Learning Unit (LU) 3 required us to read another four research papers. LU 3 dives deep into EA maturity models which are instruments to measure and govern the degree to which EA is used in an organization and how to build (dynamic) capabilities. Let’s discuss the articles to see what this all means.

Also, with the course being almost over, I’m able to reflect a bit on the material in the literature. So future students, if you are reading this; I’ll try to relate things to the group assignment to point out things that were interesting to me/us. Our group assignment involved measuring the impact of a Quality Management System on the EA of a Governmental organization, so the upcoming articles were relatable to our case.


Analyzing enterprise architecture maturity models: a learning perspective

This article was very useful. It gives a high level overview of a number of maturity models. One that I personally like, and we used in the group assignment was the MIT MC-MM. We used this since it was the less complex, and easy to read model of the bunch that were presented here. These maturity models generally work in the same way; they present a couple of maturity levels and each level includes practices, documents, services and products from the previous levels. So, incrementally when you raise the maturity levels you gain all of these. The MC-MM is once such model.

This paper explores two research questions: 1) “What are the underlying assumptions of current EA maturity models concerning the meaning of maturity and of its improvement?” 2) “Can a model from the field of organizational learning help answer the first question?”

In this paper they talk about 6 models to measure maturity, the:

  1. National association of State Chief information officers maturity model (NASCIO), which comes from a non-profit organization in the US. Benefits that can be expected from this model are 1) enhances enterprise information sharing, 2) reduced information systems complexity, 3) reduced dependency on key resources, and more. This model does not have an incremental maturity grade, but separate elements per level. This makes the model look very complex but each of these elements belong to a certain group but are just named differently.
  2. MIT Center of Information Systems Research MC-MM, which comes from, well, the MIT… According to the MC-MM firms with greater architectural maturity reported lower costs, shorter IT development times, greater discipline in their business and more. This model is an incremental model and has four levels: 1) business silos, 2) standardized technology, 3) optimal core and 4) Business modularity. So each level include all the practices of the previous level and by gaining levels, you increase the number of things your organization needs to do.
  3. Department of Commerce It Architecture capability maturity model (ACMM), which comes from the department of commerce in the US government. To measure maturity based on this model, you need to answer short questionnaires which will give you a score. Based on this score, spread across 9 criteria you will get a maturity level from 1 to 5. This research found that the ACMM increases maturity by increasing: EA oversight, communication, standardization, influence, conformity and sharing.
  4. US Government Accountability Office’s Framework for Accessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management, now that’s a mouthful… It comes from the US Government Accountability Office which is mandated to oversee the use of taxpayer dollars. Right… They define 6 stages of maturity build on 59 core elements. This research found 9 themes that help achieve maturity of EA: Increasing the amount of oversight, influence of EA, scope of EA training, standardization, compliance to these standards and perfecting EA processes, communication of EA within the enterprise, management of human capital and tooling.
  5. Forrester’s EA Maturity assessment, which is a framework designed by Forrestor, a research and advisory firm. They present three uses for their tool: “1) define or clarify the mission and priorities of the EA team with stakeholders; 2) relate maturity to the value these stakeholders expect; and 3) prioritize improvement plans”. Maturity is evaluated through the use of a questionnaire answered on likert-type scales. Based on the results you get a maturity level from 0 to 5.
  6. Gartner’s IT-Score for EA, a tool from another research and advisory firm. This model was discussed on the “Real World Enterprise Architecture” podcast I was talking about in an earlier blog. So check it out if you are interested. It measures maturity on 5 levels spread across eight dimensions: stakeholders support and communication, team resources, EA development method, process integration, deliverables, disclosure and compliance, metrics and stakeholder perception.

To answer the research questions; this research found that the field of organizational learning can be helpful. From this perspective maturity can mean different things, ranging from levels of effectiveness to achieving important shifts in organizational governing variables. Generally, the maturity models adopt only one of possible design approaches in order to operationalize the concept of increasing maturity. This research names three approaches; the improvement approach, the transformation approach and the dual approach.


The Impact of EA-Driven Dynamic Capabilities, Innovativeness, and Structure on Organizational Benefits: A Variance and fsQCA Perspective

This paper investigates the impact of EA-Driven Dynamic capabilities, which is essentially it’s agility of EA practices, on organization performance. They also look at how these dynamic capabilities influence the innovativeness of the organization since, agility is often associated with the ability to play into new trends and technologies. A fun fact of this paper specifically; it is the first paper we need to read that is written by one of our professors as well.

The study shows a positive relationship between EA-Driven dynamic capabilities and the innovativeness and structure of an organization. Let’s discuss why;

First, what are EA-Driven dynamic capabilities you might wonder? Well in the paper they are described as: “Firm’s ability to adequately leverage the EA to share, recombine and recompose business and IT resources and sufficiently address internal and external change and achieve the firm’s desired state”. The authors hypothesize that these capabilities have an impact on an organization’s innovativeness since the ability to introduce innovation to a firm’s business processes and ability to use the latest technological innovations for new products development depend on it’s dynamic capabilities.

In this research they set out to answer three research questions: 1) “To what extend do the firm’s EA-driven dynamic capabilities and organic firm structure influence its level of innovation?”; 2) “To what extend does the firm’s innovation level impact organizational benefits?”; 3) “Which unique configurations of EA-driven dynamic capabilities shape a firm’s innovativeness?”

In this paper, they present a lovely analysis and show that achieving innovativeness levels stem from different combinations of capabilities, valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutional (VRIN) resources and their interplay with the organizational structure. They show that EA-driven dynamic capabilities are crucial for organizational benefits through the firm’s innovativeness.

