Zachman Framework for BI Assessments

Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
Comments (1)
November 20th, 2008

The Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture has become the model around which major organizations view and communicate their enterprise information infrastructure. Enterprise Architecture provides the blueprint, or architecture, for the organization’s information infrastructure. More information on the Zachman Framework can be obtained at

For BI practitioners, the Zachman Framework provides a way of articulating the current state of the BI infrastructure in the organization. Ralph Kimball in his eminently readable book “The Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit” illustrates how the Zachman Framework can be adapted to the Business Intelligence context.

Given below is a version of the Zachman Framework that I have used in some of my consulting engagements. This is just one way of using this framework but does illustrate the power of this model in some measure.


Some Salient Points with respect to the above diagram are:

  • The framework answers the basic questions of “What”, “How”, “Who” and “Where” across 4 important dimensions – Business Requirements, Conceptual Model, Logical/Physical Model and Actual Implementation.
  • Zachman Framework reinforces the fact that a successful enterprise system combines the ingredients of business, process, people and technology in proper measure.
  • It is typically used to assess the current state of the BI infrastructure in any organization
  • Each of the cells that lies at the intersection of the rows and columns (Ex: Information Requirements of Business) has to be documented in detail as part of the assessment document
  • Information on each cell is gathered through subjective and objective questionnaires.
  • Scoring Models can be developed to provide an assessment score for each of the cells. Based on the scores, a set of recommendations can be provided to achieve the intended goals.
  • Another interesting thought is to create a As-Is Zachman framework and overlay that with To-Be one in situations where re-engineering of a BI environment is undertaken. This will help us provide a transition path from the current state to the future.

Thanks for reading. If you have used the Zachman framework differently in your environment, please do share your thoughts.

Comments (1)

SaiGanesh - June 6th, 2010

I do have used Zachman extensively for laying out the current and future state arch for Organixations. In particular I have used Zachman in my consulting engagements for indetifying business cases for MDM, Data Governance and EDW programs. It specificaly helps in identifying key bottlenecks in Data Managment , Ownership and also have used it to measure the SOA initiatives to identify the gaps.

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