Category Archives: SOA

MODAF Viewpoints

Source: Introduction to MODAF v1.2 (PDF)

The MODAF (Ministry Of Defense Architectural Framework) defines several views for Enterprise Architecture:

The architectural views are categorised into viewpoints:

Strategic (StV) – defining the boundaries of the enterprise and its vision, goals and capabilities

Services (SOV) – specifying services, the interfaces they present and how they may interact (but not how they are implemented)

Logical (OV) – specifying how the enterprise is required to be logically structured and how it functions

Physical (SV) – specifying how organisational and system resources interact in order to deliver capabilities and services(OV).

Programmatic (AcV) – supporting information about when solutions are to be delivered and by whom

– Standards (TV) – listing the standards which apply to the architecture

All Views (AV) – metadata and standard terminology 


Here is the DIGB-SA study Archimate model that has been built with Archi 2.6:

If you don’t want to install Archi, you can have a look at the model here:

I have received the authorization from my clients to publish it in order to:

  • Encourage the modeling practice and reuse among public libraries
  • Share with the Archimate community as an example

The model reuse is subject to the following  restriction:


This model is published for reuse by public libraries. It can’t be marketed, sold or resold.

This model has been developed by Jean-François Declercq in the context of the DIGITAL LIBRARY SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE study by ordered by:
– Bibnet vzw
– Vereniging van de Vlaamse Provincies
– Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest


PS: A Dutch version of this model is available at Bibnet (…

Study Published: the system architecture of the digital public library

26 march 2014

The reports of  the study on the current and future system architecture of the  digital library have been recently published.

The term “digital library” is here used as a collective name for all of a library’s products, processes and services that are digital and/or automated.

The study summary lists the future work zones for the  Flemish Public libraries:

  1. Business intelligence (BI)
  2. IT maturity
  3. Web presentation
  4. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  5. Digital Collections
  6. Collection Management and cataloguing
  7. Architecture consolidation (SOA)

The summary is available in French, Dutch and English:

The complete study has three main chapters :

  • Current system architecture of Flemish public libraries (AS-IS)
  • Evolution of the Flemish public libraries’ System architecture (change requirements)
  • The Future system architecture of Flemish public libraries (TO-BE)

The future system architecture is in fact a generic future-proof ICT blueprint for a public library. The blueprint is a set of business services, business processes, Applications, SOA Services and technological elements documented in the Archimate notation.

Business Services Overview

The complete study is available

I would like to thank the colleagues who worked with me on this study:

  • François Vermaut (IT Strategy, BPM, SOA, ITIL…)
  • Rosemie Callewaert (Public Library field expertise, User Experience, BIBFRAME, FRBR…)
  • Simon Kroeger (Proof reading english text)
  • Veerle Vanlooy (Vertalingen Vanlooy)

I also would like to thank the steering commitee (Bart Beuten, Jan BraekmanPatrick Vanhoucke ,Stefaan Froyman), all the workshop and participants. Their input has been key. I would like also to thank Alexandre Lemaire who helped me to compare the Flemish situation with the situation of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.…

SOA Analysis Workshop

This march 2013, I give a “SOA Analysis” workshop at one of my customers.

Using a false scenario and pseudo business process, during the first workshop, we perform SOA Service Identification via the clarification of the architecture using a System Context Diagram. Then we identify the key system capabilities required for enabling the business process. From there, after looking at the messages exchanged between systems and the opportunity to use an Entreprise Data Model for those, we continue towards a Service Candidate List containing : Service Name, Capability Name, Capability Description, Input, Output, Consumer and Provider.

In the second workshop, we take one of the services out of the candiate list and specify it completely  : functional context, quality of service, SLA, security, capabilities, pre-post conditions, exceptions… I also stress the importance of UML modeling for SOA by showing examples in Entreprise Architect.

The Service Identification and Modeling phases are part of the generic SOA Governance Lifecycle defined by Thomas Erl.

As main white papers underlying the workshop I recommend the following reading:

– IBM / Arsanjani – “SOMA: A method for developing service-oriented solutions

Oracle – SOA RA (Reference Architecture) Foundation v 3.1

– Thomas Erl, Understanding SOA Governance  (see free chapter  in pdf, includes the Service Lifecycle )…

“Systeemarchitectuur Digitale Bibliotheek” Study for Bibnet (DIGB-SA)

Update 26 march 2014:  the study reports have been published.

In february 2013, we are starting a study on the future system architecture for digital libraries in Belgium/Flanders, orchestrated by Bibnet.

You can find the description of the sudy on their website : Een systeemarchitectuur voor de Digitale Bibliotheek.

We will mostly cover the development and the management of the libraries’ applications landscape and analyse how to balance the centralization and decentralization of the libraries underlying ICT systems.

But we will also spend some time thinking about some Business elements of the entreprise Architecture : which business processes will be impacted, which new business processes will emerge, which new roles will emerge, which new business collaborations…

Among the new business processes : the lending of eBooks or other digital material, the use of social networks to fullfil the library’s missions, the integration of the library systems with the other e-Gov systems (Culture, Regions, Provinces, Cities)…

I intend to use business and ICT capability maps to structure the the complexity of the libraries’ business.

But I will not work alone ! For this mission I can count on the collaboration of Rosemie Callewart ( and Ingensol (

If you know any good source for a library business map (organization, services, capabilities), let me know ! I can use it ! Otherwise we could publish such a library capability map end of 2013 after our study is finished (and if our customer agrees).