This research has some major implications though: The results imply that executives and senior practitioners should actively invest in EA-driven dynamic capabilities and decision-makers should specify three EA-driven dynamic capabilities, the authors suggest sensing, mobilizing and transforming, as they provide a means to drive the firm’s innovativeness.

I guess when you read all this you might probably think; isn’t all of this just common sense? Well, maybe? It was the first thing that came up in my mind; like agility seems very important in all layers of an enterprise. I mean, if you want to run a successful IT project your really need some form of an agile approach since it will help you adapt quickly to new requirements or insights. Why would it be any different on a larger scale? What is great though, is that the authors made this explicit so it is no longer just an hypothesis but something academically researched. This was a pretty nice paper to read, although it was a long paper, but the information in here is applicable in practice immediately.


Better Digital Business by Design With the Business Architecture Landscape

This third paper, although it feels more like an article, is written by Gartner. It’s about how to use the “Business Architecture Landscape” (BAL) to provide insight and analysis for senior leaders. The business architecture landscape is as: “a set of interrelated models that make up an organization”. In the article, a very nice visual is presented. The authors also specifically points out that the relationships between models in the BAL are just as important as the models themselves. It can be used as a thinking tool that inspires inquiry and analysis to solve problems.

The BAL can be divided into three categories: First, there is what they call the strategic core which is made up by strategy and goals, a business model and operating model.Β  Second, there is the ecosystem perspective made up by the ecosystem model and the service model. Third, there is the financial perspective made up by the economic model and the financial model.

Again, remember, that the relationships between these perspective and the individual models are very important. The article explains these very nicely. I encourage you to read them yourself since I’ll do a bad job explaining it πŸ˜‰

This article sums up three key findings:

  1. “A top priority for many organizations is to create new and innovative business models, often with the latest digital technologies, to drive revenue and to innovate around the needs of their customers”.
  2. “Creating business and operating models is complex and requires change across many elements of the organization — from its business ecosystem, to the new way it’s organized and the technology used. Transformation must be designed and orchestrated across each of these elements”.
  3. “Enterprise Architects need a set of models that can provide insight into the complex, interrelated and interdependent parts of the organization to engage senior executives in design and investment decision making”.

They also propose some recommendations; They say that to support the creation of new business models, senior leaders must help to:

  1. “Broaden their use of business architecture deliverables by taking a landscape view to allow them to support a wider set of business strategy and execution challenges”.
  2. “Brind new approaches, models and tools into the enterprise architecture practice, to support the organization’s business outcomes and derive increased business value from the discipline”.
  3. “Develop skills and competences of the EA team to become oriented toward internal management consulting, and more skilled by applying a business architecture landscape approach”.


Delivering an Effective Enterprise Architecture at Chubb Insurance

This paper is about Chubb Insurance’s ten year journey through EA and going from localized business architectures to balanced common infrastructure serving both the enterprise and business unit needs. They have used the TOGAF model to achieve this.

They define a couple components for EA:

  1. Architecture Strategy: which defines the major direction and components of EA.
  2. Architecture Definition: which provides the context for the design, development and implementation of architecture governance and policies.
  3. Architecture Governance: which oversees project implementations, providing project strategy review and consulting services, and technical support while monitoring compliance.
  4. Business Unit Project Implementations: which says that each line of business is responsible for it’s own architecture roadmap and strategy, project city plans and application architecture design.
  5. Enterprise Shared Assets and Solutions: Shared services, knowledge centers and “centers of excellence” which focus on business rules, business process management and agile development.

This paper also dives into details on how Chubb made the architecture work effectively. how the business value of EA is reached and how EA can be used as enabler of effective strategy. The authors describe these points in detail and put in nice quotes from their interviewees. This make the article feel personal I think.

They end the paper with some recommendations for building an enterprise architecture. First, you must apply the chosen architectural framework to enhance the dominant business logic and match the corporate culture. They say that company culture is long lived, and should thus not be ignored and used as a catalyst to drive the EA. Changing culture in an organization is very difficult. Second, avoid bureaucracy: balance long-term architectural goals with flexibility and rapid delivery. The authors recommend to make sure your EA practices have enough flexibility but do not compromise the long-term goals and responsiveness. Third, Select architects with business skills and technical skills, this seems obvious I guess. A nice balance between technical and business knowledge seems appropriate for a good enterprise architect. Fourth, Ensure every architectural activity adds business value, and constantly educate other leaders about EA goals. Each team in the organization must be able to communicate and teach/share their successes and failures with other team so everyone can learn and educate each other.



Of the four papers we needed to read, the first one was the one most interesting to me. The different maturity models gave some real, concrete insight in how EA can be measured and guided. As I said before, we’ve used this article in our group assignment to measure maturity in our case organization. We focused on the MC-MM model since it is easy to read and understand. It’s an incremental model which to me makes the most sense.

We also needed to make some individual assignments this LU but I think I might do one blog post that shares my insights of all the individual assignments. However, they might not be really that interesting for (you) the reader. If you want to know about the individual assignments, let me know in the comments πŸ˜‰


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Article 1: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326167884_Using_enterprise_architecture_model_analysis_and_description_logics_for_maturity_assessment

Article 2: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351555099_The_Impact_of_EA-Driven_Dynamic_Capabilities_Innovativeness_and_Structure_on_Organizational_Benefits_A_Variance_and_fsQCA_Perspective

Article 3: https://www.gartner.com/en/doc/377021-better-digital-business-by-design-with-the-business-architecture-landscape

Article 4: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290630232_Delivering_an_effective_enterprise_architecture_at_chubb_insurance

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