Successful enterprise architecture

Vibeke Trolle Hansen has published her Master of IT thesis, Enterprise Architecture – how to establish and sustain a successful EA (3MB PDF).

Enterprise architecture aims to establish business and IT alignment. EA is often applied to ensure a more central business driven IT portfolio, and make the organisation more agile in managing change. Having analysed the EA discipline including the EA definition, EA frameworks, governance, change management and EA maturity and business value measures from a theoretical perspective, I aim at defining a set of guidelines that will inspire organisations in practice to create a successful EA in a structured manner.

After I have defined the set of guidelines, I apply them on two cases, SKAT and ATP. The case analyses show that the organisations have established many of the relevant processes necessary to implement and sustain a business driven IT portfolio, but also that both organisations still have a long way to go to fully reach their objectives. SKAT has a very strong project model that already takes the new IT architectures into account and ensure compliance with their IT modernisation project. The main obstacle, however, is that SKAT does not fully appreciate the value EA can generate for them, and even though they are working in the right direction, the approach seems ad hoc. SKAT claims that they are not interested in establishing an EA although this is partly what they are doing. To me this implies lack of structures, which the EA discipline may provide when implementing and sustaining a business driven IT portfolio. ATP, on the other hand, is deliberately conducting an EA. They have thoroughly performed many of the initial EA investigations and are ready to seize the challenge in implementing their EA in the organisation. My main obstacle in this analysis is, however, that ATP ought to put more focus on EA governance as opposed to mainly focussing on IT governance at the top level in their EA. This could ensure more coherent governance structures of the entire framework.

The theoretical framework and best practise conclusions, thus, lead me to define a set of guidelines that proved very useful in my case analyses. The guidelines consist of four stages:
1. EA foundation stage
2. EA approach stage
3. EA governance and management stage
4. EA maturity and measurement stage

The guidelines should be useful in bridging the gap between theory and practise within the EA field, and may, hopefully, assist organisations in creating and sustaining a successful EA.

I recommend everyone interested in EA to read Vibeke’s thesis. It’s very well written, it’s thorough and it’s an excellent analysis of two major Danish EA cases. Vibeke was offered a job in one of the cases, ATP, and now work for them.

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