Critical facts

American Express, located in New York City, was founded in 1850 ( Corporate Profile, 2015 ) . It is one of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( Corporate Profile, 2015 ) . American provides services such as recognition cards, charge cards, and traveler’s cheques ( Corporate Profile, 2015 ) . American Express cards account for 24 % of recognition card minutess in the U.S. ( Corporate Profile, 2015 ) . Harmonizing to the company’s 10k, the company generates $ 33 billion in gross and over $ 5 billion in income. The company’s entire assets are over $ 150 billion. American Express has one of the largest Information technology substructures and is able to manage an highly high figure of minutess each 2nd ( Demirkan, 2006 ) .

In 2011, the company won the first one-year InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Award for its EA enterprises ( Knorr, 2011 ) . American Express chose to utilize an Enterprise Architecture ( EA ) as their IT model that aligned their concern and organisational demands to their information engineering. Enterprise designers were the employees responsible for utilizing this model to continuously do their procedures more efficient and using their IT/IS to the fullest extent ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013 ) .


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I will be analysing the success of American Express’s Enterprise Architecture, how Zachman Framework is used to construction the EA, and how this improved their existing service-oriented architecture ( SOA ) . Changes in the manner that nomadic payments were being used by their clients, the company had to be flexible and adapt to the transmutation. New bringing channels required American Express to set their anterior time-to-market guidelines for payment services ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013 ) . The company turned to its Enterprise Architecture ( EA ) to steer them through the current market conditions.

The chance that American Express saw was to utilize EA to run into the demands for a hurriedly altering environment. EA is a complex model of stiff criterions for developing an IT architecture and substructure that provides a design of how the IS of a company relates to the concerns and procedures ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013 ) . The architecture analyzes a great trade of the company, identifies core procedures and how they work together, and so form how concern units will interact and how IT will supply support ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013.

The EA includes the Core concern procedures, shared informations, linking/automating engineerings, and client groups ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013 ) , with cardinal constituents like the ability to make concern efficaciously while using new payment methods and nomadic devices ( Knor, 2011 ) . Though an EA can assist form a company in a meaningful manner, there are besides possible drawbacks, which are discussed below.

Zachman Framework is a tool that can be used to obtain the cognition about itself with Enterprise architecture. It is a logical construction that classifies and organizes the descriptive representations of an endeavor ( Pereira, Marques and Sousa, 2004 ) . The model integrates and aligns the IT substructure and concern ends ( Nogueira etc. Al, 2011 ) . Whereas an EA is used to document and develop the organisational information for American Express, the company uses the Zachman model methodological analysis to implement the EA.

Zachman proposed the model for IT architecture so that all of the IS architectures are depicted from top to bottom. It uses a matrix to supply a criterion to guarantee information environments are decently integrated ( Nogueira etc. Al, 2011 ) . The 5 functions included in the model are Planner, Owner, Designer, Builder, and Subcontractor.

The EA provided several good things to the company. The EA system streamlined American Express’s procedures, even as they were invariably re-analyzing how their concern was being performed with the added elaboratenesss of new bringing channels ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013 ) . The employment of their endeavor architecture was cardinal to accommodating to this new concern environment the company now found itself in. The endeavor designers worked closely with other sections and were able to both standardise applications throughout the organisation and assist make the schemes for each division. The Zachman model positively assisted in the execution by replying the inquiries: What ( information ) , How ( map ) , Where ( web ) , Who ( people ) , When ( clip ) and Why ( motive ) . It helped indicate out the information needed for the EA and their relationships ( Nogueira etc. Al, 2011 ) .

The schemes they helped make involved enterprises for each concern, along with their IT support, that aligned good with the overall concern program of the organisation. These enterprises, referred to as “road maps, ” standardized their tools, architectures, administration, capablenesss, and many other procedures ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013 ) . Three types of roadmaps in peculiar were used by American Express: Technology, mention architecture, and utility/capability. The three roads maps all used a consistent lifecycle direction criterion and a standardised architecture administration procedure.

Another helpful facet of the system included the flexibleness that EA provided, which worked good with their existing architecture service-oriented architecture ( SOA ) . SOA is an architecture type where larger package plans are broken down into services connected to each other via orchestration ( Pearlson and Sanders, 2013 ) . The services work together to organize a concern procedure, making an agile, reclaimable system for making applications. The bing package constituents can be modified to rapidly construct applications in a quickly altering environment like the one American Express was sing. The endeavor designers assisted in the company’s SOA with an accent on reclaimable public-service corporations and constituents ( Demirkan, 2006 ) . This system is ideal for a quickly altering environment such as the one American Express was sing.

