Beer's Viable System Model and Luhmann's Communication Theory: 'Organizations' from the Perspective of Meta?Games
Beyond the descriptions of 'viability’ provided by Beer's Viable System Model, Maturana's autopoietic theory or Luhmann's communication theory, questions remain as to what ‘viability’ means across different contexts. How is ‘viability’ affected by the Internet and the changing information environments in a knowledge?based economy? For Luhmann, social systems like businesses are coordination systems that do not ‘live’ as viable systems but operate because they relieve human beings from environmental complexity. We situate Beer's concept of viability with Luhmann's through analyzing the way that ‘decisions’ shape organizations in an information environment. Howard's (1971) meta?game analysis enables us to consider the ‘viable system’ as an ‘agent system’ producing utterances as moves in a discourse game within the context of its information environment. We discuss how this approach can lead to an accommodation between Beer's practical orientation and Luhmann's sociological critique where the relationship between viability, decision and information can be further explored.
Because of the dynamic environments of business and IT, achieving any alignment between the two fields has become challenging. In view of its multiple viewpoints and artifacts, the discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is often regarded as an effective methodology to deal with BITA issues, and thus has attracted plenty of research. This article conducts a systematic literature review of BITA research using EA. Six questions are answered through 5W1H (When, Who, What, Why, Where, How) analysis. These questions aim to acquire a thorough understanding of BITA from the perspective of EA, to discover weak points in the status quo, and to identify future research directions.
Three core imperatives are essential for modern businesses and organizations: seamless integration of customer and operational processes, agility, and the ability to change. These imperatives are relevant in view of successfully executing strategic choices, but all too often not satisfied. Businesses and organizations are complex adaptive socio-technical systems and can be viewed from two fundamentally different perspectives: the functional (black-box) perspective and the constructional (white-box) perspective. Management and governance of businesses and organizations regard the functional, black-box perspective, which is inherently ill-suited for addressing the imperatives mentioned. It will be argued that establishing system integration, agility and change requires a focus on the system's design, hence necessitates the constructional perspective. The concept of architecture is considered fundamental for operationalizing the constructional perspective. Next to the more familiar notion of technology architecture, the concepts of business, organizational and information architecture are formally introduced and elucidated. Various domains within these architectures will be highlighted, whereby the importance of coherence and consistency is stressed, especially in view of the ability to change. Collectively, the four architectures are labeled Enterprise Architecture. Finally, enterprise architecture will be positioned as a crucial means for linking strategy development and execution.
From Enterprise Architecture to Business Ecosystem Architecture: Stages and challenges for extending architectures beyond organizational boundaries
Today, Enterprises act in an increasingly interconnected world and in different kinds of collaborative networks. They are part of business ecosystems in which they interact with their customers, partners and competitors. The processes of analyzing and planning the intertwinement of business and IT architecture within enterprises has been successfully supported by enterprise architecture management (EAM) approaches. In this paper, we analyze four cases from different industries (health care, logistics, retail, and education) and argue that the intra-organizational concepts of enterprise architectures (EA) and EAM need to be extended to grasp the challenges of the enterprises’ interconnectedness. Beyond the known concepts of extended enterprise architecture and federated architectures, we define five stages of extended architectures. Additionally, we describe challenges and existing solutions, which are relevant for this extended perspective.
Enterprises develop, produce, and distribute their products and services nowadays in complex and increasingly digital business ecosystems consisting of business partners, suppliers, competitors, start-ups, public institutions, and costumers. These business ecosystems exhibit a high dynamic: new actors enter and leave the ecosystem continuously. Thus, for enterprise business and IT strategy the knowledge about and active design of the business ecosystems are gaining more relevance. Various stakeholders within the enterprise need to collaborate to achieve a holistic understanding of the ecosystem, all with different requirements towards the ecosystem model. As visualizations have proven to support stakeholders in fulfilling their ecosystem related tasks, the aim of this research project is the modeling and visualizing of business ecosystems addressing the identified challenges.
Business ecosystems are gaining more relevance both in research and in practice. The analysis of business ecosystems is thereby a data intense process. To better understand the current state-of-the-practice within enterprises addressing the analysis of business ecosystem we conducted an online survey asking participants about their division of labor, collection, documentation and processing of business ecosystem related data. 52 experts from mainly German based companies completed the questionnaire stating, inter alia, that the main data sources in use are internal company information sources and online search engines, and additionally that the time-consuming process of collecting and documenting business ecosystem related information is perceived as a major challenge in the context of business ecosystem analysis.
