Virtually all of today’s large organizations have to cope with the significant complexity of their information systems (IS) landscape. Architectural coordination provides a holistic perspective on those hundreds or thousands of IS in an organization and aims at coordinating all the small and large scale change activities in order to maintain consistency and operational stability on the one hand while maintaining the resources for agility and innovation.
The application architecture of large organizations often comprises several hundred to some thousand applications that support business processes. These applications are implemented by an even larger number of software systems, which are run on various generations of information technology (IT) infrastructure. Changing only one of these components often impacts a potentially large number of related components of the organization. Changing several of these components at the same time in a number of projects or programs by division of labor leads to potentially redundant and/or inconsistent processes, applications, software systems, or IT infrastructure components. In other words, it creates misalignment in the enterprise architecture (EA). Such situations seem to be the rule rather than the exception not only for large organizations but also for medium-sized organizations, because these also possess project portfolios of several hundred concurrently running projects.
The factual short-term consequence of a misaligned EA is a waste of resources. The longer-term consequences are increasing efforts and difficulties to maintain existing IS and lacking resources for innovation. This development is almost inevitable unless explicitly addressed. The capability to constantly (re-)align an organization’s resources internally as well as with the changing requirements of its environment is considered a strategic advantage of an organization.
Architectural coordination provides means to support these reconfiguration endeavors in order to maintain or improve alignment among EA components while fostering innovation and change.
This project investigates IS architecture from two distinctive, but interrelated perspectives. While the first part of the project employs a static approach to explain which institutional factors underlie desirable outcomes for IS architecture, the second part opts for a dynamic approach to explain how IS architecture evolves over time. This project combines both static and dynamic explanations to triangulate the generated theories on IS architecture.
Prof. Dr. Robert Winter
Prof. Dr. Kazem Haki
Swiss National Science Foundation
Architectural thinking aims at supporting non-architects and people outside the IT function to adopt holistic, long-term considerations in their daily decisions. To establish architectural thinking we build small interventions such as labels for applications, domains or projects to increase the awareness of employees for architectural goals and provide opportunities to contribute to the goal achievement.
Prof. Dr. Robert Winter
Prof. Dr. Stephan Aier