1. Introduction

Information technology has been a priority for the Iranian government in the last four years. The government’s efforts to find out IT challenges and barriers in public sectors and agencies result in a solution in enterprise architecture (EA) area.  Focusing on EA, the EA experts realized that a national EA framework is a workable and ideal solution.

Iran’s National Enterprise Architecture Framework (INEAF) was released in 2016 by Information Technology Organization (ITO) and Service-Oriented Enterprise Architecture (SOEA) laboratory. In this document, we provide a brief report on the EA in Iran and INEAF.


2. Enterprise Architecture

There exists a number of definitions for Enterprise architecture (EA). Here we mention some of them.

  • According to Gartner, “EA is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes.”
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defines architecture as: “An architecture is the fundamental organization of a system embodied in its components, their relationships to each other, and to the environment, and the principles guiding its design and evolution.”
  • The Open Group’s Architectural Framework (TOGAF) provides the following definition for architecture: “Architecture has two meanings depending upon its contextual usage: (1) A formal description of a system, or a detailed plan of the system at component level to guide its implementation; (2) The structure of components, their interrelationships, and the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time.”
  • Marc Lankhorst et al. define EA as “a coherent whole of principles, methods, and models that are used in the design and realization of an enterprise’s organizational structure, business processes, information systems, and infrastructure.”

The purpose of enterprise architecture is to create a map of IT assets and business processes and a set of governance principles that drive an ongoing discussion about business strategy and how it can be expressed through IT. There are many different suggested frameworks to develop an enterprise architecture. Most frameworks contain four basic domains, as follows: (1) business architecture: documentation that outlines the company’s most important business processes; (2) information architecture: identifies where important blocks of information, such as a customer record, are kept and how one typically accesses them; (3) application system architecture: a map of the relationships of software applications to one another; and (4) the infrastructure technology architecture: a blueprint for the gamut of hardware, storage systems, and networks.



3. EA and E-Government

E-government for every country, developed or developing is a necessity to achieve better governance. In many countries, the main reason for e-government failures is a huge gap between the current reality and the design of the e-government system. In EA context, the current reality is identical to current (as-is) state and design of the desired e-government system is the same as future (to-be) state. As EA is a blueprint for defining the current and desired environment as well as the transition plan, adopting EA at a national level can have a great impact on e-government success. In fact, EA is an effective means of transforming and modernizing the government and acts as a catalyst for e-government by improving interoperability, reducing costs, and avoiding duplicated effort.

Surveys on national EA show that most of the developed countries have taken EA plans into consideration. United Nations e-government ranking also shows that there exists a positive correlation between e-government rank and having a national EA framework.


4. History of EA in Iran

The first EA project in Iran was planned and implemented in ministry of agriculture in 1998. In 2003, the government launched the “National Enterprise Architecture Committee” in order to promote EA programs. As a result of the committee’s activities, Iran ranked 9th in 2005 EA activities.

From academic point of view, EA have been receiving attention. Many doctoral and Master’s dissertations were completed and dozens of research papers were published on e-government and EA. In 2004, a special issue on EA was published in national ICT agenda journal. Also in 2008 for the first time, EA was one of the main topics of 12th national Computer Society of Iran (CSI) computer conference. In 2008, Shahid Beheshti University proposed EA master’s degree and since it is offered, more than 50 students have been graduated in this major. The first Service-Oriented Enterprise Architecture (SOEA) Laboratory was formed in 2011 and now has 5 branches.

In 2014, after identifying challenges of EA projects in Iran and also studying best practices of e-government, we realized that a national EA framework is a solution to reach a successful e-government. Ultimately, in 2016 SOEA, in collaboration with Information Technology Organization (ITO), published Iran’s National EA Framework (INEAF).


5. Enterprise Architecture Problems

Although a lot effort went into EA projects but organizations, especially public agencies, have confronted by many challenges. We organized these challenges into three categories: environmental, organizational, and implementation.

The steps should be taken by the government in order to remedy these problems are:

  1. Design a national EA framework
  2. EA training
  3. Design a model for EA maturity assessment
  4. bringing out EA projects’ results
  5. Provide incentives and legal regulations
  6. Capacity building for the private sector, universities, etc.

In this report, the national EA framework is the center of attention.





The national EA framework describes structures, patterns, and standards for both the government and public agencies. The framework has four main sections and provides guidelines for two groups of stakeholders. The framework is designed based on the Iranian government specific needs and features.


