Developing Enterprise Architectures to Address the Enterprise Dilemma of Deciding What Should Be Sustained Versus What Should Be Changed




Harrell, J. Michael

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Enterprise architecture is a relatively new concept that arose in the latter half of the twentieth century as a means of managing the information technology resources within the enterprise. Borrowing from the disciplines of brick and mortar architecture, software engineering, software architecture, and systems engineering, the enterprise architecture discipline struggles to define itself and demonstrate that it is a worthwhile endeavor that is capable of producing measurable benefits for the enterprise. Studies continue to show that most large IT projects are laborious struggles that are perpetually overdue, over-budget and deliver functionality that consistently under performs what was intended. Enterprise architecture is supposed to help lead to order out of the chaos, but the current success rate does not appear to be appreciably higher than it was before enterprise architecture was widely employed. The key to developing a successful enterprise architecture lies in making it more beneficial as well as less costly. This requires not only knowing how enterprise architecture should be developed, but also knowing what obstacles lay in the path of success. There are many reasons why an enterprise architecture effort can fail, but there are three challenges in particular that obstruct enterprise architecture efforts greatly. These challenges are wicked problems, complexity, and the enterprise learning curve. The goal of this research has been to discover strategies that can help attenuate the difficulties that result from wicked problems, complexity, and the enterprise learning curve and also to improve the chances of developing an enterprise architecture that delivers a positive return on investment for the enterprise. Towards this goal, this research makes the following contributions: • It establishes the focus and scope of enterprise architecture by defining the bounds of what enterprise architecture should address. • It develops a core set of enterprise business questions from which to begin enterprise architecture development. • It develops an enterprise architecture metamodel named the Maintain Accountability, Produce Product, and Manage Resources enterprise architecture metamodel that supports enterprise architecture metamodel development. • It develops a methodology that aids the enterprise architect in focusing the development effort on obtaining significant value while reducing the risk of expending resources developing architectural artifacts of little or no value. • It develops an enterprise architecture case study framework that extends both the Freidman-Sage and Martin case study frameworks for systems engineering case study research, and provides an enterprise architecture case study framework that shares a common basis for evaluating enterprise architecture case studies in the same conceptual framework as prior system engineering case study research.



Enterprise architecture, Information Technology, Information Technology Architecture, Architecture, Informations Systems Architecture, Enterprise Information Architecture