The Complex Adaptive Architecture Method

This article proposes a Complex Adaptive Architecture (CAA) method to architect an organic enterprise. It presents a complicated concept in a simple 3×3 matrix bonded by three architecture theories and a three-tiered architecture approach. CAA recognizes that SOA and Cloud Computing is a horizontal architecture practice which cannot be accomplished with the traditional top-down approach. The horizontal architecture consists of the discipline of learning from the experience of others, the discipline of engineering of re-use and consolidation, and the discipline to facilitate buy-in from stakeholders. CAA also discovers that the business community is making decisions based on influence relation rather than structural relation. Coherence Architecture theory is based on enterprise influence modeling and coherence modeling for the purpose of supporting enterprise strategic planning and decision-making. The Coherence Architecture consists of the discipline of influence modeling and the discipline of analogical reasoning. CAA embraces continuous change with a three-tiered architecture approach. The initial tier is the Notional Architecture which serves much like a master plan in city planning. The second tier is the Segment Architecture to close the business performance gaps due to change. The third tier is the daily Enterprise Architecture (EA) to enable an agile solution architecture.

The Successful Enterprise Architecture Effort

In this article the conditions for a successful Enterprise Architecture (EA) effort within an enterprise are discussed. EA as a discipline has so far had a turbulent existence, with many EA efforts failing. This has earned EA as a whole a tarnished reputation in some public and private enterprises. In the article it is established that one reason for failed EA efforts could be that in parts of EA theory there is still is a very mechanistically focused mind-set. This was found on the basis of a theoretical study, analyzing three leading EA frameworks: TOGAF, Bernard’s EA3, and Ross, Weill, and Robertson’s Enterprise Architecture as Strategy. The article is also based on an empirical study consisting of four case studies in Danish enterprises. Consequently it was found that there is a need for the EA discipline to change its mechanistic focus towards a more organic one to be able to succeed in the future. Based on these studies it was recognized that EA governance could be the remedy to ensure a more successful practice of EA in the future. Following this is a guide to EA governance inspired by the Agile Governance Model and the empirical findings were formulated as the means to achieve a successful EA effort.