The development of Information Technology Architectures (ITAs) and their contribution to organisational responsiveness
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Business
Throughout the 1990s MIS executives consistently reported that building a responsive IT infrastructure was their number one key concern. The importance of information technology architectures, and the problems associated with the lack of them, is widely reported in the practitioner literature and surveys. Recent reports indicate that the problem of integrating legacy business applications into an e-Business (e-B) system, is the major impediment to more wide-scale use of e-B. 'The value of the technical architecture I think is immense. You just have to look back at the investment decisions that have been made in our, or any, organisation. Hindsight is always easy, but I can tell you we have spent many millions of dollars over the last three years on technologies that were simply incorrect at the time or have been proved incorrect today, because the people who made those decisions did not have an understanding of how those technologies related to the business ... Frankly we could have developed 5 or 10 technical architectures for the same cost. The value of a technical architecture is immeasurable, and the cost by comparison, I believe, is almost trivial. It is so significantly valuable to the organisation that I cannot conceive in the modern age of any organisation going forward without a technical architecture'. Video accompanying (Price, 1998) However, despite the obvious importance ofiTAs to the IS practitioner community, the academic IS literature in this area is scant. This paper first attempts to outline what IT As are and how they contribute to organisational responsiveness and agility. It goes on to describe, by reference to a specific ITA planning and implementation process- The Open Group's Architectural Framework or 'TOGAF'- how an enterprise could go about creating and implementing an organisationally appropriate ITA.