Use of PERA to Present Product Information

Another indication of the usefulness of the PERA Architecture Model is that it provides a framework for presenting and analyzing product information. As a GERAM, PERA is intended to address Physical Facilities, Organization, and Control and Information Systems for all industries during all enterprise phases. Therefore, it should provide a framework for clearly defining the Control and Information System elements (both hardware and software).

Typically, hardware products are most closely related to the physical plant part of the PERA Architectural Model, while software products are more closely related to the Human and Organizational part. However, even the distinction between hardware and software is not absolute, since most hardware has associated firmware, and often software requires a specific hardware environment. There are also products such as Distributed Control Systems or Programmable Logic Controllers which encompass both hardware and software inextricably bound into a single product.

  1. Products may be related to the group who use it, as shown on the Organization Chart (for each Enterprise Phase). Software products are then further categorized by the "Work Process" or "Function" carried out by the group using the Software.

  2. Products may also be related to the Enterprise Physical Architecture Diagram (for each Enterprise Phase) for example to the physical area in the plant or other enterprise where the hardware is to be applied. Hardware products are then further divided by "Level" in the Physical Enterprise Architecture. This is necessary since different products and evaluation criteria apply for different "environments". For example, a different product would be required for a critical analysis in a hazardous environment, than for the same service in a laboratory.

Organization of software products by user group, and hardware products according to the physical architecture results from the PERA Model Structure. Although shown for simplicity as 3 parallel columns, PERA defines interfaces between Control and Information Systems, the Human and Organizational, and Physical Plant column as follows.

It can be argued that it would be better to relate software products to Work Process or Value Chain Diagrams rather than the Organization Chart, however this is not how products are in reality procured and supported. Financial and Human Resources are provided through the Organization Chart not through Work Processes or Value Chains which span multiple organizational groups (if the work process or value chain does not span multiple organizational groups, there is no difference). Therefore, applying the second rule of project management (Don't cut it where it is thickest), the correct place to establish software interfaces is with Organizational Chart entities.

by Gary Rathwell reserved

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