Reinterpreting TOGAF’s Enterprise Architecture Principles Using a Cybernetic Lens

In the literature, there are many definitions of Enterprise Architecture (EA), but most of them have three items in common: elements, relationships and principles. Among these, principles represent an essential element in the definition of EA, and some researchers posit that they are the main element in this definition. However, despite the recent advances in defining enterprise architecture principles (EAPs), this notion is suffering from the lack of a theoretical foundation that provides a logical framework for defining them. Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model (VSM) and its application to IT governance, the Viable Governance Model (VGM), have shown to be comprehensive blueprints for designing viable organizations and IT governance arrangements, respectively. Similarly, in recent realizations of EA, the design of the whole organization, and not just the IT, is brought into consideration. Therefore, this paper aims to establish whether the laws and principles of cybernetics, especially those embodied in the VSM and the VGM, can provide a sound theoretical basis for deriving EA principles. This paper investigates the principles defined in the Open Group’s TOGAF based on the theoretical concepts drawn from the VSM/VGM and cybernetics more broadly. This investigation demonstrates that the principles in TOGAF can be derived from the laws and principles of cybernetics.

The Impact of Enterprise Architecture Principles on the Management of IT Investments

The strategic role of IT and its significance throughout the organization increases complexity, variety, and the need forchange. Hence, IT management must deal with uncertainties derived from different, conflicting, and ever-changingdemands. In this sense, Enterprise Architecture (EA) is playing an increasingly important role in improving ITmanagement practice. If contemporary organizations do not succeed in managing architectural issues, there is a clear risk that considerable resources will be invested without achieving desirable effects. This article investigates how EnterpriseArchitecture Principles impact the management of IT investments in the context of large organizations. The purpose of the article is to provide a deeper insight into the relationship between EA and management of IT investments through theelucidation of two significant types of principles: Delineation (differentiation) principles and Interoperability (integration)principles. Our conclusion is that the choice of architectural principles has a major impact both on alignment betweeninformation systems and business demands, and on the management of IT investments. This impact concerns at least four aspects: the responsibility for IT investments; time to value; long-term alignment; and coordination of investments ininformation systems with changes in business processes.

Enterprise Architecture – Critical to Large Transformation Programs

Business transformation is increasingly a key driver for many organizations in today’s competitive environment where the focus is either on cost reduction by means of improving operational efficiency or on increasing the market share through innovation and other means of growth. Information Technology (IT) is looked upon as one of the key enablers for business innovation and competitive differentiation. As a result, many organizations identify a number of IT initiatives that enable business transformation and alignment of IT to business objectives and drivers. Such initiatives are often undertaken as part of large, multi-year business transformation programs that are aimed at changing and optimizing business processes and enhancing the IT capabilities that enable them. The initial effort and excitement of such changes often propel many transformational projects directly into an execution phase where focus is often on delivery without appropriate investments in program planning and further in planning and definition of the enterprise architecture. Such an approach often results in lack of appropriate guidance for the implementation projects and leads to large pitfalls. Organizations become unclear of what to deliver and how to deliver the change that can provide value to business and provide a return on the investment. Eventually this lack of planning leads to a failure to achieve the transformational objectives. This article highlights the need for enterprise architecture definition in large transformation programs, key considerations for defining the enterprise architecture, key challenges involved, and concludes with the benefits enterprise architecture brings to various stakeholders involved in transformation programs.

Principles in an Enterprise Architecture Context

Key concepts in enterprise architecture include concerns, principles, models, views, and frameworks. While most of these concepts have received ample attention in research, the concept of principles has not been studied much yet. In this article, we therefore specifically focus on the role of principles in the field of enterprise architecture, where we position enterprise architecture as a means to direct enterprise transformations. In practice, many different types of architecture principles are used. At the same time, principles are referred to by different names, including architecture principles, design principles, and IT policies. The primary goal of this article is, therefore, to arrive at a conceptual framework to more clearly clarify and position these different types. The article starts with a discussion on enterprise architecture as a means to govern enterprise transformation. This provides a framework to position the different types of principles, and highlight their roles in enterprise transformations.

A Principles-Based Enterprise Architecture Framework

The increasing importance of Enterprise Architecture is driven by requirements for seamless inter-operation between business, rapidly changing market, and ever-changing information and systems technologies. Enterprise architecture defines the overall design structure of the business and the information and technical infrastructure that supports the business, based on defined principles and models that guide the planning and designing, building and operating the enterprise and its strategic choices. This article highlights the importance of a principles-based enterprise architecture framework as a design imperative for business service groups, information management teams, and application and technology solution groups; as as a foundation for achieving interoperability, integration, and alignment of an organization’s systems (business, information, technology) across an enterprise.