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.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Toomas Tamm is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses on understanding if and how organizations can benefit from enterprise architecture planning.
Peter B. Seddon is a Professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include enterprise systems, IT management, IT outsourcing, business analytics, organizational processes, evaluation and alignment, and accounting information systems.
Graeme Shanks is an Australian Professorial Fellow in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. His research interests focus on business analytics, the implementation and impact of information systems, data quality, and conceptual modeling.
Peter Reynolds is a Research Scientist at MIT CISR. Peter’s research focuses on how firms drive value from IT through business and IT strategy, organizational design, IT-based business transformation, and mergers in IT.
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