eRRA Methodology

The eReading Reference Architecture (eRRA) doesn't aim at modeling eReading projects for the sake of modeling. The objective is to help delivering superior electronic reading experiences, which requires to successfully execute one or more IT projects.

The eRRA suggests the following steps. It's possible to make only step 3 but ignoring step 1 and 2 increases the risk than the project is not very well aligned with the rest.
  1. Understanding the business strategy
  2. Sketching the Global Architecture
  3. Designing the eReading Project Architecture

Step 1 : Understanding the Business Strategy

In order to  deliver a good architecture, one needs to understand why the system needs to be build. The eReading system has objectives (ROI, Functions, Target Groups...)  and constraints (budget, reuse of existing assets...)

Therefore the following framework can be used : GOESIR. Using the KAOS methodology, one can establish a hierarchy of business goals categorized in 5 levels:
  1. G = Business Goals : What does the business want to achieve ?
  2. O = Opportunities : What are the opportunities to achieve the goal ?
  3. ES = Execution Strategies : What will be the strategy for getting the opportunities ?
  4. I = Initiatives : What projects -or project phases- are required for implementing the Execution Strategy ?
  5. R = Resources : What resources are needed for implementing the initiative (budgets, people, offices, IT systems, services) ?
<todo> Sample Diagram for eBook Sales

The followin table shows a small example of GOESIR :
 Goals Sell more Books via eBooks.
 Opportunities Option 1 =, option 2 = own eBook Store
 Execution Strategy Implement a multi-channel eBook Sales with 2-5 channels

 InitiativesInitiative 1 - Sell eBooks on and Kindle.
Initiative 2 - Evaluate white-label eBook Stores
 ResourcesBudget for eBook Conversion Services, project coordinator and marketing.

Note that goals, strategies and initiatives should be prioritized.

Step 2 : Global Architecture

When Business Goals are (more) clear, an AS-IS/TO-BE analysis can be done.

This can represent a lot of work, as it means to clearly articulate the Enterprise Architecture (Organization, Capabilities, Processes, IT Systems...). If there is someone playing the role of "Entreprise Architect" in the company, he should have that kind of information : the organization (organizational  diagrams, locations), the main business processes,  the capabilities of the business, the main IT Systems... From an IT project perspective, the minimum is to have a high level overview of the AS-IS  IT elements or at least of the elements which have to be integrated within the next initiative

The AS-IS high level description can be combined with the Business Goals to draw a 3-5 years TO-BE Entreprise Architecture.

There are different ways of representing the Entreprise Architecture. The main purpose must be "communication". The Goals, AS-IS and TO-BE should be understood by all stakeholders.  For example, a possible representation uses the Company's value chain ( 

Step 3 : eReading Project Architecture

When an initiative has been correctly positionned in its environment (Business goals, AS-IS, TO-BE), the initiative architectural design can start. Business goals than need to be refined into specific project goals (in case Business goals are too generic).  Again the KAOS methodology is used here.

Goals and Resources can be used to draw an Architecture Overview, which than derives into a project plan. For an eReading project, the architecture will be defined using the 9 Archimate categories for each of the 4 Tiers. Once the elements of those 36 categories have been identified, views can be built for the different stakeholders. The eReading Contents Lifecycle can be used to help identifying the architecture elements.

Jean-Francois Declercq,
Aug 9, 2011, 6:26 AM