The Organisational Benefits of Enterprise Architecture
This article addresses the question: How does enterprise architecture (EA) lead to organisational benefits? The Enterprise Architecture Benefits Model (EABM) is proposed in answer, arguing that the benefits from EA are contingent on the Quality of EA Service Provision and realised through three key mechanisms or benefit drivers. First, a direct outcome of EA is improved Quality of IS Decision Making, to which EA contributes by providing a more collaborative, evidence-based decision process, and by delivering improved information to support this process. Second, in the short-to-medium term, EA-guided IS decisions result in the optimisation of an organisation’s IS project portfolio. Finally, over time the consistent use of an EA-guided decision approach can help an organisation to build an improved digitised business platform, supported by fit-for-purpose, synergistic, and appropriately integrated IT assets. Each of these three benefit drivers ultimately contributes to organisational benefits from EA, which include higher return on IT investment and increased organisational agility. The EABM is qualitatively evaluated based on data from twenty-one expert interviews and two in-depth case studies, which provide generally good support for the proposed model. The article closes with recommendations for future research to test, enhance, and expand on the EABM.
Toomas Tamm is a Research Fellow at the Department of Computing and Information Systems of the University of Melbourne. His professional interests revolve around the improvement of organisational performance through the use of IT. His recent research projects have focused on enterprise architecture, strategic IT decision-making, and business analytics. Other research interests include IT management, digital strategy, IT-enabled organisation design, and IT-enabled innovation.