ICT-enabled business solutions have created a possibility for automated business relations and transactions. Digital business ecosystems are becoming an increasingly popular concept for modeling and building distributed systems in heterogeneous, decentralized and open environments. However, traditional economic and computing theories do not focus on digital business ecosystems as a separate form of organization and they do not provide conceptual frameworks that can be used to explore digital business ecosystems. In this paper, we present a framework for exploring digital business ecosystems developed from Zachman’s enterprise architecture. This framework serves as a structure for exploring the value network and the enterprise as part of a digital business ecosystem.
For most companies today, the only truly sustainable advantage comes from out-innovating the competition.
This publication examines the opportunities and challenges, for business and government, associated with technologies bringing about the “next production revolution”. These include a variety of digital technologies (e.g. the Internet of Things and advanced robotics), industrial biotechnology, 3D printing, new materials and nanotechnology. Some of these technologies are already used in production, while others will be available in the near future. All are developing rapidly. As these technologies transform the production and the distribution of goods and services, they will have far-reaching consequences for productivity, skills, income distribution, well-being and the environment. The more that governments and firms understand how production could develop in the near future, the better placed they will be to address the risks and reap the benefits.
Ecosystem-inspired enterprise modelling framework for collaborative and networked manufacturing systems
Rapid changes in the open manufacturing environment are imminent due to the increase of customer demand, global competition, and digital fusion. This has exponentially increased both complexity and uncertainty in the manufacturing landscape, creating serious challenges for competitive enterprises. For enterprises to remain competitive, analysing manufacturing activities and designing systems to address emergent needs, in a timely and efficient manner, is understood to be crucial. However, existing analysis and design approaches adopt a narrow diagnostic focus on either managerial or engineering aspects and neglect to consider the holistic complex behaviour of enterprises in a collaborative manufacturing network (CMN). It has been suggested that reflecting upon ecosystem theory may bring a better understanding of how to analyse the CMN. The research presented in this paper draws on a theoretical discussion with aim to demonstrate a facilitating approach to those analysis and design tasks. This approach was later operationalised using enterprise modelling (EM) techniques in a novel, developed framework that enhanced systematic analysis, design, and business-IT alignment. It is expected that this research view is opening a new field of investigation.
Understanding organizations and their needs for new technology has never been more challenging than in today’s high-tech business world. Enterprise managers are required to coordinate with other departmental managers, direct their personnel and solve problems along the way. Communicating new designs to IT for needed applications may not be in the manager’s skillset. When the enterprise grows rapidly or tries to compete in new areas, a set of basic diagrams illustrating common workflows may no longer accurately reflect the complex environment. What is needed is a simple method for illustrating the enterprise as a whole, interoperable structure so managers and workers alike can describe their requirements in the unique vocabulary of their industry. REBAR offers a novel approach for using key strategic and operational business documents, written in natural language, as the basis for the formal enterprise ontology. Popular semantic web standards, including RDF, FOAF and DC, provide generic terms already designed to convey the subject–predicate–object structure of natural language in a social structure. The REBAR enterprise ontology extends these existing standards, thus evolving a socio-technical model of the functional organization distilled directly from existing enterprise documents. REBAR captures the essence of the unique enterprise in a graphical application that can be queried and dynamically recombined to illustrate details of complex workplace collaborations. An enterprise ontology should unite all defined departmental functions authorized by executive enterprise managers. Additionally, findings indicate the REBAR ontology has the potential to provide a reusable structure for linking core social business functions of the enterprise to other explicit enterprise knowledge, including policies, procedures, tech manuals, training documents and project metrics. The REBAR methodology offers evidence that the enterprise is more than the sum of its parts, it is the bridge unifying explicit and tacit knowledge during work projects across the entire enterprise.
A Systematic Literature Review to Understand Cross-organizational Relationship Management and Collaboration
An increasingly dynamic, unpredictable and challenging environment leads organizations to cross their own borders and establish partnerships to other organizations for remaining competitive. This cross-organizational relationship allows participating organizations to share resources with each other and collaborate to better handle an identified opportunity for joint work. However, besides having a mutual or compatible goal, it is common that these organizations face several challenges during the partnership. The present research aims to explore the cross-organizational relationship management. To this end, this paper outlines the systematic literature review performed to understand the collaboration and relationship establishment between different organizations and organize an ICT related body of knowledge about the topic. A discussion about the findings, challenges and open issues identified from the retrieved literature is also provided to guide further work.
A sophisticated framework for strategic operating model is presented here which helps develop the IT foundation in order to execute IT-Strategy. The driving force behind the projected operating model is the need of IT alignment with business. There are key approaches used in this paper to shape our operating model: a) SOA: Service orientation approach for each phase of Enterprise Architecture, b) Governance: Automated process to govern the strategy into each enterprise application, c) Evolution: Although strategy drives enterprise architecture, it also evolves in bottom-up fashion. This operating model integrates several frameworks to lead a basis of standard and effective IT.
