Blog post

John Zachman is Dead, Long Live John Zachman

By Philip Allega | September 01, 2010 | 12 Comments

Enterprise ArchitectJohn Zachman

Typically, the world of EA is boring.  All bets are off as John Zachman goes to court and questions are raised about the near term and long term effects to the commercialization of EA Frameworks and the EA certification marketplace.  It’s still early days, but challenges from the “father of EA” require consideration.

Before I share some of the long-winded background analysis, let me get right to the point:

At first glance, it appears that John A Zachman is closing up shop and about to retire, having severed his business partnerships, and appearances are that his son, John P Zachman, will take over the IP trademarks and, as alleged by a former business partner Stan Locke, seek to place the Zachman IP within a COTS package.

A second, and more penetrating glance, into the actual lawsuit itself reveals alleged deceptive practices by the defendant, Stan Locke, and claims of serious and reprehensible actions that are alleged to damage the brand of Zachman.

The capitulation by the defendant in a surprising lawsuit, Stan Locke, will not resolve the concerns or Zachman brand ownership concerns as the damage has already occurred.  This, in turn, raises questions about how the Zachman brand will  regain control after relinquishing that control for so long.

First off, John Zachman, and the Zachman brand, is not yet dead.  The phrase used in the title of this blog is legendary for its indication of the passing of hereditary rights from one generation to the next, mostly in the case of royalty.  Part of its inspiration is based upon allegations from Stan Locke and part of it is based upon the potential ressurection of the Zachman brand.  I am using this both to entice readership and explain the appearances of what’s happening at this time.


  • At this moment, it appears that NO ONE, until the data is transferred into the hands of the trademark owners, is Zachman CertifiedTM anymore
  • John A Zachman has fully separated himself from his business partnerships
  • Stan Locke is going  out of business and plans to retire with immediate effect, accepting a judgement in absentia
  • John Zachman is the sole owner of US trademarks to “Zachman” and “Zachman International”
  • There are some severely nasty allegations within the lawsuit filed in the California District Court


  • Framework vendors and commercial certification authorities may be in the early days of economic commoditization
  • Nothing, at this point in time, stands in the way of the unravelling of any business partnership or consortium
  • This further weakens the perceived value of marketplace certification in EA Frameworks
  • All “certified” enterprise architects, or those seeking certification, should take a close look at the foundations of their certifying authority

This is noise and distraction, as Gartner pointed out in Gartner’s Enterprise Architecture Hype Cycle, 2010 (note: link for Gartner clients only), noting that we find that clients leverage multiple frameworks for inspiration – not as a rigid process.  But, as shown in our hype cycle, those engaged in EA have been quite enamored with the hype around EA certification and EA Frameworks for some time.  The dangers from the allure of hype become all too clear as we all watch the results of this event unfold.

As everyone can see, the battle over EA frameworks is predicted to take more than 10 years to sort out, much of it due to the commercialization of that particular aspect of the overall marketplace.  Given this analysis, it’s important to remember:

  • Keep a pragmatic focus on your EA efforts and don’t get distracted by the rumblings, and posturings, of one framework proponent versus another
  • Realize that any particular EA framework should provide a consistent organizing structure for enterprise architectural concepts and should not simply be followed as a rigid process or set of rules.
  • Choose source frameworks quickly, recognizing which one is primary as an input to the development and categorization of your EA artifact and your EA program.
  • Modify and enhance the framework, as required, to support your EA program.
  • Do not attempt to follow a single framework rigidly. Its job is to provide a consistent organizing structure for enterprise architectural concepts, and it should be used pragmatically.


A vendor in the industry shared the link from Zachman International that exposes the dirty laundry (as it appears written by Stan Locke or his representatives) concerning a suit filed in the California Central District Court, “John Zachman et al v. Stan Locke et al” on 13 August 2010, Case number 2:2010cv06045.  During the 3rd day of a class in Toronto (the first two of which, according to the vendor Intervista, were hosted by John Zachman), Stan Locke (CEO of Metadata Systems Software dba Zachman Framework Associates in Canada) was served with the papers for this lawsuit.  Stan Locke, or one of the et al who ran the Zachman International website, appears to have put up their side of the story (warts and all) in lieu of the landing page for the Zachman International website.

On the replacement page, Stan has indicated that he is capitulating, will not challenge the suit, will close his company and retire.

