Enterprise Architecture beyond the Enterprise – Extended Enterprise Architecture Revisited
As the most enterprises are relying on relations to other enterprises, it is relevant to consider enterprise architecture for inter-organisational relations particularly those relations involving technology. This has been conceptualised as Extended Enterprise Architecture, and a systematic review of this discipline is the topic of this paper. This paper is taking a point of departure in general theories of business-to-business relationships along with inter-organisational information systems, interoperability and business ecosystems. The general theories are applied to the Extended Enterprise Architecture to emphasize paradoxes, problems and potentials in extending EA across organisational boundaries. The purpose of this paper is to review the concept of Extended Enterprise Architecture (EEA) theoretically and empirically to identify viability of Enterprise Architecture (EA) initiatives spanning across organisational boundaries. A case is presented of an enterprise engaging in technology-based business process integration that in turn is explicated as enterprise architecture initiatives with both more and less powerful partners. This paper underlines the necessity to be able to have EA spanning initiatives across multiple enterprises, but a range of problems is illuminated related to (lack of) precision, imbalance, heterogeneity, transformation, temporality, and (operational) maturity. The concept of EEA is seemingly vague, however this paper calls for a strengthen emphasis on redefining general architectural frameworks to embrace EEA in order to handle typical and modern forms of organisational designs relying on virtual and cross-company as cornerstones.