Application Model Layer

This step in the architecture routemap is related to software applications.  It covers the mapping of some of the most common package software applications onto business processes.  As you have probably realised, the process modelling that was accomplished early on in our routemap journey was done there for good reasons……one of which being is it provides an extremely useful context and structure for mapping out some of the other dimensions of a business architecture!

Once we have mapped the most common applications onto our processes the application model in the figure below emerges (click on it to see an enlarged version in a new window).

Business Architecture Application Model

For those of you not familiar with all of the application acronyms used in the model above we provide this handy  list.


  • BI = Business Intelligence
  • BPM = Business Process Management (incl Workflow Automation)
  • CAD = Computer Aided Design
  • CMS = Content Management System
  • CPM = Corporate Portfolio Management
  • CRM = Customer Relationship Management
  • EAM = Enterprise Asset Maintenance Management
  • EAI = Enterprise Application Integration (incl Data Management)
  • EC = e-Commerce
  • EDMS = Electronic Document Management System
  • ERP = Enterprise Resources Planning
  • FBM = Forecast and Budget Management
  • HRM = Human Resource Management
  • LIMS = Laboratory Information Management System
  • MES = Manufacturing Execution System
  • PDM = Product Data Management
  • PLM = Product Lifecycle Management
  • PPM = Project Portfolio Management
  • SCADA = Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition
  • SCM = Supply Chain Management
  • SFA = Sales Force Automation
  • SFDC = Shop Floor Data Collection
  • WMS = Warehouse Management System

Clearly there will be some debate over where a given organisation might draw these boundaries, including which application type they would choose to use, and as you drive down into the process model more deeply more examples of this will occur.  However, the high-level mappings shown in the figure above is in our experience quite a robust one…..most organisations will adjust things around the boundaries but the majority of the application mappings in the above figure tend to remain largely intact.

However, an important exception to the above statement relates to the fact that once again this is a  generic, cross-industry model and mapping.  Clearly not all sectors can be equally well catered for at the same time.  We know for example many utilities like telecomms companies have tended to use specialised software like OSS / BSS (i.e. Operating Support Systems / Billing Support Systems) systems, and that retailers use POS (Point Of Sale) systems, neither of which feature in the above mappings……all we can say is what we have said before…….

This model is a high-level departure point for your own work…..not something that is intended to fully satisfy everyone right out of the box.

Bulls EyeAnother very exciting development we would like to point out is the continuing emergence of Open Source Software (not to be confused with the OSS acronym in the above paragraph!) as increasingly credible alternatives to their proprietary cousins.  Yes, everyone has heard about Linux and OpenOffice, but what we are alluding to goes beyond those general-purpose sorts of software.

Increasingly there are ready-for-prime-time open source software packages free to download in application areas such as ERP, CRM, and BI to name a few.  Some leading enterprise-class Open Source Software solutions, as listed by application category, include:

No, not all of them are equally well developed, and even the best among them may not yet be ready to scale to the needs of larger organisations, but the progress that has been made in this direction in the last decade is phenomenal.

We have to assume it is only a matter of time before open source applications become head-on competitive alternatives for proprietary ones in organisations of all sizes……while also likely driving new business models for them all into the bargain!  Watch this space…..we certainly are!!

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