Learning Unit (LU) 4 required us to read yet another four research papers. LU 4 is all about aligning EA with the existing management practices guiding a company’s strategic and organizational development. Key takeaways are that EA has two crucial roles; 1) EA Management (AEM) supports planning, formulating and coordinating digital initiatives and EAM initiates architecture initiatives that improve the enterprise architecture’s overall quality.


Creating a Strategic IT Architecture Competency: Learning in Stages.

This article is one we cited many times in our group assignment since it explains a lot about different stages of an IT architecture within an organization. It defines four IT architectures.

  1. Application Silo architecture; consists of architectures of individual applications
  2. Standardized technology architecture; has enterprise-wide IT architecture that provides efficiencies through technology standardization.
  3. Rationalized data architecture; extends the enterprise-wide IT standards to data and processes.
  4. Modular architecture; builds onto enterprise-wide global standards with loosely coupled IT components to preserve the global standards while enabling local differences.

The information of this article is very nicely summarized in a simple table, which you can check out below:

Application Silo Standardized technology Rationalized Data Modular
IT Capability IT applications serve
isolated business needs
Firm-wide Technology
IT focused on wiring
core process
Modules enable business
model extensions
Key Management
change management
Standardization and
exception management,
Recognizing essence
of the business
Practices facilitating
Business Case
for IT
ROI of applications Reduced IT costs;
Improved business
Speed to market;
strategic agility
Locus of
Local control Senior management
support of CIO
Senior management,
IT and process
Senior management, IT
process, and local
Key Governance
Estimate, measure,
communicate, value
Establish (local /
regional / global)
standard setting,
exception & funding
Determine code
processes and funding
Define boundaries
for business

They end the article with some tips about how to create a strategic IT architecture competency. First, focus architecture efforts on key business processes. Second, don’t skip or rush through stages. Third, recognize that complex organizations have multiple architectures, which may be at different stages. Fourth, institutionalize learning about architecture in appropriate governance mechanisms. Fifth, continue the dialog, EA is never complete. Sixth, keep an architecture capability in-house.


How enterprise architecture improves the quality of IT investment decisions.

This paper investigates the impact of EA on making IT investments. This paper indicates that EA allows for key insights in preparation of IT investment decisions and in particular, strategic insights. The researchers wanted to explore how to apply EA to achieve higher quality outcomes of IT investments. In particular, they are interested in what EA maturity areas, what EA artifacts and what key insights from EA contribute to more successful IT investments. The authors gathered data with a thorough survey and modeled by 143 (usable) cases.

The authors ran the results of the surveys through some statistical software and determined the quantiles. From the results the researchers can conclude that top quantile companies are more mature than low quantile companies, which applies both to overall EA maturity as well as all the focus areas that underlie that. Top quantile companies use more EA artifacts in the preparation of IT investment decisions than bottom quantile companies. They seem to make more use of heat maps, policies, roadmaps, business capability models, landscape diagrams and guidelines. They also noted that EA in general provides more insights into preparation of IT investment decisions when investments fir the business strategy, the relationship of IT investments with future and past IT investments and the risks.

Based on these findings they propose a conceptual model to use when making IT investment decisions, it contains a number of propositions:

  1. There is a positive relationship between the maturity of an EA practice and the quality of IT investment decision outcomes.
  2. There is a positive relationship between the percentage of actionable and diagnostic EA artifacts that are used in the preparation of IT investment decisions and the quality of IT investment decisions outcomes
  3. There is a positive relationship between the percentage of strategic types of insights that EA provides in the preparation of IT investment decisions and the quality of IT investment decision outcomes.
  4. There is a positive relationship between the  maturity of relationship to the as-is state and the percentage of actionable and diagnostic EA artifacts that are used in the preparation of IT investment decisions.
  5. There is a positive relationship between the maturity of commitment and motivation and the percentage of strategic insights that EA provides in the preparation of IT investment decisions.
  6. There is a positive relationship between the maturity on interaction and collaboration and the percentage of strategic insights that EA provides in the preparation of IT investment decisions.
  7. There is a positive relationship between the percentage of actionable and diagnostic EA artifacts and the percentage of strategic insights that EA provides in the preparation of IT investment decisions.

The paper shows a nice visual model of these propositions which is far more readable than my summary here. You should check out the paper if you want to see it. They do however call out for further research to test these propositions!


Toward Understanding Enterprise Architecture Management’s Role in Strategic Change: Antecedents, Processes, Outcomes.

This third paper seeks t contribute to the understanding of EAM’s application in strategic change processes. It aims to answer the following research questions: “How can enterprise architecture management support organizations in the management of strategic change?”. 