Project code : DIGB-SA…

eBooks trends in 2012 and 2013

I have been involved in 2 eBook projects last year (2012). It allowed me to observe the evolution of some publishers, libraries and bookstores towards eBooks. Here are some trends I have identified.

2012: The eBook technology has been understood

Making an eBook, lending an eBook, streaming, ePub, eReaders, iPad, Amazon… In general, people start to feel ok with it. 

2012 : Traditional actors still prefer to stay away from the eBook technology

However if the concept of an eBook is now clear (at least for “Textual” and “APPS” ebooks), the actors tend to prefer to stay away from its technology. It is not a bad idea, but it doesn’t help staying in the eBook game.

There are a lot of discussions within associations to join forces to build or rejoin eBook platforms as a group. There is a feeling that eBook technology will quickly become commodity while remaining complex. Most of the actors want to stay away of the eBook technology by outsourcing it to IT actors.  But there are problems with this approach 1) How to differentiate ? 2) How to maintain the customer relationship ? 3) How to keep margins ?

2013: Looking for a business model , contents and… contracts

Now that one understands what is an eBook and how to sell or lend it, now come questions that should have been answered in the first place : What is the business model ? What do I sell ? How can I get a contract to lend or sell eBooks ? How will I convince a publisher to give me the right to sell or lend his eBooks ? What does the law say about doing business with eBooks ?

On the publisher side, the questions are different : who can I trust ? where can I send my eBooks and be sure they won’t be pirated ?

Due to the cost of an eBook platform (owned or outsourced) and the size of the Belgian eBook market, building a solid business model remains complex. The eBook “chicken and egg” (“demand needs offer and offer needs demand”) circle still needs to be broken in Belgium.

2013: Meet the customer

Let’s assume one manages to get a platform up and running and have all the re-selling and lending contracts signed with publishers (representing authors). The next question will be “where are the readers ?” and “what do they want to read ?”. We will finally come to the question : what is an eBook, after all ?

2013: What is an eBook ?

People read less and less. Or do they read differently ? What would be the ideal size and price of an eBook ? Why do people read ? When do people prefer digital over Paper ? eBooks will have to find their niches.

So the top eBook activities for 2013 should be :

  • Identify eBook readers segments
  • For targeted segments, take commercial positions in the eBook value chain. Sign contracts, obtain rights to re-sell or lend. For publishers get the sales channels established. Negotiate the content.
  • Make sure to make or propose the right eBooks for the right customer segments

None of those activities are technical. This is why I recommended to the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles (FWB), at the end of my technical eBook study to first spend money on a “Mediator”/”Negotiator” for the Public Libraries and labeled Bookstores. One needs first to identify who is open to do eBook business before assembling or finalizing the eBook platform.

Link with Entreprise Architecture

This blog is about Entreprise Architecture (EA), so what is the link with EA ? As an IT Architect you can do your best in the Applications and Technology layers, but without a clear Business Layer (Business Service, Business Processes, Business Roles), it is difficult to build something that will resist change. The only option I have is to make eBook platforms based on a modular Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). You can’t optimize an IT platform if you don’t know what the Business will do with it. We will soon assemble our eBook platforms and we will by than need to have answered the following question : what is our eBook business after all ?…

SOA Governance by the Open Group Vs SOA Systems

The Open Group has just released a  standard for SOA Governance (cfr SOA goes Global – ZDNet).
Earlier this year I had a look at the Open Group SOA Framework and especially the SGRM (SOA Governance Reference Model), finally at my customer we decided to follow the SOA Governance model of SOA Systems Inc (cfr
The main difference between SOA systems and the Open Group is that SOA Systems tries to group SOA governance activities under the umbrella of one unique “governance cycle” while the Open Group distinguishes 4 governed processes:
– Solution Portfolio Management
– Solution Lifecycle
– Service Portfolio Management
– Service Lifecycle
I tend to prefer the decomposition of the Open Group, so I mapped the SOA Systems activities to the 4 types of processes in an Enterprise Architect Model. But this view was not so easy to grasp for beginners so I reverted to a straigth “SOA Systems” approach : one unique central SOA Governance process with swim-lanes.

Presentation of the VEP-IA Modules at the Boekenbeurs 2012

During the “day of the book sector” (“Dag van de boekenvak”), the 3 innovative modules of the VEP (Vlaams eBoek Platfrom) will be explained at the Boekenbeurs 2012.

“Presentatie drie projecten Innovatief Aanbesteden
In het kader van het Innovatief Aanbesteden heeft IWT 3 projecten geselecteerd en gesubsidieerd die interessant zijn voor de boekensector. In deze workshop presenteren we deze drie projecten”


Those modules have been briefly presented earlier this  year by Johan Delauré at the eReading Event in Gent. You can find the slides here :

In this project, my role is to design the integration of the 3 IA modules with the common e-book repository.…

SOA Reference Architectures

For all my customers, I try to map their environment into a SOA Reference architecture. This forces me to understand how their connect with customers, what applications they use, how they integrate them and most importantly what are their business processes.

There are several representations of a SOA architecture that I have worked with. For the moment I  tend to use the representation of the Open Group SOA RA  :


Using Archimate this can be represented like this:

SOA : the optometric Adapter

I was in a meeting earlier today talking about SOA and ESB,:

My customer : Today we integrate our backends with an “optometric” interface

Me : hmm?  Is it a feature of your ESB ?

My customer: “no, it means they do it with their eyes and their hands…”

Image source :