Economic Perspectives of Enterprise Architecture: Four perspectives the Coherency Architect Should be Aware of!

Perspectives and the Extended Enterprise

When the Coherency Architect has to convince his or her opponents on how Enterprise Architecture and Coherency Management can improve the organization’s strategic capabilities then it might turn out to be useful to use economic estimations and KPIs; however it can be useful to make use of perspectives. Jaap Schekerman presents four perspectives on how Enterprise Architecture can generate value for the organization. Each perspective brings prospects and consequences.

Never the less can the economic views be challenged and aren’t there other economic perspectives of EA than those that Jaap Schekkerman has identified and dealt with in his Book “The Economic Benefits of Enterprise Architecture”.

Business Efficiency

Deals with improving the business processes by adding technology (especially ICT and information systems). This means that the Coherency Architect has to focus on obliterating business processes and add Information Technology. Usually this leads to a desire for world class processes.

This approach isn’t focusing on cost reductions that means it is comparably more expensive that the technology efficiency perspective; however it brings more benefits. In this focus Enterprise Architecture is used to identify how IT and technology can enable the current processes (AS IS) and how future processes be designed (TO BE).

Business Innovation

This perspective deals with using Enterprise Architecture to identify areas of which the organization can create new products, services or possibilities for creating game changing products and services and that can give the organization a competitive advantage. This perspective is focusing on the future competitive advantage that the organization can crystalize a competitive advantage.

Technology Efficiency

Technology Efficiency is based on the on the ideas that the cost (TCO) of using technology. It rarely leads to benefits for the organization since their focus often is on how to save money (sink the costs) of using technology and the costs of its business process. This perspective is ‘cheapest’ perspective but it also contains the fewest future benefits for the organization. This approach is currently the most used perspective.

Technology Enabling

Technology enabling is a perspective that focusses on adding new technology to the business and the business processes. This should in the long run lower the costs the organization occurs by using technology. The main question in this perspective is how ICT can enable the business processes and make value out of the technology by using Enterprise Architecture as a tool for alignment of the corporate goals with information and communication technology. However this perspective is known for being costly and it brings few benefits.

The Enterprise Architecture Value Model
The Enterprise Architecture Value Model.

Conclusion

The four perspectives are useful to identify how an organization views its strategy, economy and not to mention how Enterprise Architecture can generate benefits for the organization. However the four perspectives can only be considered generic and they don’t make much room for customization for the organization to mix between the four different ways to handle it. It is notable that if the organization is a division organization then it is likely that the focus on technology and enterprise architecture might be different and shouldn’t therefore be put into one and the same “perspective”.

Last of all. It is important that the four perspectives are combined with the organization’s strategic management.

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