Computer & IT

Creating A Strategic IT Architecture Competency

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Assessment Type


Word Count

1300 words


2 Days

Assignment Criteria

  1. Describe why IT Architecture Competency is important in the study (Ross 2003). 4 Marks
  2. Discuss the relevance of Four IT Architecture Stages in the study. 8 Marks
  3. Explain how the organisational competencies change across the architecture stages.  8 Marks

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Assignment Solution

Importance of the IT Architecture Competency

According to Ross, enterprise IT architecture competencies are the ability of an organization to the couple and align business strategy and IT capabilities. One of the main objectives in the process of designing an enterprise IT architecture is to develop technological capabilities. Considering the prevailing business environment and organization setup, the expected end result is to develop IT capabilities to support business strategy and vice versa. In order to achieve this, companies have to develop an enterprise IT architecture competency framework. This competency framework is designed to dynamically incorporate technologies as well as business strategies according to the changing external and internal business conditions. 

This study explores the four stages of enterprise IT architecture maturity and how each stage increases the competency of IT architecture in the organization. Each stage requires different organizational competencies for the implementation of an architecture model and for navigating to the next stage. Organizational competency for each stage is developed from the lessons learnt through previous architecture model implemented in the organization. Organizational learning in each architecture stage assists companies in understanding the benefits of each stage and positioning themselves for the next stage. According to Ross's study, companies that passed over any of the four stages of IT architecture experienced a delay in accomplishing benefits or back off to regain the missed learning opportunity for deriving a competency.

It is observed that though there are differences among companies such as industry, culture, IT requirements and organizational structure, their experiences are similar during an enterprise IT architecture design and implementation and leveraging its benefits. Key competencies that are identified in this study are planning and design, funding, standards and project management. These competencies are in direct correlation with the benefits realized from IT architecture. (Weill, Ross, & Robertson, 2006). Thus, IT architecture competency is important for the project as well as business as a whole.

2. The relevance of Four IT Architecture Stages

The four IT architecture stages mentioned in this study are application silo architecture, standardized technology architecture, rationalized data architecture and modular architecture. (Harbott, 2011) (Ross, 2003)

Stages of IT Architecture

Stage 1 – Application silo architecture

The focus of this stage is on local business units or functional requirements. IT is involved in automating or facilitating specific processes. Technology standards are not adopted at this level. 

Stage 2 – Standardized technology architecture

The focus area is shared infrastructure development. The number of technology platforms used is reduced resulting in lesser operational costs. Technology standards are set up in this stage increasing level of reliability.

Stage 3 – Rationalized data architecture

The focus is on the enterprise level. Data optimization is the key to change management. This stage involves standardization of processes and IT applications.

Stage 4 – Modular architecture

The focus is to create global enterprise-wide flexibility of applications. This involves bringing together different modules through a standard interface.

Companies and Stages of IT Architecture Implementation

Successful business entities move through the above stages of IT architecture maturity. In the 1990s, IT focused on specific functional or departmental needs. This resulted in loads of overhead and support requirements. From a monetary perspective, silo architecture involved higher costs and level of complexity was also high.

As complex silo technologies are difficult to manage and unable to support enterprise-level growth, companies opted for a standardized approach. Currently, most of the companies are implementing standardized technology.

Many advanced companies are following a rationalized approach. The organization is viewed holistically and IT and other business functions work as partners. 

Few companies have entered this business modularity stage. In this stage, business processes and technologies are coupled as modules and are reused across the organization wherever necessary. Reusable modules increase the efficiency of IT architecture and combination increases agility. As the architecture uses both business unit specific processes and standardized processes at this stage, organizations should have knowledge about processes and its mix.

Requirements for IT Architecture Stage Transitions

Transitioning from stage 1 to stage 2 is now easier as IT personnel, consultants and vendors are well aware of the procedures involved in platform standardization. The difficulty arises for companies moving from stage 2 to stage 3, as it requires accountability across business functions and change management at the organizational level. Navigating to stage 4 is further difficult, as it required a redefinition of the entire business processes at both global and enterprise levels.

Moving from stage 1 to stage 2 is carried out by the IT team and the return on investment is measured by cost reduction from the lesser number of platforms. However, moving from stage 3 to stage 4 requires developing business processes catering to all the business function and the return on investment is measured by enterprise agility.

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