IT-Architecture as Enabler of Business Processes

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2011

18 Pages, Grade: 2,3


Table of contents

Table of figures

List of abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 Definitions
2.1 IT-Architecture
2.2 Business Process
2.3 Enterprise IT-Architecture

3 IT-Architecture
3.1 Influential factors to IT-Architecture
3.2 Structure of IT-Architecture
3.2.1 Applicationarchitecture
3.2.2 Informationarchitecture
3.2.3 Business system architecture
3.2.4 Technicalarchitecture
3.3 From IT-Architecture to Enterprise Architecture

4 IT-Architecture and business processes
4.1 EnterpriseApplication Integration
4.2 Service oriented Architecture
4.2.1 WebServices

5 Resume and perspective

List of references

Table of figures

Figure 1: Factors influencing IT-Architecture

Figure 2: IT-Architecture components

Figure 3: SOA and business processes

Figure 4: Business process across distributed Systsems with Web Services

List of abbreviations

Illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

For many companies the incorporating oftheir business processes into the existing IT-Landscape becomes a great challenge. In the majority of cases the existing mod­els for business processes were developed by non-technical business analysts, who do not usually consider the limitations, concurrency, granularity or interaction models of the existing IT-Landscape.

In times of dynamically changing markets and the progressive motion towards glob­alization in companies, it is increasingly important for companies to adapt their IT- Landscape and business processes to changing conditions.

For this reason, this assignment will provide an overview of the importance the IT- Architecture, which enables and supports business processes. In addition it will give an insight to the service oriented architecture and it's meaning in this context.

The main target ofthis assignment is to explain which technologies are available to adapt the IT-Landscape to dynamically changing requirements in companies and how IT-Architecture enables business processes to respond to these changing re­quirements.

2 Definitions

In this chapter the basic definitions are given, to get a common understanding of the terminology, which is used in this assignment.

2.1 IT-Architecture

To define what an IT-Architecture is, the ISO/IEC 42010-2007 (Systems and software engineering - Architecture description) tells us it is:

„The fundamental organization of a system, embodied in its components, their rela­tionships to each other an the environment, and the principles governing its design and evolution. Practically it is represented in architectural descriptions from the viewpoints of the stakeholders."1

So an IT-Architecture based on this definition is a framework, which describes the structure of an IT-System and its interfaces to other software components in a company. These interfaces can be to other IT-Systems but also to business process­es. If an IT-Architecture describes interfaces to the business processes of a compa­ny, we can say that this IT-Architecture enables business processes.

2.2 Business Process

Business processes are essential to understand how companies operate. They play an important role in the realization of flexible IT-Systems, and consequently also for IT-Architecture. This assignment deals with business processes. There are many definitions for business processes. For this assignment I will use the following defini­tion: „A business process consists of a set of activities that are performed in coordination in an organizational and technical environment. These activities jointly realize a business goal. Each business process is enacted by a single organization, but it may interact with business processes performed by other organizations."2

Based on this definition, we can see that companies interact with business partners to construct a network. This is why it is necessary that a company's IT-Architecture enables business processes beyond corporate limits.

2.3 Enterprise IT-Architecture

Ifan IT-Architecture supports or enables the business processes of a company, it is called enterprise IT-Architecture. So we can define enterprise IT-Architecture as follows:

„Enterprise IT-Architecture is the organizing logic for business processes and its in­frastructure"3

Taking this definition further, we can see that the topic of IT-Architecture as enabler of business processes is not new. However the still unresolved problem is the flexi­ble implementation of an IT-Architecture and the degree of support for business processes. In the most companies there is still great potential for improvement in these areas.

3 IT-Architecture

This chapter gives an overview of IT-Architecture. It explains the structure and the individual components of an IT-Architecture. Furthermore, we will see the different influential factors an IT-Architecture must react to.

In the last section of this chapter will show how IT-Architecture can support or ena­ble business processes.

3.1 Influential factors to IT-Architecture

Illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Factors influencing IT-Architecture4

Figure 1 represents the major factors, which influence the IT-Architecture. We can see that the IT-Architecture has to react to many dynamically changing factors. These factors are technology trends, customer requirements, competition and the business. The business should be treated as the main influential factor for the IT- Architecture; however, because, when an IT-Architecture supports the business

process in a optimal way it can provide a major competitive advantage for a com­pany. Related to this advantage, the value creation can be increased.5 Of course, the other factors should not be neglected, but this assignment concen­trates on the business factor.

3.2 Structure of IT-Architecture

Illustration not visible in this excerpt6

In figure 2 we see that the IT-Architecture consist of many architectural disciplines. Each ofthese sub architectures stand in interaction with each other.

This interaction works both ways: On the one hand, to design an IT-Architecture that enables business processes, it is necessary that the business architecture sets requirements for the conception of the IT-Architecture. On the other hand, the business architecture has to include the possibilities and restrictions of the IT- Architecture.


1 Schönbächler, M. et al., 2011,p.15

2 Weske, M„ 2007, p. 5

3 Perks et al., 2003, C., p. 341

4 Own representation according to N.u. 2011

5 cf. N.u. 2011

6 Own representation

Excerpt out of 18 pages


IT-Architecture as Enabler of Business Processes
AKAD University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart
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SOA, IT-Architecture, Business Processes, Enterprise Architecture WebServices, AKAD, IMG03
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Florian Kurtz (Author), 2011, IT-Architecture as Enabler of Business Processes, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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