So what exactly is strategic change? Well, in the context of EAM, it means that EAM can be used to drive organizational change and transformation towards a strategic target state. An shared (from literature) underlying assumption in strategic change studies is that organizations must fir their environmental niches if they are to survive by aiming for congruence of organizational structures with their environment.

In studies for strategic change there are two schools of thought: The content school and the process school. The content school views strategic change as a system of distinct factors that must be fitted together. The process school in turn puts an emphasis on managerial actions by viewing strategic change as a stream of activities that are taken to achieve the most favorable match or alignment between the environment and the organization’s structure as a result of change processes.

This research highlights the application of ten EAM practices along the strategic change process. I’ll show them in the table below, but I encourage you to read the article since they’re presented far better there:

Strategic phase EAM support
Strategy Formulation (1) Assessment of strategic business and IT options through architects
Strategy Formulation (2) Development of strategic architecture initiatives
Strategy Formulation
Strategic planning
(3) Update of target architecture
Strategic planning (4) Derivation of roadmaps
Strategic planning (5) Assessment and prioritization of the project portfolio
Operative planning (6) Impact assessment and identification of reusable components
Operative planning (7) Standard compliance assessment
Operative planning
Monitoring and
(8) Update of current architecture
Monitoring and
(9) Architecture guidance and implementation review
Monitoring and
(10) Architecture measurement and review

The authors conclude the article by noting four implications that rise from this study. First, the necessity of EAM integration. Second, EAM as business and IT approach. Three, EAM as driver of agile strategic change. Four, Necessity of certain antecedents.


How Big Old Companies Navigate Digital Transformation

When I read the title of this paper I had to laugh a little. It seems weird to say “Big Old Companies” in a research paper, yet here it is. The fun part is that one of the authors is from Texas, US. When I read it I imagine this awesome Texan accent “Big Auwld Caumpanies”, haha. Nonetheless, I though this article was pretty decent and interesting. This paper dives into the strategies how large, old companies can implement EA and benefit from it. I’ve used this article for the group assignment I think (not sure, the piece might have been cut).

In the paper they define “Big Old”; where “Big” means a size of 82297 employees and “Old” means over 104 years. These companies are on an early stage of their digital transformation and typically deliver traditional services. 

The study revealed three essential elements for a successful digital transformation: 1) A digital strategy that defines a SMACIT-inspired value proposition. SMACIT is defined as: Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Internet of Things. 2) An operational backbone that facilitates operational excellence. 3) A digital services platforms that enabled rapid innovation and responsiveness to new market opportunities.

The Authors also came up with two strategies to drive the digitalization. In this paper, “digital strategy” is defined as “A business strategy, inspired by capabilities of powerful, readily accessible technologies (like SMACIT), intent on delivering unique, integrated business capabilities in ways that are responsive to constantly changing market conditions”.

First, they identified a “Customer engagement strategy” which is for companies that are aiming to build customer loyalty and trust by providing superior, innovative and personalized customer experiences. One of the case companies pursued this strategy and offered increased ways for patient (end-user) interaction, invested in data-analytics to identify needs and most effective approaches for personalized outreach and leveraged social media to develop communities.

Second, they identified a “Digitized Solutions Strategy” which aims to reformulate a company’s value proposition by integrating a combination of products, services and data. With this strategy, a company’s revenue might shift from the sale of products to the revenue of ongoing services (like subscriptions for example).

But how do you choose either strategy? The authors have this to say about it: “… our research found that the best strategies guided both strategic choices and operational decisions, and that comitting to one strategy paid off”. So what they essentially say is that you must look at what the business and strategic goals are, and then commit to only one strategy to achieve it.

Next the article dives a bit deeper into the specifics but I leave that level of detail to the paper itself so, you can read it there.

I want to end this with a couple of recommendations the authors provide for digital transformation at big auwld caumpanies; 1) Define a digital strategy. 2) Act now to invest in an operational backbone. 3) Architect a digital services platform. 4) Design the digital services platform with partners in mind. 5) Adopt a services culture.



The first and last paper we were needed to read this LU were the most interesting to me personally. The first one we used heavily during the group assignment since it overlaps really nicely with our case company. The last paper has some intersections with our assignment but I’m no sure if we actually cited any information from it. I remember going back to this paper a couple of times and try to find some matching issues of ideas.

The other two articles didn’t feel that interesting to me, but I still read them an probably learned something 🙂


01010010 01110101 01100010 01100101 01101110.


Article 1: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=416180

Article 2: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0164121219300433

Article 3: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221201417_Toward_Understanding_Enterprise_Architecture_Management’s_Role_in_Strategic_Change_Antecedents_Processes_Outcomes

Article 4: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319929433_How_big_old_companies_navigate_digital_transformation

Hey, sorry to bother you but you can subscribe to my blog here.

Never miss a blog post!

You have Successfully Subscribed!