INEAF scope includes six architecture subdomains:

  • Strategic planning
  • Business Architecture
  • Data and Information Architecture
  • Application Architecture
  • Infrastructure Architecture
  • Security Architecture

It is worth mentioning that all of the framework’s components such as architecture development method, architecture capability framework, and reference models are designed based on these six architecture subdomains.


6. Iran National Enterprise Architecture Framework (INEAF)

6.1. The National EA framework

Considering a great number of general-purpose and national EA frameworks, we chose FEAF and TOGAF as basis for INEAF.  It is designed according to the government’s special needs and features. It deals with EA at two levels:

  • Government EA: defines the architecture of the government.
  • Agency EA: defines guidelines for developing EA projects in agencies.



Figure 1: Iran’s National EA Framework

As depicted in the picture, the INEAF has four areas:

  • EA framework and methodology
  • National reference models
  • EA deployment and promotion program
  • Sector reference models



6.2. INEAF Ecosystem

To comprehend all of the INEAF stakeholders and their relationship an ecosystem is designed. Four main stakeholder are: Government organizations, EA laboratories, Agencies, EA consultancies.

Government organizations have the power to legislate EA legislations, regulations, and policies. These organizations are responsible for promotion and training of EA in agencies. Agencies plan and implement EA according to framework, methodologies, and reference models established by the government organizations and with the help of EA consultancies. EA plans and artifacts can be assessed either by the agencies itself or by EA laboratories. The EA laboratories assess the public agencies’ EA maturity and report their status to the government. In addition, these laboratories spread the knowledge of EA and provide training courses.

Figure 2: EA ecosystem in Iran



7. Framework and Methodology

Framework and Methodology area defines what EA is and how it is developed. This area consists of four parts:

  • Architecture Development Method (ADM)
  • Architecture Content Framework
  • Architecture Capability Framework
  • Guidelines, techniques, and case studies

7.1. Architecture Development Method

The ADM is adopted from TOGAF ADM and has three phases:

  • Preparation phase
  • Planning phase
  • Implementation phase

Figure 3: Architecture development method

7.2. Architecture Content Framework

The architecture content framework indicates all the artifacts that should be created during different phases of the ADM.

Figure 4: Architecture content framework

7.3. Architecture Capability Framework

Architecture capability framework describes required roles, responsibilities, and skills for setting up EA in public agencies. It also specifies how to interact with external and superior entities.


Figure 5: Architecture capability framework

8. National Reference Models

INEAF supports six interrelated national models, which define government-wide architecture standards and patterns. These reference models are adopted from FEAF and customized according to the government’s features. The relation of the reference models is depicted below.


Figure 6: National reference models


6.1. Performance Reference Model (PRM)

The national PRM focuses on performance measurement and defines metrics needed for management and monitoring of the organization’s inputs, operations, and outputs. It provides a common language for identifying and classifying performance metrics and helps the government in performance assessment process.

6.1.1 Purpose of National PRM

In order to measure performance, many Iranian agencies ignore some important factors such as inputs and processes and only focus on outputs and results. A national PRM provides a common language for selecting, measuring, and monitoring performance metrics. It also helps government evaluate and compare services using these metrics.

6.1.1 PRM Structure

Figure 7 shows the structure of national performance reference model. Using a systematic approach, the national PRM defines metrics for measuring inputs, activities, and outputs.


Figure 7: National PRM structure


6.2. Business service Reference Model (BRM)

The national BRM defines the government services and functions from the stakeholders’ points of view.

6.2.1 Purpose of National BRM

Public agencies provide a plethora of services to the citizens. To have an effective national enterprise architecture plan, the government ought to identify and manage them. Establishing a SRM facilitates service classification for the government.

6.2.2 Structure of National BRM

As shown in the picture below, the national BRM contains of three parts:

  • Public service patterns
  • Services to citizens classification model
  • Internal services classification model



Figure 8: National BRM Public Service Patterns

To make service classification a straightforward task, ten patterns of the government services are identified, which cover government-to-government (G2G), government-to-business (G2B), and government-to-citizens (G2C) services. To determine the type of a service, it should be matched to one of the patterns. The patterns also can be used as a template for service specification. Here are the public service patterns of Iranian government.

