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ICT Architectures


Course description

This course is about the process of creating an ICT strategy and more in particular about the use of architectures as part of the ICT strategy. The use of the term Architecture may be confusing in this context, so we will call it a Digital Architecture to mean an architecture in the digital world as opposed to the physical world.

The term Architecture in the digital world is a confusing term, because it is used in different forms and with different purposes. We will distinguish three fundamentally different types of architectures: an enterprise architecture, a software architecture and a service oriented architecture. The enterprise architecture represents a long term view of a company’s processes, systems and technologies, and guides a company through stages of maturity. A software architecture represents the fundamental organization of individual software solutions. The concepts of a service oriented architecture provide important theoretical notions on which both enterprise and software architectures can be built.

The objective of this course is to understand these different forms of digital architectures, and how these architectures support the implementation of a company’s ICT strategy, and ultimately help to build a solid foundation for business execution.

Throughout this course, practical cases will be presented to illustrate the application of architectures in practice. The last hour of every lecture is dedicated to applying and illustrating the theoretical models to practical cases, and to work on the assignments for this course.

As an individual assignment, each student will have to develop an ICT strategy document, with a core enterprise architecture, for an organization of his/her choice. This individual assignment will be graded.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, the student should be able to: – Understand the process and products of ICT strategy and the relationship with a company’s overall strategy – Understand the most important technological developments and how these technologies may affect corporate strategy – Understand the goals and value of digital architectures within the ICT strategy process – Understand the difference between enterprise architecture, software architecture and service oriented architecture – Understand the concepts of a service oriented architecture, both in business and technical terms – Apply the presented frameworks and management tools to a practical situation (a case description).

Texts and other materials

The material for this course consists of – a set of papers and articles – the slide handouts

For the part on service oriented architecture, the following textbooks are used – Enterprise Architecture as Strategy, Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, David C. Robertsons, Harvard Business Press, 2006 – SOA in practice, Nicolai M. Josuttis. O’Reilly 2007


Exam: 75%
Individual assignments: 25%
Attendance and active class participation is required to pass this course.