Enterprise Architecture

VPEC-T meets Enterprise Architecture

VPEC-T is a Systems Thinking framework with 5 dimensions (Values, Policy, Events, Content and Trust). How can it be best applied to Enterprise Architecture?

VPEC-T is a Systems Thinking framework with 5 dimensions (Values, Policy, Events, Content and Trust).  VPEC-T is useful in the context of Enterprise Architecture, particularly in terms of exploring the full breadth of the Information System and their related concerns.

VPEC-T and Enterprise Architecture Mindmap


VPEC-T Enterprise Architecture Mind Map (click to enlarge)

Architectural Frameworks such as TOGAF will be very familiar to Enterprise Architects, VPEC-T perhaps less so. How then does VPEC-T’s dimensions knit together with familiar and traditional architectural concepts such as TOGAF’s domains?

A high-level view is given in the VPEC-T Enterprise Architecture MindMap above.

The PEC Dimensions of VPEC-T

As outlined in the ‘must read’ book Lost In Translation the PEC dimensions of Policy, Events and Content have a close mapping against Enterprise Architecture concerns such as Governance, Business Architecture, Information Architecture, Application Architecture, Technical Architecture, Security Architecture, and Integration Architecture.

Lost in Translation – the origins of VPEC-T

Lost In Translation – a handbook for information systems in the 21st century

The mappings below are intentionally high-level and therefore non-exhaustive. The purpose is to highlight the mapping between VPEC-T and high level architectural concepts.

The Policy Dimension of VPEC-T maps naturally to:

  • Governance
  • Information Architecture in terms of Data Retention policies, Information Handling Models etc.
  • Security Architecture in terms of security policy and legislation, Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability requirements and business continuity
  • Business Architecture in terms or organisational design and roles and responsibilities.

Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture

The Events Dimension of VPEC-T Maps Naturally To:

  • Integration Architecture (SOA, REST etc.)
  • Event Driven Architecture
  • Information Architecture (Real-time analytics, Complex Event Processing, Pattern Based Strategy, Predictive Analytics, Big Data Analytics)
  • Security Architecture – Protective Monitoring, SIEM, Fraud Detection, Alerts
  • Strategy in terms of external events and reaction to market forces.

The Content Dimension Maps Naturally To:

  • Patterns, Anti-Patterns, Reference Architecture and Principles
  • EA Artefacts (Models, Meta-Models, Semantics)
  • Information Architecture (Canonical, Logical, Physical Data Models, Data Flows, Formats, Transformation, Taxonomies, Data Dictionaries)
  • Technical Architecture concerns such as storage, scalability, sizing, availability, device independence, mobile access, consumerisation
  • Strategy – reporting strategy, KPIs, tolerances

Mind Maps for Business: Using the Ultimate Thinking Tool to Revolutionise How You Work

The V & T Dimensions

The Values and Trust dimensions are equally useful.

The Values Dimension Maps Naturally To:

  • Values Analysis (Value Stream Analysis, Value Network Analysis etc.)
  • Strategy (Ethics, Sustainability, Corporate Responsbility)
  • Governance
  • Target Operating Model (how do we want to do business and what do we stand for)
  • Business Architecture – organisational design, corporate values and behaviours and how this affects the People and Process dimensions of the Information System.

The Trust Dimension Maps Naturally To:

  • Security Architecture (Trust Domains, Identity Management, Registration, Enrolment, Authentication, Authorisation, Non-repudiation, digital signatures)
  • Business Architecture (optimising organisational design, Social Network Analysis, Human Factors, Transformation and Change)
  • Technical Architecture (Delivering Security Enforcing Functions in the infrastructure and application designs)
  • Risk Management
  • Data Architecture (data quality, provenance etc.)
  • Stakeholder and Communications Management

Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution

The Beauty of VPEC-T

VPEC-T has many virtues. I think some of the most important are:

  1. It maps naturally to Enterprise Architecture concepts (as described above)
  2. It is simple to tailor for small / large problem domains
  3. Problem solving is easily geared towards a particular dimension. This is a useful for gaining new perspective on old problems, or tackling system weaknesses
  4. It focuses thinking on ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ aspects of problems. This ensures holistic Information Systems thinking, not just Information Technology ‘solutioning’
  5. It is intuitive and has a shallow learning curve.


Thanks to Nigel Green (VPEC-T co-creator) for providing comments on an early draft of the MindMap.

Some other resources for further study:

Further Reading on Systems Thinking

By Steve Nimmons

Steve is a Certified European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of Arts, Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is an Electric Circle Patron of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a Liveryman and Freeman of London and serves on numerous industry panels. He is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

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