  1. Establishing laws, regulations, tariffs, and standards: includes a set of public services that lead to formation and establishment of new laws, regulations, tariffs, and standards. These services are usually provided by legislative agencies.
  • Example: formulation of new law


  1. Validation and qualification assessment: includes services which lead to verification of a legal or natural person and qualification assessment of goods or services.
  • Example: Issuance of passport for refugees


  1. Monitoring, auditing, and conducting trials: matches the public services that monitor compliance with laws, policies, or standards through monitoring, auditing, and conducting trails.
  • Example: Handling customer complaints


  1. Enforcing the law: includes services designed for carrying out criminal’s sentences and imposing fines.
  • Example: Imposing driving fines and penalties


  1. Registering public records: consists of a set of services that enables the applicant to submit information or records in person or by electronic means.
  • Example: Keeping birth, marriage, and death records


  1. Publishing information, statistics, and records: includes services that generate reports, produce statistics, and provide analysis based on collected information. Services in this category may also provide searchable online databases.
  • Example: Publishing census data


  1. Providing funds and benefits: This pattern matches the services that provide grants, funds, or loans to a legal or natural person.
  • Example: Granting mortgage loans


  1. Training and cultivating culture: This pattern includes a set of services that provide training and education for citizens. Public services in this category are considered as a complementary for services in other categories.
  • Example: Holding academic conferences and symposiums


  1. Infrastructure investment, development, and maintenance: This pattern consists of a set of services that lead to development and maintenance of urban, road, communication, etc. infrastructures.
  • Example: Road maintenance


  1. Service operator: This pattern includes services that directly provide services to citizens.
  • Example: Providing vehicle insurance (Insurance services) Services to Citizens Classification

The second part of the business service reference model concentrates on services offered to citizens. Service clusters classify public service into fourteen categories. Service domain categorizes the services according to their themes, stakeholders, and environment. Services that are grouped according to their stakeholders form a service group.

Figure 9: Services to citizens classification Internal Services Classification

The structure of internal services classification model is shown below. In this classification model, each business area is a part of the enterprise value chain.


Figure 10: Internal services classification


6.2.3 BRM in practice

More than 2000 public services provided by 95 public Iranian agencies are classified using the introduced patterns. This classification is done based on service catalogs with the help of experts. Figure 11 illustrates that 22% of government services are included in environment, agriculture, and natural resources and only 1% of them belong to security and disaster management category.


Figure 11: Government services in each front office service category


Figure 12 provides information about the number of services (in percentage) that matches each pattern. It shows that almost a half of public services fall into validation and qualification assessment category while the government provides nearly no services relating to law enforcement.

Figure 12: Government services in each pattern



6.3. Data Reference Model (DRM)

The DRM provides a taxonomy of government data and information and enables inter- and intra-agency data sharing. Iran’s e-government interoperability framework is a supplement to the national DRM as it defines data format, standards, and protocols.

It is worth mentioning Iranian Government Interoperability Framework (IGIF) covers some important parts of the national DRM. Iran data catalog provides a list of data entities in public agencies.  The national DRM is going to be completed.



6.4. Application Reference Model (ARM)

ARM models the public (mission-independent) services defined and classified in the SRM. It also identifies and categorizes public (mission-independent) applications and systems used in the government. This facilitates identifying the current state of information systems and planning for the future. In addition, the ARM provides high-level software design guidelines.

6.4.1 Purpose of National ARM

Over a decade of Enterprise Architecture lifetime in Iran, despite the vast achievements in this field, one of the major problems is lack of the national ARM, in the country. This resulted in challenges and obstacles to the maximum achievement of architectural designs and, more importantly, not symmetrical and integrated development of e-government in government agencies.

The following are the most remarkable reasons for proposing the ARM of Iran:

  1. Reducing the cost of purchasing/renewal of software licenses at any government agency
  2. Establishing an approach for systematically finding suitable software solutions for business needs of the government agencies
  3. Providing a reference to unify the views of each government agency to software solutions
  4. Creating a platform for balanced and consistent development of software systems in government agencies
  5. Providing a platform for evaluating the progress of e-government plans and maturity of enterprise architectures in government agencies (just in the application layer)
  6. Better management of software portfolios with a global view to the entire government and agencies for increasing collaboration throughout the government
  7. Supporting current plans for IT investments
  8. Assisting government agencies to eliminate spoof and replications, enhance sharing services and decline performance gaps


6.4.2 Structure of National ARM

National ARM consist of three levels: Systems, Application Components, and Interfaces.

  • Systems are discrete sets of information technology, data, and related resources, organized for the collection, processing, maintenance, use, sharing, dissemination or disposition of information in support of a specific business process. The ARM “Systems” category does not include mission-specific systems. In other words, it is restricted to the public (mission-independent) sections of agencies.
  • Application Components are self-contained software that can be aggregated or configured to support, or contribute to achieving, many different business objectives. For example, workflow management, document management, records management and many other types of components can support multiple IT systems and business processes.
  • Interfaces are protocols used to transfer information from system to system.

