A considerable number of organizations continually face difficulties bringing strategy to execution, and suffer from a lack of structure and transparency in corporate strategic management. Yet, enterprise architecture as a fundamental exercise to achieve a structured description of the enterprise and its relationships appears far from being adopted in the strategic management arena. To move the adoption process along, this paper develops a comprehensive business architecture framework that assimilates and extends prior research and applies the framework to selected scenarios in corporate strategic management.
Many, if not most, US Federal Departments and agencies continue to spend millions of dollars annually on Enterprise Architecture (EA). Few government organizations extract anything of value from their EAs. For a large government agency, the authors matured the EA program with an integrated repository that supports executive decision-makers with actionable, fact-based enterprise viewpoints. The integrated repository and best practice EA methods are being successfully applied to Information Technology (IT) lifecycle governance, portfolio management, strategic planning, and complex multi-program analyses.
There is a substantial interest and investment in enterprise architecture worldwide, exemplified by the number of enterprise architecture-related professional bodies, consulting services, frameworks, methodologies, and the increasing prevalence of full-time enterprise architecture teams. It may seem surprising in this context, therefore, that the value of enterprise architecture is still poorly understood. Organizations cite difficulties in justifying their enterprise architecture investments and anecdotal evidence suggests that the existence and funding of the enterprise architecture function is often based more on the beliefs of the incumbent management team than on demonstrated value. Although there is no shortage of enterprise architecture benefit claims, explanations of why and how enterprise architecture leads to the proposed benefits are fragmented and incomplete. This article aims to take a step towards improving the understanding of the value of enterprise architecture by focusing on how it leads to organizational benefits. Through a careful review of the existing practitioner and academic literature, the article consolidates knowledge on enterprise architecture benefits and refines the explanations by drawing on relevant IS and management theory. The resultant EA Benefits Model (EABM) proposes that enterprise architecture leads to organizational benefits through its impact on four key benefit enablers: Organizational Alignment, Information Availability, Resource Portfolio Optimization, and Resource Complementarity. The article concludes with a discussion of some potential avenues for future research, which could build on the findings of this study.
Enterprise Architecture (EA) is widely accepted as a strategic practice, focused on building a definition of future state and then managing a business and technology roadmap to help get there. The young EA program however, is often expected to contribute immediate benefits to the organization before an enterprise strategic vision or the long term roadmap has been defined. While engaged in building the solid foundations of an EA program, the Chief Architect will need to be sensitive to two distinctly different management expectations. The EA program must first be visionary, leading their management teams towards an integrated and enterprise view of business, information and technology architecture. Second, the program must also be flexible enough to manage tactical issues thrust upon them, and find ways to work those solutions into the longer term end-state architecture.
The purpose of this article is to evaluate the Enterprise Architecture (EA) program for an Anonymous Federal Agency (AFA), a title chosen because actual situations from a federal agency EA program are used in this article, some of which are sensitive in nature. The evaluation methodology used in this article is based of the United States Government Accountability Office’s EA Management Maturity Framework (EAMMF) and its five stages of EA program maturity. In 2005, AFA’s current capability to utilize their EA received the lowest EAMMF rating (Stage 1) overall, with only some EA areas being at Stage 2. The AFA could improve their EA program by (1) avoiding Anne Lapkin’s “seven worst EA practices”; (2) involving stakeholders from throughout the AFA enterprise, not just from information technology; (3) education, involving, and requiring leadership’s participation (business and technical); and (4) remembering that developing EA documentation is an important aspect of the EA program, but may not be the best way to affect cultural change and use of the EA in planning and decision-making. Involving stakeholders is the most important element in using EA to improve agency performance.
This article describes a ten-step process used by the United States Secret Service to build its Enterprise Architecture (EA) program. EA is the discipline that synthesizes key business and technical information across the organization to support better decision-making. The Secret Service program improves on the traditional approach to EA by going beyond the collection of voluminous information to synthesize and present it in a useful and useable format for decision-makers. It achieves this by using a clear framework, incorporating a three-tier approach to displaying the information, and drawing on principles of communication and design in a 10-step process.