Zachman Framework (Example, Benefits, and Certification)

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Zachman Framework

Zachman Framework is one of the most famous enterprise architecture frameworks today. It provides a structure for organizing information about its business processes and systems.

This blog post will discuss the Zachman Framework, its working, its examples, its benefits, and how you can use it to improve your organization’s architecture.

What is Zachman Framework?

John Zachman created this framework in late 1984s, becoming the most widely accepted framework for enterprise architecture. It provides a structure for organizing information about an organization’s business, processes, data, applications, and technology.

It helps to ensure that all aspects of an organization are considered when making decisions about system changes or upgrades.

How Does It Work?

It divides enterprise architecture into six domains. They are

  • Business
  • Data
  • Process
  • Application
  • Infrastructure
  • Technology

Each domain is further divided into sub-domains.

For example, the business domain includes goals and objectives, strategy execution, value chain, and customers.

It is based on the idea that organizations should be able to answer two questions about any aspect of their business: “What does it do?” and “How does it do it?” Therefore, the framework provides a structure for organizing information to find answers to these questions.

The two parts of it:

  • The fact model incorporates consumers, suppliers, products, and services.
  • A design model shows how these facts are represented within an organization’s systems.

This uses rows to represent different perspectives or viewpoints on enterprise architecture (e.g., strategic planning vs operations). In addition, columns represent artifacts created during system development (e.g., requirements specifications or process flows).

It collects information related to one viewpoint and artifact type pair. As a result, it provides answers to both questions (“What does it do?”) and (“How does it do it?”). This helps businesses understand specific areas of their work.

Zachman Framework Example

The below example provides a structure for organizing information about an organization’s business, processes, data, applications, and technology.

Infographic of Zachman Framework Perspectives (Executive Perspective, Business Management Perspective, Architect Perspective, Engineer Perspective, Technician Perspective, Enterprise Perspective)

Detailed Structure

The framework consists of 36 cells, each focusing on the enterprise’s perspective. Rows represent the viewpoints involved in the system development process, and columns represent the perspective of the stakeholders.

Columns of framework

  • What (data)
  • How (function)
  • Where (network)
  • Who (people)
  • When(time)
  • Why (motivation)

Rows of framework

  • Scope contexts (Planner’s view) – Represents business purpose and strategy.
  • Business concepts (Owners view) – Represents the part of the enterprise that can be automated.
  • System logic (Designers’ view) – This represents how the system fulfills the business’s information needs.
  • Technology physics (Implementer’s view) – Represents how the system will be implemented.
  • Component assemblies (Sub-contractors view) – Represents the implementation-specific details.
  • Operations classes (Users view) – Represents the functioning of the system.

Zachman Framework Template

Detailed Structure of Zachman FrameWork
Details of Zachman Framework - 36 Cells

Zachman vs TOGAF?

Zachman and TOGAF are two of the most famous enterprise architecture frameworks. But which one is right for your business?

Here is a comparison table to help you decide.

Comparison of Zachman and TOGAF Framework

While both frameworks have advantages, The answer depends on your business needs. For example, the Zachman Framework is better for businesses that need to model their entire enterprise, while TOGAF is better for businesses that need a more general overview of their architecture.

Zachman Certification & Training

The Zachmann Institute offers certification in the Zachman Framework, including training courses on its website, which can be taken online or in a classroom setting.

In addition, the Zachmann Institute has a Zachman Framework Certification program that is globally recognized and provides students with the skills needed to use this effectively for their enterprise architecture needs.

Zachman Framework Benefits

Zachman Framework Benefits

There are many benefits to using this for enterprise architecture. Some of the most notable include:

Clarity and Structure

The framework provides a clear and structured way to understand, communicate, and manage complex enterprise architecture. It breaks down the intricacies of an organization into a grid-like structure, making it easier to visualize.

Universal language

It offers a universal language for discussing enterprise architecture. Regardless of your role within an organization, using the Zachman Framework helps ensure everyone is on the same page when discussing complex systems.

Holistic view

It encourages a holistic view of the enterprise. Instead of just focusing on IT, it forces organizations to consider the entire spectrum, including people, data, processes, and technology.

Increased efficiency

By categorizing different aspects of the enterprise, the framework can help identify gaps and overlaps in the architecture. This can lead to better problem-solving and enhanced efficiency.

Historical perspective

The framework allows organizations to maintain a historical perspective. Over time, they can track changes and the evolution of their architecture, which is valuable for learning and continuous improvement.

Zachman Framework Challenges


The Zachman Framework can be quite complex to implement. It involves creating and maintaining detailed documentation, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.


The comprehensive nature of the framework can result in information overload. Organizations might get lost in the details, making it challenging to prioritize and focus on critical issues.

Lack of guidance

The framework offers a structure but doesn’t provide specific guidance on how to implement enterprise architecture solutions. It’s more about “what” to do, rather than “how” to do it.

Lack of popularity

The Zachman Framework lacks popularity within the development community, with minimal awareness among developers.

Companies that Use the Zachman Framework

Both the Government and commercial sectors use the framework. In addition, many companies use the framework. Here we listed some of the familiar companies.


  • Aerospace Corporation
  • Accenture
  • Boeing
  • BMC Software
  • Dell
  • East bank technologies
  • IBM
  • Deloitte
  • Gartner Group
  • Oracle
  • Samsung 


  • Airforce US PACOM
  • National park service
  • NASA centers
  • US commerce department
  • White House – EOP
  • US Forrest service
  • US postal service
  • National defense university

Brief History of Zachman Framework

In 1984, a framework for information system architecture was developed by John A Zachman. It has only three columns. The 1st representation of the framework was created using Jahn’s original drawings by IBM graphics support.

