Enterprise Communication

The success of enterprise coordination depends on the effectiveness and efficiency of enterprise communication architecture.

The enterprise engineering framework (EEF) recommends a novel expectation-based event-driven approach to enterprise coordination—worknet management (WM)—that requires effective synchronous and asynchronous communication, which is currently best supported by event driven architecture (EDA).

In addition to coordination agents, each enterprise unit should have communication agents—mediation and intermediation agents—which are responsible for enterprise communication.

Mediation agents resolve the differences between message providers and consumers; they are responsible for location transparency, protocol bridging, and message transformation. In addition, mediation agents ensure the quality of interactions by applying security policies (user authentication/authorization and message encryption/decryption), performing logging and auditing, and guaranteeing desired performance and reliability. Mediation agents are deployed on integration platforms such as an enterprise service bus (ESB).

Intermediation agents support asynchronous communication (publish/subscribe and queueing) and are deployed on message broker platforms.

Figure 5.1. Coordination and communication agents.

IT has been manufacturing the Enterprise (building systems) for 70 years or so... but the Enterprise was never engineered. Therefore, IT has not been manufacturing the Enterprise... they have been manufacturing PARTS of the Enterprise ... and the parts don’t fit together (they are not “integrated”). John A. Zachman

Key Points

The Enterprise was never holistically engineered, according to John A. Zachman.

The EEF is a lightweight enterprise reengineering framework focused on computational activities and the digital architecture of the enterprise. The physical architecture, which supports physical/chemical activities of the enterprise, may complement the digital architecture, but it is outside the scope of the EEF.

The main enterprise building blocks are individual human agents, individual software agents, and composite agents (units). The other parts are tools, boundary constructs, platforms, and infrastructure.

Two types of structures define the enterprise. The enterprise itself is a collection (flat network) of units. Although the network is flat, there exist asymmetric hierarchical relations (directing/reporting) between the units. A unit is a collection (flat network) of individual agents (both human and artificial). The individual agents may also have hierarchical relations.

At the enterprise level, computational activities of units are coordinated using an expectation-oriented style described by the event-process-event pattern. At the unit level, computational activities of individual agents can be coordinated using either the expectation-oriented or the command-and-control style described by the event-task-event pattern.

At the enterprise level, units communicate asynchronously; at the unit level, either asynchronously or synchronously, depending on the coordination style.

The EEF recommends the top-down approach to enterprise transformation. It begins with the social transformation that streamlines the human architecture of the enterprise and partitions it into the collection of executive and functional units. The second stage is the systemic transformation that creates units' boundary constructs and enables effective enterprise-level communication and coordination. The last stage is the unit transformation, where each unit can be reengineered at its own pace.

Further Insights