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Alignment in Enterprise Architecture: Investigating the aspects of alignment in architectural approaches

Journal article
Authors Thanos Magoulas
Aida Hadzic
Ted Saarikko
Kalevi Pessi
Published in Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation
Volume 15
Issue 1
ISSN 1566-6379
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Links www.ejise.com/volume15/issue1
Keywords enterprise architecture, architectural alignment, Zachman framework, TOGAF, GERAM, E2AF
Subject categories Informatics

Abstract

As modern organizations struggle with the complexity and dynamicity of their business environments, they increasingly turn to Enterprise Architecture as a means to organize their capabilities. However, adopting Enterprise Architecture is hardly a straightforward matter as the practical guidance available is plagued by disparity in nomenclature as well as content. The purpose of this paper is to take a first step in remedying the dearth of rational appraisal of approaches to Enterprise Architecture by closer examining a handful of guides and frameworks. Our ultimate aim in this paper is to provide knowledge about the various dimensions of enterprise architectures that demand alignment between its constitutionals parts. Therefore the efforts of our study were focused on elucidating the following issue: How are the various forms and aspects of architectural alignment treated by the investigated approaches to Enterprise Architecture? Due to the lack of commonalities between the assorted approaches, an independent metric is required. We therefore utilize the concept of alignment and analyze how the various forms and aspects of architectural alignment are treated by formalized approaches to Enterprise Architecture. This methodology was applied to the Zachman Framework, The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), the Extended Enterprise Architecture Framework (E2AF) and the Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology (GERAM). Our investigation clearly demonstrates that: 1) Approaches to Enterprise Architecture provide guidance for structural and functional alignment, but not for infological or socio-cultural alignment. 2) The area of contextual alignment is described in a simplistic manner. 3) None of the investigated approaches discuss the mutual interdependence that exists between the various forms of alignment. Our work serves to further the understanding of multi-dimensionality of Enterprise Architecture in general and architectural alignment in particular.

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