Frank Harmsen, Maastricht University and Ernst & Young Advisory, The Netherlands, email@example.com
Robert Lagerström, KTH – Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephan Aier, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, email@example.com
Modern day enterprises, be they businesses, organizations, or government departments, are in a constant state of flux. New technologies, new markets, globalization, mergers, acquisitions, et cetera are among the “usual suspects” requiring enterprises to transform themselves to deal with these challenges and new realities.
Enterprises therefore need to transform themselves regularly to meet these new challenges, while senior management of these enterprises needs to make conscious decisions about the future design of “their” enterprise and the path to “get there”. Such transformations may range from changes in value propositions and business processes, via changes to the information systems used to support the business processes, to changes of the underlying IT infrastructures.
Since most real world transformations are large, they need to be divided into smaller “chunks”, typically in terms of programs and projects. This raises the need for a coordination mechanism between these “chunks” to safeguard that these “chunks” all contribute towards the strategic goals set for the transformation as a whole. Even more, this coordination mechanism should also pay particular attention to the much-needed cohesion/alignment between different aspects of an enterprise, such as business processes, human resourcing, the support of business activities by information systems, and the underlying IT infrastructures.
Traditional project/program management does not provide such coordination, as it focuses on typical project parameters such as budgets, resource use, deadlines, et cetera. As a result, projects are “invited” to conduct local optimizations within their own local parameters. As a consequence, the results of these projects may actually not contribute to (or even hamper) the overall transformation goals. An instrument that has been positioned as a means to coordinate enterprise transformations is enterprise architecture management. While enterprise architecture management should indeed be regarded as a potential means to coordinate transformations, it is also necessary to look beyond a specific means. Rather than taking enterprise architecture as a starting point, it is necessary to first understand the need for enterprise transformations to be coordinated. Should it be an a-priori “design first” style of coordination, or should it be a style allowing/enabling emergence, while using an “on demand” style of coordinating.
Enterprise transformation and information systems
The information systems (IS) discipline is commonly understood to be an integration discipline of people, IT artefacts, and (organizational) tasks. From an integration perspective, “run IS” and “change IS” need to be differentiated because these lenses focus on different phenomena and artefacts. Enterprise transformation is clearly positioned in the “change IS” perspective. Many IS practitioners will find themselves working in a context of enterprise transformation. It is undeniable that in modern day enterprises, business strategy, business processes and their supporting information systems have nearly “fused”. Therefore, it is useful to broaden the scope from analyzing and designing specific artefact change (IS development, BPM) towards a more integral view, where business model change, business process change, and innovative IT artefacts are analyzed and designed not only from an isolated project perspective, but rather from an enterprise-wide perspective.
Florian Matthes, Technical University of München, Germany
José Tribolet, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
Robert Winter, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Selmin Nurcan, University of Paris 1, France
Stefan Strecker, FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany
Wolfgang Molnar, Public Research Centre Henri Tudor, Luxembourg