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Research

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A key enabler for the research agenda for the College of Information Sciences and Technology Center for Enterprise Architecture is the Engaged Scholarship model. It emphasizes problem identification from practice and multi-modal investigations such as observation + explanation or design with action. A hallmark of engaged scholarship is the multiple round-trips from theory to practice as well as practice to theory where industry participants are actively engaged with university researchers.

Contributing Discipline and Profession

The practice of enterprise architecture (EA) is not new and can be traced to at least the 1980s. Defining and tackling research problems related to EA therefore requires active collaboration with EA practitioners from multiple professions as well as drawing on a number of traditional disciplines such as software engineering and organization science as well as specific research streams such as project management and change management. Generating cogent and enduring research themes related to EA is itself a challenge because it requires combining perspectives from different disciplines and integrating their diverse theoretical foundations,value systems and research approaches.

A Holistic Approach

The research agenda and themes for the Center for EA are driven by a holistic perspective that breaks down silos across traditonal disciplines and leverages the Engaged Scholarship model. They reflect a spectrum of enduring concerns shaped by our industry partners since 2009.

Research Areas

The research themes reflect enduring concerns that can be traced to significant research streams as well as burning questions that the profession faces today.

As the practice of EA evolves, work practices of EA professionals change their appropriation of frameworks shifts and new patterns of negotiation among organizational units emerge. This theme is aimed at tracking such changes and generating projections that professionals may find useful. Examples of research questions in this theme include:

  • What is the state of the art in value metrics for EA programs?
  • What is the state of the art in measuring the goodness of EA models?
  • How do stakeholder relationships evolve during EA efforts?
  • How are stakeholder relationships managed during EA efforts?
  • What are the key styles and patterns in the current practice of EA?
  • What are the trends for EA framework usage?

Problems from practice perceived, observed or anticipated need solutions. These can take the form of templates, approaches, techniques and tools among others. This theme is aimed at generating such solutions or foundations that can lead to such solutions. Work in this theme, therefore draws on several contributing disciplines. Examples of research questions in this theme include:

  • What are the key dimensions of EA styles and patterns?
  • How can they be modeled and combined as needed?
  • Which knowledge-sharing models can be used and are useful for EA, and how?
  • How project portfolios can be prioritized for the purpose of coordinating EA efforts?
  • How can negotiation and communication practices for EA be improved?
  • How can conceptual models and ontologies be used for better communication during EA projects?
  • How can EA practices be successfully applied to areas outside of IT?

Successful EA practice requires the ability to self-assess and course-correct. Measures and modes of measurement are therefore essential for the growth of the profession and discipline of EA. This theme is aimed at generating such tools and techniques. Examples of research questions in this theme include:

  • What is a viable metric-suite for measuring value of EA programs?
  • How can metrics and baselines be generated for such a metric-suite?
  • What is a viable metric-suite for measuring the quality of EA models?
  • How should EA-related organizational maturity be measured?
  • How should large EA-projects be managed to ensure success?
  • How can career paths be provided for aspiring EA professionals?