A colleague  sent me a note suggesting that the Zachman Internationl web site looked like it had been hijacked.  That reminded me that such landing pages are NOT all that’s left of the original web site.  This is, as I will share later, a direct violation of the lawsuit filed.  A little hunting found a few interesting tidbits on the back pages of Zachman International.  In particular, there was a look back at the dissolution of the relationship between John Zachman and Sam Holcman from 2 years earlier:

What happened to ZIFA?

ZIFA (The Zachman Institute for Framework Advancement) was an informal collaboration between John Zachman of Zachman International, and Sam Holcman of Pinnacle Business Group. It was initially intended to be a vehicle for research on The Zachman Framework™, however no Framework research was ever conducted under ZIFA.

An annual conference, the ZIFA Forum, was held from 1996 thru 2004 and Enterprise Architecture Seminars have been conducted under the ZIFA name until the present with one and a half days of Framework Concepts by John Zachman and one and a half days of Sam Holcman’s Enterprise Architecture Planning Methodology.

All Framework research has been conducted under the auspices of Zachman International and Sam Holcman has created a new venture, the EA Center of Excellence (EACOE) which presumably is intended to market and train in the Holcman planning methodology. John A. Zachman was neither consulted about nor invited to participate in the EACOE and therefore, that new venture is completely independent of and disassociated with John A. Zachman and The Zachman Framework™. There is no continuing purpose for theZachman Institute for Framework Advancement (ZIFA). Mr. Holcman has recommended and Mr. Zachman has agreed to dissolve ZIFA, year end 2008.

This led me to the offer page for ZIFA members to become Zachman CertifiedTM: and this press release:

The Importance of this to those that are Zachman CertifiedTM

The reason I bolded Zachman CertifiedTMis because both Zachman and Zachman International are US trademarks whose provenance is directly linked to John Zachman (note: no distinguishing middle initial) as per the US PTO (use insert Zachman with all the defaults to see the provenance and extent of the trademark applicability).

This is only important if you are one of those people who are Zachman CertifiedTM, because there’s another little announcement on that says:

We are excited to announce that the Zachman Certified™ program is taking a brief hiatus in the US. While this may not be particularly exciting news to you, we are excited about some very new developments around The Zachman Framework™ and Enterprise Architecture.We were unsure about the effects of taking the program off-line, however the changes are too important and so exciting that John has decided that he wants to integrate these new concepts into the curriculum and then re-launch the program in a few months around the world.

Thank you in advance for understanding and to all those who support us. We will be making an announcement very soon!

ZACHMAN INTERNATIONAL® is the ONLY authorized source for Zachman Certified™ education.

This last line is somewhat important as well, as it indicates the authoritative source to be the same Zachman International who is, indeed, John A Zachman.

So, what about all those who were certified?  Tough luck for now.  John suspended the US certification program according to Stan Locke (CEO of Metadata Systems Software dba Zachman Framework Associates in Canada):

John’s sent a completely unexpected letter December 31, 2009 informing me that his US Zachman business was to be separated immediately from my Zachman Framework Associates because of his falling revenues, so that he and John Jr could increase the Zachman brand presence and revenues and work on a succession plan

Oh, and to make matters worse, John Zachman alleges in the lawsuit that they do not have access to the information concerning clients on the various web sites ran by Stan Locke.



Wow!  Talk about some reviling allegations of deceptive business practices!  My first take was that the Zachman empire was crumbling.  My second take was that the Zachman brand is using force to take back what’s rightfully belongs to them.  I am not a lawyer, so my layman’s interpretation of many of the allegations in the lawsuit are a bit raw, including:

  • Data held captive from their rightful owner!
  • Emails spoofed, pretending to be John Zachman
  • Lies to easydns, the domain name controller, again pretending to be John Zachman
  • Wrestling over the John Zachman ebook on EA
  • Misrepresentation of economic activity related to the Zachman brand
  • Wrongful control or misrepresentation of ownership over Zachman branded items
  • Deceiving use of data related to the Zachman brand

Not only may it be true that the defendant wasn’t playing nice, but there are revealing, and IMHO stupid, revelation of “gentlemen agreements” that mark this business relationship.  Lots of incredible allegations are revealed in the lawsuit reaching back 10 years and including concerns over e-book sales and lost revenues and revenues not reported.

One of the allegations that in the law suit that wasn’t as explicit as you can see yourself concerned a web site quote, claimed in the law suit as taken out of context, that said:


This was another point of contention in the suit: this web site was not approved and was making money from the Zachman brand.  The quote, quite simply put, floored me.