In an increasingly digitized environment, enterprises face new challenges. Enabled by ubiquitous Internet accessibility, people, places, and products have become more interconnected and are gradually merging into the Internet of Everything. Simultaneously, a new generation of connected customers is emerging that is establishing new requirements for the capabilities of enterprises to communicate, interact, and respond to unforeseen events. As customer satisfaction is the central source of future competitiveness, companies must initiate a transformation towards a connected enterprise. By analyzing the characteristics of the connected customer, this paper presents guidelines for enterprises to address customer needs adequately and manage their operations in the Internet of Everything. Building upon established enterprise architecture frameworks, we apply a Design Science Research procedure to derive four practical recommendations. Thus, enterprises must manage their business processes holistically, implement information systems and standards for data exchange, provide mechanisms for real-time business intelligence, and determine their optimal degree of connectivity.
This paper provides a state-of-the-art report on the usage of business capability maps in enterprise architecture management. We conducted expert interviews with 25 organizations to reveal the benefits and challenges of capability-based enterprise architecture management and evaluated 14 use cases on the feasibility and benefit of using business capability maps in practice. The results reveal increasing interest and acceptance of the approach in practice and among support organizations.
Enterprise agility, i .e., the ability of enterprises to respond to changes, is a core imperative for effective change management. It can improve operational efficiency as well as support resource optimization. Yet, it is challenging and a major concern for corporate executives. To facilitate agility, it can be useful to design modeling constructs for representing changes. Such modeling constructs can help stakeholders to represent and better understand change concepts. This research contributes by extending existing enterprise modeling approaches with new modeling constructs for representing concepts of change. These modeling constructs are integrated into a conceptual model. To demonstrate utility, we apply this meta-model to represent a real-world case study and discuss some lessons learned in this process. One major challenge faced by
Many large organizations have on-going Enterprise Architecture initiatives. Key aims include achieving more organizational agility, and to tidy up a messy portfolio of IT silo systems. A holistic approach to IT architecture has been an accepted strategy, but the results of these initiatives have been variable. An under-researched aspect is how different organizational units respond to the call for a holistic approach. In this study, we investigate how different stakeholders connected to three ongoing projects responded to the call for EA. With a qualitative approach, we identify three options of response to EA initiatives: (i) compliance with the EA strategy, (ii) loyal but isolated response, and (iii) rebel solutions. We argue for the need of a more nuanced repertoire of actions for dealing with EA, and show how these responses are useful for understanding and managing successful EA.
Information technology (IT) is at the core of digitisation of existing business models and dominates in the innovation efforts of many industries. IT has until now in many ways been regarded as exempted from the structuration and automation represented by IT. The IT4IT framework released by The Open Group in October 2015 suggests to a major change. IT has to be governed and structured along defined processes of value chains, life-cycles, service propositions, customer interaction and cost control as any other area of the organization. The purpose of this paper is to review IT4IT as a practical implementation of a Management of Technology framework and to review its perspectives and implications to the MoT society as well as the contributions it has to IT professionals, innovators and MoT practitioners. Methodologically this paper is based on an extensive case study of a large IT service provider. The IT service provider used the framework, along with other frameworks, to introduce larger degree of homogeneity of its own service “catalogues”, improved processes for navigating in the heterogeneity of its customers, and to ensure uniform processes of performance management and reporting. Methodologically this paper has been challenged by the novelty of the topic of IT4IT as only very little peer reviewed materials is available
An interoperability assessment approach based on criteria dependencies to support decision making in networked enterprises
In the networked enterprise, the interoperability is seen as a requirement for ensuring the collaboration among partners. Therefore, an assessment for identifying the enterprise's strengths and weakness regarding interoperability is paramount. It involves determining the gaps between where enterprises envision themselves in the future and the enterprises' current states. Indeed, a variety of approaches were proposed in the literature. However, based on surveys, existing methods are assessing specific aspects of interoperability and focusing only on one kind of measurement. The objective of this work is, therefore, to propose a holistic assessment approach to support the interoperability development. To do so, the criteria regarding the interoperability aspects and measurements were identified and are being formalised. The enterprise systems associated with the criteria are being modelled based on Enterprise Architecture techniques. This modelling supports the identification of existing interdependencies between criteria. Finally, case studies will be used to validate the proposed approach.
