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EAM Function & Process

EAM comprises a multitude of functions and activities. Which functions are implemented in an enterprise depends on the goals which are chosen to be accomplished as well as the organizational context in which they are to be executed [Mat+12].

EAM Functions

Even though very important, modeling the EA and supporting the enterprise transformation are not the only activities covered by EAM. EAM functions need to address various concerns of multiple stakeholders by using EAM methods [Ale+15]. Which EAM functions to implement depends on the EAM goals, which are to be fulfilled, as well as on organization specific in influence factors [Ale+15]. A non-exhaustive list of frequently mentioned EAM activities is provided in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Possible EAM functions.

The dependencies between EA measures and effects are very versatile. Based on the activities mentioned in Figure 1, a couple of possible outcomes will be exemplified in the following.

Modeling and communicating the current as well as the future EA creates transparency and therefore enables informed decision making [BBL12; Nie08; FS12]. The support of the evolution of the IT landscape fosters an alignment of business and IT [BBL12; Nie08; Man12]. The assessment of business capabilities helps identifying critical gaps in the application landscape and additionally creates a common language between business and IT [BBL12]. Further, the development of standards and principles reduces the design space of possible future EAs in a useful way and promotes a consolidation of the IT landscape [BBL12; Kel11]. This, in return, leads to a decrease of the complexity. Supporting the definition of the IT strategy, again, enables a better alignment between business and IT [BBL12; Kel11]. Finally, the management of risks involved in IT facilitates for example compliance or better disaster tolerance [BBL12]. All these measures ultimately lead to an increase in IT performance or a decrease of IT cost.



EAM Processes

A process is defined as a sequence of connected logical functions [Buc+09b]. An EAM process should provide a simple guideline for implementing and executing EAM functions [Buc10b]. The EAM process needs to be integrated with other management processes of an organization like e.g. demand management, strategy and objective management and synchronization management [Wit+07].

According to Keller (2006) [Kel07], six IT enterprise architecture processes can be distinguished. These are the IT strategy process, which derives the IT strategy from the business strategy as well as the IT application portfolio management process, which manages the transformation of the IT landscape [Kel07]. Further, a modeling process enabling the development of an EA model and a process for defining and communicating standards should be part of the overall EAM function [Kel07]. Finally, a monitoring process, which evaluates and plans the IT project portfolio and monitors the project progress as well as a process for consulting projects should be established [Kel07].


Approaches to Defining an EAM Practice Using a Framework

There is no commonly accepted step-by-step guidelines for organizing the EAM activities of an enterprise [Buc10b]. Instead, a multitude of competing solutions exists in the form of EAM frameworks developed in academia and practice [Buc10b].

One example of such a framework is TOGAF. It provides the Architecture Development Method (ADM), a generic method describing the activities and artifacts necessary to transform an EA from a current state towards a target state [11b]. Those activities consist of the processes visioning, architecture definition, transformation planning, and architecture governance [11b]. This method focuses on the activity of capturing and transforming an EA, but not on other EAM tasks, like developing an IT strategy or managing the application portfolio [Kel11]. Further, TOGAF offers the Architecture Capability Framework, which explains how to establish an EAM capability using the ADM [11b], without mentioning what tasks are comprised in an EAM capability.

An alternative approach to establishing EAM activities is the use of patterns. This approach accounts for the organization specific factors, that influence the implementation of an EAM function [Har97]. Instead of providing one generic method, a handful of solutions are identified which are to be applied in certain situations of an organization [Buc10b].



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