I couldn’t decide whether I was amazed that John A Zachman could have ever approved such a thing or that anyone could have such bravado to share such a comment, in context or not.   I wondered if John was having a change of heart at nearly 77 years old or whether Stan’s long-lived devotion and exploration of Clive Finkelstein’s Information Engineering, IBM’s BSP (Business Systems Planning) extensions into John A Zachman’s development of EA, and his subsequent support, has changed his outlook.  I don’t have any insight here, because I haven’t interviewed either of them at this point, but it seems that there’s a great degree of frusration and a lot of not-so-smart tactics on both parts.  I am not, to be clear, an advocate of anybody’s behavior in this conflict.

Again, I’m not a lawyer, but my interpretation of the entire law suit is that it’s incredible that the owner of one particular brand allowed someone outside their direct control to have full control over how their brand was conveyed to others.

Since I am not a lawyer and do not know have the foundation to comment further, or analyze, or expose, the details of the allegations within the suit.  I suggest that, should you wish to delve further, undergo the registration process at PACER to download the case documents.  A starting point will be found here:

The one quote from Stan Locke’s posting on the main pages of the various web pages noted in the law suit that sticks with me is:

I will need to sell off the assets of Metadata, absorb the business losses and retire…Not defending this suit, means that John A Zachman will be able to proceed with a default lawsuit against us and be able to bar me from entrance to the United States and with the ability to have me arrested and jailed for not paying the judgment.

Personally, I’d be seeking legal counsel instead of capitulating.  But, this isn’t my concern and I am not a lawyer.


All of this leaves some yet-to-be-explored-questions:

  1. John A Zachman and Stan Locke were in a course in Toronto 16-17 Aug and 18-19 August, with John doing the 1st 2 days and Stan the last 2 days (I verified this on the phone with Intervista),  did they see each other before Stan was served with the lawsuit?
  2. Is John still teaching the IRM UK course in Octoberthat was advertised on the Zachman International Site?
  3. Will John P Zachman, the son of John A Zachman, take over the trademarks for Zachman and Zachman International?
  4. Will the previously created IP continue to be licensed for use by others?
  5. Will a new training course and certification scheme be forthcoming, but this time by John P Zachman?
  6. When will John A Zachman, the recognized “father” of EA, officially retire?
  7. Which COTS package is it that former business partner Stan Locke alleges will be taking on the new mantle of all things Zachman?
  8. Will the Zachman brand regain control of the data held on the web domains managed by Stan Locke et al and make thing right in the world again, as stipulated in the law suit?

I expect that much of the evidence, and associated offending web domain content, will shortly disappear.  Much of this may be swept under the rug quickly, leaving stranded and dazed those who had become Zachman Certified and the wonderment of all as to what the Zachman brand will do next.  In the meantime, it’s sad to watch this play out but, like a wreck on the side of the road, it’s difficult not to take a look as you pass by it.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Comments are closed


  • Deb Weiss says:

    WOW this is like a Mills and Boon novel

  • Allen Brown says:

    This is very sad. I have a lot of respect for John and I sincerely hope that this turn of events does nothing to harm the position of the Zachman Framework or the legacy he leaves behind when he retires.

    The individuals who have, in the past, achieved certification are among the most ardent evangelists and loyal supporters. Regardless of the continued validity of their certification, it should take nothing away from what they too have achieved.

  • Allen – well said.

    Philip – thanks for the commentary and the links. Are you a lawyer, by the way? Just kidding.

    I would like to add that I have a lot of respect for both of these gentlemen, and it is sad to see it come to this point. John has established a legacy, and I don’t think this will tarnish that legacy. What happens from here on out with the apparent complete commercialization of the brand and the framework could be another story.

    Stay tuned all.

  • The TITLE of your blog is MISLEADING.

    IMHO, you should replace the title of this blog to avoid further confusion in the industry.

    I had several calls enquiring about zachman’s well being as well condolence emails as if John Zachman is not anymore.

    Thanks God, he is doing great. ..he is ALIVE and DOING GREAT. May god bestow John ZAchman with great health and happiness.

    Philip Allega ! you will agree that there are better ways to increase the readership of blogs than creating SENSATIONAL headline. 😉

    Thanks & Regards
    Sunil Dutt Jha

    a friend and well wisher

  • Philip Allega says:


    The title is a well worn English idiom. I was clear in my post that neither John A or John P are actually dead. However, the brand is in danger.

    As many publishers will tell you, a sensational headline draws readership to otherwise mundane topics. Am I guilty of this? I leave that to you and others to decide. Although this topic may not be worthy of formal research I conduct as an Analyst, it does warrant continued interest by those concerned with the Zachman brand and legacy.

