The pioneers of Enterprise Architecture

Nowadays there are many enterprise architects practising their art and science around the world. But in the early days there were a few individuals who pioneered enterprise architecture. They are the people who came up with the idea of architecting, and who introduced many of the original concepts and ideas.

But who are these people? There is obviously John Zachman, but who else needs to be recognized for their contribution to this discipline?

Here are my initial thoughts:

  • Richard Saul Wurman – who was probably the first person to talk about architecture as it relates to managing information back in 1975. Wurman pioneered the concept of enterprise architecture.
  • John Zachman – of course. John has probably done more than any other individual to promote the ideas of enterprise architecture. He is best known for developing the Framework for Information Systems Architecture, which is now better known as the Zachman Framework. Zachman pioneered the notion of architecture frameworks, and has been a tireless evangelist of the need for enterprise architecture.
  • Steven Spewack – was an American management consultant, who is best known for his 1992 book Enterprise Architecture Planning (EAP), in which he defined EAP as “the process of defining architectures for the use of information in support of the business and the plan for implementing those architectures”. Spewack pioneered the formal definition of the method or process for architecting an enterprise (the forerunner of the TOGAF® Architecture Development Method (ADM).
  • Jeanne W. Ross – specialized in enterprise architecture while Principal Research Scientist at MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR). Although not strictly one of the pioneers of EA, I’ve included Ross here because the book – Enterprise architecture as strategy: Creating a foundation for business execution – (co-authored with Peter Weill, and David C. Robertson) has done a lot to raise the level of architectural discussion to senior management levels.
  • Clive Finkelstein – is an Australian computer scientist, known as the “Father” of Information Engineering (IE), the discipline that he helped develop with James Martin, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Finkelstein pioneered many techniques in information engineering that were the foundation for the early days of enterprise architecture.
  • James Martin – was a British information technology consultant and author. Like Finkelstein his contributions were largely in information engineering. Martin pioneered a strategy-driven approach to information engineering, that laid the basis for the business context in enterprise architecture. [Martin also donated £60 m to help establish the Oxford Martin School, at the University of Oxford, which aims to “formulate new concepts, policies and technologies that will make the future a better place to be”.]
  • Other pioneers of Information Engineering, Object Oriented Analysis/Design, Structured Analysis techniques, and Domain-Driven Design, also had a significant influence on the early days of enterprise architecture. Some of the key names here include: Ed Yourdon, Bertrand Meyer, Edsger Dikjstra, Tom DeMarco, Larry Constantine, and Michael A. Jackson.

Clearly the list could go on… and I will add to this initial list as people come to mind. If you have any suggestions, I’d like to hear them!