As a result of growing complexities in business processes, information systems, and the technical infrastructure, a key challenge for enterprise architecture management (EAM) is to guide stakeholders from different hierarchical levels with heterogeneous concerns. EA deliverables, such as models or frameworks, are often highly comprehensive and standardized. However, these can hardly be applied without greater adaption. Although the literature selectively covers approaches for tailoring EA deliverables closer to the concerns of affected stakeholders, these approaches are often vague or not very differentiated. In the paper at hand, we aim at introducing a stakeholder perspective to EAM research that considers stakeholder concerns on EAM across hierarchical levels. To this end, we conduct a case study: Our results show homogenous concerns among stakeholders on EA deliverables. In turn, we found different concerns on the role of EAM in applying these deliverables, dependent on the hierarchical level of stakeholders. These findings stress the necessity for a more differentiated understanding of stakeholder concerns on EAM. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for an exemplary EAM approach.
Enterprise Reference Architectures have been increasingly emerging as new standardized architectural description artefacts suitable to provide a frame of reference for a particular business domains. Used in an appropriate way, they can be a useful tool for improving enterprise architecture management practices. Whilst from a practitioners perspective several instances of such architectures have been created over the past years, little research on such artefacts has been done to date. Hence, academia still lacks a comprehensible overview of prior literature on Enterprise Reference Architectures, despite the relevance of literature reviews to knowledge advancement in any scientific field. To close this gap, in this paper we present a primer literature review on Enterprise Reference Architectures conducted following general guidelines proposed for undertaking information systems reviews. Similarly to precedent contributions addressing enterprise architecture oriented topics, we introduce a novel classification framework based on Gregor‘s theory types of information systems to structure and summarize former research. Major findings from significant studies on the topic are then identified, analysed and mapped into the referred framework. Based on the analysis and results of the review, brief suggestions to stimulate further research on the design, improvement and application of Enterprise Reference Architectures are also derived.
Enterprise architecture (EA) is an approach to improve the alignment between the organization’s business and their information technologies. It attempts to capture the status of the organizations’ business architecture, information resources, information systems, and technologies so that the gaps and weaknesses in their processes and infrastructures can be identified, and development directions planned. For this reason, EA has become a popular approach also in the public sector to increase their efficiency and ICT utilization. Yet researchers have largely ignored this context, and it seems that quite little is known about how EA is developed, implemented, or adapted in different countries and in the public sector. We thus conducted a systematic literature review to identify the major research topics and methods in studies focusing on public sector EA. We analyzed 71 identified articles from the past 15 years. Our analysis shows that the development viewpoint, case studies in developed countries, and local settings seem to form mainstream EA research in the public sector. Taken together, it seems that public sector EA is scattered, and there is no strong, single research stream. Instead the researchers conduct local case studies. This means the knowledge on EA development, implementation or adaptation, their challenges and best practices does not accumulate. There is consequently a need for more research in general, and targeted research in some specific segments.
The Failure of Success Factors: Lessons from Success and Failure Cases of Enterprise Architecture Implementation
Many Enterprise Architecture programmes fail to meet expectations. While much has been written about the factors influencing the success of EA programmes, there are few empirical investigations of the role of critical success factors (CSFs) in the success of EA programmes. This study condensed the very broad literature on CSFs for EA identifying six key CSFs that share a broad consensus in the literature. A qualitative case study was conducted to test the hypothesis that the six key CSFs would distinguish between the successful and the unsuccessful programmes. Analysis of the case study data reveals that three key CSFs associated with the use of EA tools did not distinguish between successful and unsuccessful cases while three key CSFs related to the process of EA programme implementation did so. The study concludes that success in EA programmes comes more from how architecture is practiced than what is practiced. The findings have important implications for EA suggesting that the methodological skills of architects need to be supplemented with an understanding of practice.
In order to aid organisations in the adoption of enterprise architecture (EA) best practices, maturity models have been proposed in the literature. These models offer organisational roadmaps and assessment frameworks for increasing EA maturity. However, key questions concerning the implied meaning of the term maturity in the context of these models have been left unexplored by previous research. This research, aided by the field of organisational learning, offers new insights into the implied assumptions of current EA maturity models and offers initial concepts and constructs to guide the conceptualisation, construction and refinement of enterprise maturity models.
We investigated contextual organizational ambidexterity, defined as the capacity to simultaneously achieve alignment and adaptability at a business-unit level. Building on the leadership and organization context literatures, we argue that a context characterized by a combination of stretch, discipline, support, and trust facilitates contextual ambidexterity. Further, ambidexterity mediates the relationship between these contextual features and performance. Data collected from 4,195 individuals in 41 business units supported our hypotheses.