It has been a while ago but I’m happy to share some additional results of my PhD.
I will present on the upcoming Conference on Business Informatics (CBI2016) a paper called “Enterprise Architects Should Play Different Roles”. The paper is based on a case study in which we studied linkages between IT decisions and discussed the implications for EA. By reconstructing issue streams of 265 IT decisions we identified sequential, precursive and lateral linkages that apply to real situations. We argued that each type of linkage requires a different role from EA. Sequential linkages require a high level design, precursive linkages require anticipating guidance and lateral linkages require a devil’s advocate. This research was inspired by the great paper of Anne Langley that she wrote with a.o. Henry Mintzberg: “Opening up Decisison Making: The View from the Black Stool”. We studied 265 IT decisions in a case study organization and found that each of the types of linkages that Langley described, occur in real life. A sequential linkage occurs if two decisions on the same issue become interrelated over time. A lateral linkage occurs if concurrent decisions on different issues are linked as they share resources or common context. A precursive linkage occurs when a decision on one issue affects future decisions on other issues. The EA discipline is especially equipped to provide support in decision-making situations where linkages between decisions occur. We reasoned that for each of these types a different role from EA is required: a combination of different content, competencies and timing!
I will also present a paper at this year’s Trends on Enterprise Architecture Research (TEAR2016) as part of the EDOC2016 conference. The title of this paper is: “The Decision-making Context Influences the Role of the Enterprise Architect”. In this study we explored how organizations perceive the contribution and value of EA in different IT decision-making situations. We conducted a multiple case study at three different organizations in which we analyzed how EA influences IT decisions. EA’s support was found to deliver a valuable contribution in all three cases, which however varied considerably from case to case. We identified four different context factors that determine the role of EA in IT decision-making processes: the formalization of the decision-making process, the mindset of decision-makers, the magnitude of impact and the time pressure of the issue underlying the IT decision. These factors determine how the enterprise architect will be involved in IT decision-making, the type of deliverables and the breadth and depth of the architecture analysis. This multiple case study demonstrated that EA is not a one-size-fits-all discipline. Successful support of IT decision-making depends on how the role of EA is tailored to the specific IT decision-making context.