in the 1940’s and ’50’s, the technologies were sufficiently unfamiliar and complex that it required specialized capabilities to learn to program and run them. Therefore, the Technologists were instrumental in the Application of the technologies, the implementation. To this day, IT people would still say that they are in the business of Building and Running Systems which is Step 3 in the Service Cycle. It is little wonder that “Alignment” repeatedly shows up in the CEO surveys as one of the critical issues needed to be addressed by their Information Technology Community. IT does not do Enterprise problem diagnoses nor prescribe Enterprise problem solutions. IT builds and runs systems. It is little wonder that the technology implementations do not “align” with Management requirements or expectations. This should not be a great shock considering IT starts at Stage 3, the implementation ... not at Stage 1 or 2, the Diagnosis and Prescription.

I would observe that Stages 1 and 2 of the Profession Service Cycle are the domain of Engineering and Stages 3 and 4 are the domain of Manufacturing. The practical problem in introducing the concepts of Enterprise Architecture into the existing Enterprise culture is that it flies in the face of 75 years of IT Manufacturing inertia. Here is the cutting edge of the pain of a paradigm shift from Systems Manufacturing to Enterprise Engineering for both IT and the Enterprise!

About the Author

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman is the originator of the “Framework for Enterprise Architecture” (The Zachman Framework™) which has received broad acceptance around the world as an integrative framework, an ontology for descriptive representations for Enterprises. Mr. Zachman is not only known for this work on Enterprise Architecture, but is also known for his early contributions to IBM’s Information Strategy methodology (Business Systems Planning) as well as to their Executive team planning techniques (Intensive Planning).

Mr. Zachman retired from IBM in 1990, having served them for 26 years. He is Founder and Chairman of his own education and consulting business, Zachman International®. He is also the Executive Director of the Federated Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute (The FEAC® Institute) in Washington, D.C., as well as the Chairman of the Zachman Institute™, a non-profit organization devoted to leveraging Zachman International's vast network of professionals and resources to offer services to small businesses and non-profit organizations as they prepare for and experience growth.

Mr. Zachman serves on the Executive Council for Information Management and Technology (ECIMT) of the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and on the Advisory Board of the Data Administration Management Association International (DAMA-I) from whom he was awarded the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award. In August 2015, Mr. Zachman was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for “recognition of his long term impact and contribution to how people think and practice Enterprise Architecture today, leaving his mark on generations to come” by the Global University Alliance and LEADing Practice. He was awarded the 2009 Enterprise Architecture Professional Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession as well as the 2004 Oakland University, Applied Technology in Business (ATIB), Award for IS Excellence and Innovation. In August 2011, he was awarded the Gen. Colin Powell Public Sector Image Award by the Armed Services Alliance Program. In November 2013 he was acknowledged for Achievement and Excellence for Distinguished Innovative Academic Contribution by the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society Technical Committees on Enterprise Information Systems and on Enterprise Architecture and Engineering.

Mr. Zachman has been focusing on Enterprise Architecture since 1970 and has written extensively on the subject. He has facilitated innumerable executive team planning sessions. He travels nationally and internationally, teaching and consulting, and is a popular conference speaker, known for his motivating messages on Enterprise Architecture issues. He has spoken to many thousands of enterprise managers and information professionals on every continent.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Zachman serves on the Elder Council of the Church on the Way (First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California), the Board of Directors of Living Way Ministries, a radio and television ministry of the Church on the Way, the President’s Cabinet of the King’s University, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Citywide Children’s Christian Choir, the Board of Directors of Heavenworks, an international ministry to the French-speaking world and on the Board of Directors of Native Hope International, a Los Angeles-based ministry to the Native American people.

Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Zachman served as a line officer in the United States Navy and is a retired Commander in the U. S. Naval Reserve. He chaired a panel on "Planning, Development and Maintenance Tools and Methods Integration" for the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. He holds a degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University, has taught at Tufts University, has served on the Board of Councilors for the School of Library and Information Management at the University of Southern California, as a Special Advisor to the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, on the Advisory Council to the School of Library and Information Management at Dominican University and on the Advisory Board for the Data Resource Management Program at the University of Washington. He has been a Fellow for the College of Business Administration of the University of North Texas and currently is listed in Cambridge Who’s Who.

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