In 1987, this framework for information systems architecture was published in the IBM System Journal.

In 1992 also, it was called a framework for information systems architecture. John thought that strategy and information systems must be “engineered” for the whole enterprise, not just manufactured. After that, people started referring to this framework and named it the “Zachman Framework.”

In 1993, John Zachman officially called his framework “A framework for enterprise architecture.”

In 2001, After ten years of research and development and several refinements, this new version with six rows was become popular and recognized as the “Zachman framework.”

In 2002, Intervista Institute in Canada developed a new version with the development help of Mr. John. This version of The Framework has a notable design change, the black-to-white gradient vertical banding that moves down its columns.

This effect amplifies the idea that there is more to it than just a matrix and adds further depth to an already intriguing concept. Incorrectly, individuals consider that navigating down the columns merely illustrates an increase in the level of detail.

This misconception is still held today, and thus The Zachman Framework™ attempted to address this issue by introducing a black-to-white gradient. Moving downwards along each column has nothing to do with how intricate something may be; it is instead concerned with transformation.

In 2003, some ZIFA members wanted more satisfaction with the Intervista-institute version of the framework. Even with the ZIFA logo on the right of their 2002 representation, Intervista maintained its positional dominance in advertising.

Outraged by this decision, they commissioned a new version which sadly resorted back to earlier notation issues and was merely suggestive of ZIFA’s presence.

Again, with minor improvements, Intervista Institute in Canada developed one more version. That still includes information system terminology. The most impressive enhancement of this version is the utilization of gradient color banding across the Rows and down the Columns.

This colorful hue between each cell deftly highlights The Framework’s concepts – Integration (across the Rows) and Transformations (downward).

In addition, each stand-alone cell creates a space that better illustrates how much more occurs than in previous versions.

In 2004, the new version was developed and titled the Zachman Framework 2. It is the 2nd version of John’s 6-column representation of the framework.

In this version, a notable improvement is transitioning from I/S terminology to more business-oriented terms, which has been instrumental in getting the framework noticed by General Management.

In addition, using noun-modified nouns instead of adjective-modified nouns has made this version even more precise and accurate.

In 2011, A new version of the Zachman framework arrived after some years of re-structuring in Zachman International

John consulted with influential members of the academic and consulting spheres, eminent data and process modeling leaders, veteran IT distributors, Business Rule connoisseurs, and top tool vendors for their feedback.

After gathering insight from renowned authorities in the field, he made a few final changes to produce an image that encapsulates The Zachman Framework like never before.

This image reflects John’s and the community’s understanding of Enterprise Architecture which has been expanding over the past 40 years – rendering it as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible.

Methodology vs Framework

Before discussing methodology vs framework, let us look into the meaning of framework and methodology.

What is a framework?

A framework is a structural representation of a model that enables you to determine what can be produced and when. 

It can be used to help make decisions by providing a structured way of looking at a problem. A framework can also help develop and test hypotheses.

For example, In software development, a framework is a reusable set of libraries or classes that supports common functionality. It is often used to develop applications faster and easier than starting from scratch. A framework can be thought of as a template or scaffolding upon which a program or application can be built.

Frameworks are usually designed to be pluggable, so developers can use them to build custom solutions specific to their needs. Many popular frameworks also come with extensive documentation and example code that can help make development faster and easier.

Frameworks are more useful for consultants.

What is a methodology?

Methodology refers to the systematic, logical approach to doing something. A good methodology will be well-defined and include clear steps to do things. 

For example, a methodology is used to gather and analyze data to find the answer to a research question. The methodology clearly explains how data will be collected and analyzed. Researchers need to be able to trust that their data was gathered reliably to trust their study’s findings.

You can use it in business, research, education, or any other field where it’s important to have a repeatable process.

A good methodology is also flexible so that it can be adapted as new information becomes available. For example, if the research question changes partway through a study, the methodology should be able to change as well.

Finally, A good methodology will help you achieve your goals efficiently and effectively.

It is a systematic approach to solving a problem.It is a visual or structural approach to solving problems. Or in other words, it is the skeletal model of building something.
It describes how things are to be done.It explains what and when things need to be done.
It is less flexible.It is more flexible.


What is the rule of the Zachmen framework?

Alignment: Each cell in the Zachman Framework should fit together like pieces of a puzzle. This means that every cell should make sense in relation to the cells directly above and below it. It’s like building a structure where each part supports the parts above and below it.

Uniformity: In each row of the framework, all the cells should be consistent with one another. This means that the information in each row should be related and work together to provide a complete description of the organization from a specific perspective.

Uniqueness: Each cell in the Zachman Framework is different and serves a unique purpose. They don’t repeat the same information, and each one has its own specific role in describing the organization.

Completeness: When you combine all the cells in one row, you get a full and detailed view of the organization from a particular angle. It’s like putting together a puzzle where each piece is needed to see the whole picture.

In summary, the Zachman Framework is a structured way of looking at an organization, ensuring that every piece of information has its place, fits together cohesively, and provides a clear and unique perspective on the organization’s workings.


Zachman Framework is a foundational framework for enterprise architecture. It provides a structure for organizing information about an organization and its business processes to make better decisions about designing, implementing, and improving those processes.

This has been around since the late 1980s and is still one of the most popular frameworks for enterprise architecture today.