The Essential Meta-Model

The heart of Essential.

The Essential Meta-Model is the heart of the Essential Project. It is, in effect, an ontology for an entire organisation that has been developed from over fifteen years of consulting with global organisations, supporting them in many different contexts, for example strategy management, application portfolio management, information and data management etc, and providing the analysis required to achieve business value such as cost savings, agility and so on.

The core Meta-Model concepts and relationships are based on our twelve-box grid, which has become a de facto industry standard; with layers representing the areas of architecture to be understood and rows representing the levels of abstraction from which this understanding is to be viewed.

More specifically, the architecture layers defined are:

  • Business
    Knowledge related to the goals and objectives, capabilities, people, processes and products/services of an enterprise
  • Application
    Knowledge related to the functional behaviour provided by technology systems in support of business processes
  • Information
    Knowledge related to the structured and unstructured information that support business processes, is managed by applications and is transmitted/stored using technology
  • Technology
    Knowledge related to the software and hardware technology used to implement applications and transmit/store information

The abstraction views defined are:

  • Conceptual View
    The capabilities and concepts that represent the fundamental elements needed to meet the objectives of an enterprise, we often refer to this as ‘the what’ (Strategic Agenda)
  • Logical View
    The approaches taken to realise the capabilities and concepts of the Conceptual View, we often refer to this a ‘the how’ (Tactical Agenda)
  • Physical View
    The implementation of the approaches described in the Logical View, we often refer to this as ‘the where’ (Operational Agenda)

In addition, the Support Meta-Model provides concepts and relationships to enable management and governance processes that make use of the knowledge captured in the Core Meta-Model. These will expand continuously as we receive demand from our users, a sample are shown below:

  • Strategy Management
    Managing an organisations future state and the intended road map for achieving it
  • Change Management
    Managing the dependencies that impact the processes, people and IT of the enterprise during change, e.g. in support of project portfolio management or programme management
  • Service Delivery
    Managing the dependencies that exist between processes, people and IT in support of the on-going operation of an enterprise
  • Security
    Managing knowledge related to the requirements, design and implementation of an organisation's security policies and architecture across business and IT
  • Information/Data Standards Management
    Provides the ability to manage data quality, ownership and governance across the organisation
  • Legal Management
    Support for managing legal compliance for technology and business services, e.g. licensing
  • Cost Management
    Support for managing the costs of elements in the architecture, e.g. technology or business contract costs
  • Skills Management
    Support the ability to capture and model Skills required by Business Roles and provided by Actors in the business layer
  • Information Lifecycle Management
    Defining and managing classification schemes and lifecycle policies related to the creation, distribution, retention and disposal of information in use across an organisation (viewed from a conceptual, logical or physical perspective)

Initially designed to support Enterprise Architecture, the Essential Meta Model does not represent an attempt to supersede or conflict with well-established EA frameworks and their associated meta-models. Rather, the intention is to provide a comprehensive and extensible set of concepts and relationships, with clear semantics that can be easily mapped to the concepts, activities and tools of the industry standard frameworks. In fact, through the extensions made over the last 15-20 years, demanded to support our consulting engagements, the Essential Meta Model is far richer than the standard EA Frameworks.