Network Analysis in Architecture Management (NEAR)

The research project "Network Analysis in Architecture Management" (NEAR) deals with the application of network analysis methods in enterprise architecture management (EAM). The project is being implemented by the Chair of Information Systems and Social Networks at the University of Bamberg and Scape Consulting GmbH, together with other partners working in this area.

Research Focus

Today’s enterprise architectures, of which their IT landscapes form a crucial part, are often characterized by a large number of components with complex  interrelationships. This presents EAM with a range of exciting challenges. The key questions arising from these challenges are generally as follows:

  • What risks are associated with the failure of a particular component in the IT landscape?    
  • What are the possible consequences of changing a given part of the IT landscape?
  • Which elements of the IT landscape are particularly crucial and require special attention in operations and investment planning?    

In practice, these questions are mostly answered based on estimation rather than on objective criteria. In addition, individual components are often evaluated without adequate consideration to the broader context. One of the reasons for this is the lack of practical instruments and scientifically sound approaches and findings. This is where the NEAR project comes into play, the goal of which is to attain a greater scientific basis for the quantitative analysis of enterprise architectures, and to develop practice-relevant solutions for the problem domain above.

Within the research project, business and IT landscapes are viewed as networks of nodes and edges and are examined with the help of the methods spectrum of network analysis. The following overarching research questions are among those which form the focus of the research:

  • How can the application of network analysis aid the management of enterprise architectures?    
  • Can specific characteristics / aspects of elements of the enterprise architecture be approximated or adequately measured using centrality or modularity measures?
  • Can the application of such measures also support the evaluation of target architecture scenarios?    

Final Thesis Topics

In cooperation with Scape Consulting, the Chair is currently offering Masters’ and Bachelors’ topics in the field of enterprise architecture management. The following topics may be chosen for either Bachelor or Master theses.

Selected Publications

  • Santana, A., Simon, D., Kreimeyer, M., Fischbach, K., & De Moura, H. (2018, August). Deriving Viewpoints for Enterprise Architecture Analysis (forthcoming). In Proceedings of the American Conference on Information Systems.
  • Santana, A., Souza, A., Simon, D., Fischbach, K., & De Moura, H. (2017). Network Science Applied to Enterprise Architecture Analysis: Towards the Foundational Concepts. In Proceedings of Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference (EDOC), 2017 IEEE 21st International (pp. 10–19). doi: 10.1109/EDOC.2017.12
  • Santana, A., Fischbach, K., & De Moura, H. (2016). Enterprise architecture analysis and network thinking: A literature review. In Sprague R.H. & Bui T.X. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2016 (pp. 4566–4575). Grand Hyatt on the Island of KauaiKoloa, United States: IEEE Computer Society.
  • Santana, A., Kreimeyer, M., Clo, P., Fischbach, K., & De Moura, H. (2016). An empirical investigation of enterprise architecture analysis based on network measures and expert knowledge: A case from the automotive industry. In Sustainability in Modern Project Management - Proceedings (pp. 46–56). University of Sao Paulo (USP) Sao Paulo, Brazil: International Dependency and Structure Modeling Conference.
  • Santana, A., Simon, D., Fischbach, K., & De Moura, H. (2016). Combining Network Measures and Expert Knowledge to Analyze Enterprise Architecture at the Component Level. In F. Matthes, J. Mendling, & S. Rinderle-Ma (Eds.), Proceedings - 2016 IEEE 20th International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference, EDOC 2016 (pp. 30–39). Vienna, Austria: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
  • Simon, D., Fischbach, K., & Schoder, D. (2014). Enterprise architecture management and its role in corporate strategic management. Information Systems and E-Business Management12(1), 5–42.
  • Simon, D., & Fischbach, K. (2013). IT Landscape Management Using Network Analysis. In G. Poels (Ed.), Enterprise Information Systems of the Future (pp. 18–34). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Simon, D., Fischbach, K., & Schoder, D. (2013). An Exploration of Enterprise Architecture Research. Communications of the Association for Information Systems32(1), 1–72.
  • Simon, D., Fischbach, K., & Schoder, D. (2013). Integrating IT Portfolio Management with Enterprise Architecture Management. Enterprise Modelling and Information Systems Architectures8(2), 79–104.
  • Simon, D., Fischbach, K., & Schoder, D. (2010). Application Portfolio Management: An Integrated Framework and a Software Tool Evaluation Approach. Communications of the Association for Information Systems26(1), 35–56.

Project Partners

Scape Consulting GmbH is a consultancy specialized in the field of strategic management, focusing on enterprise architecture management and IT governance / IT strategy. The core competence of Scape lies in dealing with complex systems  - within IT and beyond.