    I have spent a lot of time with John A and am pleased that he is, indeed, alive and well. I am personally worried about the issues with his brand and the ramification of choices made over the years that, at this time, appear damaging to the brand and legacy. I have been involved in EA the past 20 years because of my encounter with John A Zachman in 1990. Continued observation of this topic is of great interest to all of us in the world of EA.

    Your friendship is always welcome Sunil, but I am glad that this important issue did attract your attention. Your advice is most welcome.


  • Manoj Shrivastava says:


    Such titles coming from a Gartner Analyst is shocking. I thought Gartner analysts are always sensitive and would not go any length to garner readership.

    I as one of your reader do not subscribe to these gimmicks at least. Whether you apologize to your readers and John or not is your call.

    Manoj Shrivastava

  • Neil Kemp says:

    It is interesting to note that intervista, who are not a party to the suite continue to advertise EA courses features Locke and Zachman… Is intervista in breach of the Zachman copyright

  • Ric Phillips says:

    With regards to the article (not the personal issues) I find the idea that people who are certified are suddenly no longer so to be hilarious.

    Talk about the reification of knowledge! Not too mention the absurd level to which our culture (which depends in the end on the promiscuous generation and dissemination of knowledge) has tollerated the scope-creep of intellectual property.

    But then I live in a world where some people out there have decided they own bits of my genome. So I guess we should take it seriously.

    In the meantime I will keep working on my secret project: the ‘Phillips Enthusiasm Wave’.

    …. The EA formerly certified by Zachman (TM).

  • Philip Allega says:

    The phrase is an English idiom that relates to the passing of royalty. The brand of John Zachman is in serious danger. I explain both of these,as well as make it clear the person of John Zachman is not personally dead, within the blog.

    This blog helped raise awareness of the serious challenge to the brand of Zachman. I am sorry if you felt offended in any way. Please be aware of Gartner, Inc.’s relation to the work of me, the author:

    Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an “as-is” basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.

  • Philip Allega says:

    During my phone call with Intervista, I was told that John had spoken during days 1 and 2. I was also contacted by a member of the class who shared that Stan had a lot of opinions about the relationship that illustrated a rather broken one. It’s all a shame and I, personally, am hopeful for a quick resolution.

  • Philip Allega says:

    Thanks, Ric, for your comments. Good luck on your secret project.


  • Prakash C Rao says:

    Good collection of the various parts of the soap opera that seem to be enlivening John Zachman’s later years. My respect for John remains high and my personal association with him over the last 15 years or so has been reinforcing my opinion of him as a gentleman, a wise man and a very humble one. When he said, “I don’t do real work, they do” and pointed to all of us who were facilitators at the ZIFA Forums in Scottsdale AZ with the credentials that come from implementation and taking ideas to fruition, he was humbling himself as a thinker who allowed others to do.

    John has never pretended to be a businessman. He has been giving freely of his knowledge and thinking – at conferences – at lunches and at informal get-togethers. The fact is that he had something valuable to provide and others have made a business of selling that something.

    Maybe the REAL problem is that progress in a evolving field (that is empirical in knowledge) is hobbled unduly and untimely by IP restrictions. All of us who contributed freely to the evolution of EA in the 90s, sharing what worked and what did not, with no expectation of reward, other than to advance the state of practice and a passionate belief that EA was the missing ingredient in enterprise management and strategic use of information have all contributed in some miniscule way to the creation of this IP that a few people want to hijack for their own benefit.

    It reminds me of some US companies trying to patent traditional herbal medicinal recipes that have been used for centuries in Indian Ayurvedic medicine as a new invention for which they want IP rights or the patenting of a fragrant rice now grown in Texas, that has been grown for centuried in Northern India. Or the discovery of the New World.. by Europeans .. when there were already people living here who had previously “discovered” it.

    The Zachman Framework is a conceptual tool, not a prescription, or a methodology or a process. The 10 years of ZIFA and the 15 years of EA have served to expose many ways to implement the framework for many specific situations and contexts. To lay claim to all of these as stemming from the Zachman Framework is a little disingenous. To take the collective body of knowledge in an industry and codify it in a certain way and them laying claim to its IP is also a little disingenous without flowing part of the IP to all the hundreds of practitioners who helped create that body of knowledge.

    In my humble opinion, the EA state of practice is such a hodge podge of collections of slides from many unacknowledged presentations, white papers, body of written materials, that distilling IP rights as belonging to any one individual, or company or organization is difficult.