An overall schema of the first level of ARM, the software systems, is presented in Figure 13. This schema has four main layers. At the highest layer, a dedicated system for strategic planning is located. Based on the internal and external analysis of the organization, this system addresses the strategic components of the organization, including the vision, mission, strategies, goals, and so on. The results of this planning, as one of the main inputs, are presented to almost all the other systems of ARM to provide the basis for operational planning in each of these systems.

The second layer includes the product management system. Since the main mission of government agencies is to provide products (including goods, services and licenses) to citizens, businesses, and other government organizations, this layer is considered the most important layer after the highest level. The systems in this layer deals with areas related to the management of products provided to organization's customers (including the identification and planning of products to be provided, development, deployment and promotion of these products, and finally, customer relationship management).

The third layer deals with other public systems that act as back-office systems. This layer consists of 9 system groups, each of which in turn consists of several systems. Each system is also contains several modules.

Finally, there is the “Basic Information System” which is responsible for recording common data and information used by other systems.



Figure 13: National ARM



6.5. Technology Reference Model (TRM)

The TRM provides a classification of technologies, IT standards, and IT tools. Moreover, it gives agencies a set of guidelines about using technology.

6.5.1 Purpose of National TRM

In order to find proper technologies, agencies review all available technologies and standards. This effort for technology selection is a time-consuming and quite costly process and is done in each agencies from scratch. By defining a TRM we can provide a general reference on technologies and standards which facilitates technology exploration and collaboration between agencies.

6.5.2 Structure of National TRM

The national TRM has a three-layer hierarchical structure:

  • Technology area
  • Technology category
  • Standard

Figure 14: National TRM structure


6.6. Security Reference Model (SRM)

The SRM provides a framework for classifying security risks and vulnerability. The SRM is the only reference model linked to all other reference models.

6.6.1 Purpose of National SRM

According to surveys conducted in Iranian agencies, security is designed and implemented using a reactive approach. Therefore, there will be a number of individual complex technical solution developed based on personal experience. In addition, the agencies do not consider huge cost of applying security strategies.

To resolve the mentioned problems, the national SRM is developed which helps agencies defining a security architecture based on agency activities.

6.6.2 Structure of National SRM

Four main areas of the national SRM are:

  • Data
  • Software
  • Infrastructure
  • People

Supportive layers:

  • Requirements
  • Principles, strategies, and policies
  • Security analysis
  • Risk management


Figure 15: The national SRM structure


7. Deployment and Promotion Program

Deployment and promotion program mainly focuses on EA infrastructure and EA rules and legislations.  It has four main components:

7.1. Enterprise Architecture Regulations

 EA regulations are introduced by the government. EA plans and development process have to comply with these regulations. Therefore, the possibility of producing inconsistent and not interoperable outcomes will be eliminated.

7.2. Enterprise Architecture Assessment

Iran’s National Enterprise Architecture Maturity Assessment Framework (INEAMAF) is designed to assess EA plans. This maturity model has six levels:

  • 0: None
  • 1: Prepared
  • 2: Under development
  • 3: Defined
  • 4: Managed
  • 5: Optimized

Every organization can find its maturity level by examining EA maturity dimensions including:

  • EA planning and targeting,
  • EA team leadership,
  • Framework and tools,
  • EA artifacts and deliverables,
  • Implementation roadmap,
  • Business-IT alignment,
  • Communication and training,
  • Participation and support.

7.3. Capability Building

 Capability building focuses on EA empowerment, promotion, and training.

7.4. INEAF Maintenance

As change is investable, INEAF is continuously updated in order to satisfy new government’s needs.



8. Sector Reference Model

Sector reference models contain off-the-shelf EA patterns and standards for an industry or a business area. Development of these models is assigned to the industries. Examples of the sector reference model are:

  • Banking reference model
  • Energy reference model
  • Healthcare reference model
  • Telecommunications reference model
  • Transportation reference model
  • Municipal reference model


Published Papers

Shams Aliee F., Bagheriasl R., Mahjoorian A., Mobasheri M., Hoseini F. and Golpayegani D. (2017). Towards a National Enterprise Architecture Framework in Iran. In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems - Volume 3: ICEIS, ISBN 978-989-758-249-3, pages 448-453. DOI: 10.5220/0006371304480453


To find out more information about the INEAF please visit our website: https://IEAF.ir/en


If you have any questions or comments, you can send us an email: info@ieaf.ir