The critical success factors of enterprise architecture

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2015
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After more than twenty five years of development many organizations still struggle to harness Enterprise Architecture's potential with, according to the literature, perhaps only five per cent of them succeeding. Seeking the critical success factors (CSFs) of Enterprise Architecture, the research begins with a systematic analysis, to minimize subjectivity, of an eclectic but extensive collection of literature. With few extant sources directly addressing the question much of the data is discursive. Overall, this methodology-centric literature offers, as a result of an ascendant "Builders' paradigm", a plethora of advice on WHAT artefacts to create and HOW to create them, but little on the socially constructed realities of architecture. While an initial list of CSFs is derived from the literature, tainted by the methodological discourse, they are individually inadequate and collectively less than a compelling explanation of this complex sociotechnical phenomenon. So, concluding that EA's historical development has resulted in a deficient body of knowledge, and influenced by Hevner, March, Park and Ram's (2004) call for alignment with real world experience, the research embarks on the transdisciplinary engagement of primary sources, architects. Over 200 architects from 20 countries and 16 industries were surveyed while architects from both successful and failed programmes were interviewed. The subsequent analytical integration and interpretation of literary, survey and interview data creates a new rich empirically-founded resource for researchers to exploit and extend that suggests the origins of many of the salient features of architecture. From this integrated analysis an insightful understanding of EA "practice" emerges - in the sense of a "tacit mastery" of the architects. The analysis concludes that the cultivation of a legitimized, purposeful, and socially reproduced practice, by the actions of the architects, is the foundation of success. The core contribution of the research is a new sociologically-centric body of knowledge called Purpose Driven Architecture Practice (PDAP). This is a significant alternative 'paradigm' to the prevailing artefact centricity that dominates architecture. PDAP employs empirically substantiated success factors to provide a socio-centric practice framework that management and architects can use to develop an "enabling" enterprise architecture programme. The thesis closes with a call for further research into the sociological aspects of architecture.
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