Though SOA is a widely-used engineering that can increase the IS’s legerity, flexibleness and interoperability between applications, there are besides drawbacks, including the economic and forces resources ( Choi, Nazareth and Jain, 2010 ) . SOA can cut down IT costs and increase the company’s return on IT investing, nevertheless the short-run demands to implement SOA could outweigh long-run benefits ( Choi, Nazareth and Jain, 2010 ) .

There are besides some drawbacks to implementing an Enterprise Architecture, including the cost of execution, the hazard of stakeholders’ involuntariness to accept it, and the new EA non matching to the concern ends. When implementing SOA or EA, the full IS organisation is affected, along with the concern alliance ( Choi, Nazareth and Jain, 2010 ) . Using a Zachman model to implement the EA defined the engagement of stakeholders, every bit good alining the EA ends with the concern ends, which alleviated much of the hazard of implementing the EA. The Zachman model helped to avoid the hazard that the architecture was non a tantrum for the employees and clients.

In decision, the execution of an EA is a complex enterprise, but was a necessary 1 for American Express to hold the necessary tools to form and document the whole endeavor, leting them to rapidly and expeditiously alteration with the ever-changing concern environment and client demands. The Zachman Framework assisted in the execution of the EA, and the company’s SOA gave it the coveted legerity needed to run into the customers’ needs.


My recommendation is that American Express’s continue to utilize the legerity of their SOA to maintain up with the altering environment. Their current EA was a great architecture that fit in absolutely with their concern scheme. Traveling frontward, American Express will go on to utilize their extremely efficient EA to run into the industry demands that they and their clients will confront. The EA has worked good for them therefore far, and should transport on as the ideal architecture of the house in the close hereafter.

American Express will go on to confront challenges beyond the near-term hereafter and necessitate re-analyze the state of affairs prior to sing another inspection and repair of their current substructure. Many companies fail when trying to implement an endeavor architecture. An EA will frequently neglect if it is regarded as a separate enterprise ( Lohe, 2014 ) , but American Express used it as a driver of their concern and embedded it into their corporate scheme. Per the drawbacks noted supra, this is a big and potentially dearly-won project. The legerity of their current SOA and EA should let the company to accommodate future challenges and they should non hotfoot into an architecture inspection and repair.

Furthermore, I would urge utilizing this system to its fullest possible by encompassing the altering environment every bit much as possible. They can derive an border on their rivals by concentrating on nomadic payments, new payment methods, and the newest inventions and engineerings their clients are exposed to. The technological environment is invariably altering with new payment methods like Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Due to their EA, American Express is in premier place to accept these new methods as they develop.


Choi, J. , Nazareth, D. L. , & A ; Jain, H. K. ( 2010 ) . Implementing Service-Oriented Architecture in Organizations. Journal Of Management Information Systems, 26 ( 4 ) , 253-286.

Corporate Profile. ( 2015, January 1 ) . Retrieved February 22, 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: // iid=102700

Demirkan, H. , & A ; Goul, M. ( 2006 ) . AMCIS 2006 PANEL SUMMARY: TOWARDS THE SERVICE ORIENTED ENTERPRISE VISION: BRIDGING INDUSTRY AND ACADEMICS.Communications Of The Association For Information Systems, 18546-556.

Knor, E. ( 2011, September 19 ) . The 2011 Enterprise Architecture Awards. Retrieved February 22, 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Lohe, J. , & A ; Legner, C. ( 2014 ) . Get the better ofing execution challenges in endeavor architecture direction: a design theory for architecture-driven IT Management ( ADRIMA ) . Information Systems & A ; E-Business Management, 12 ( 1 ) , 101-137. doi:10.1007/s10257-012-0211-y

Nogueira, J. M. , Romero, D. , Espadas, J. , & A ; Molina, A. ( 2013 ) . Leveraging the
Zachman model execution utilizing action – research methodological analysis – a instance survey: alining the endeavor architecture and the concern ends. Enterprise Information Systems, 7 ( 1 ) , 100-132. doi:10.1080/17517575.2012.678387

Pearlson, K. ( 2001 ) . Organizational Strategy and Information Systems. In Pull offing and utilizing information systems: A strategic attack. New York: J. Wiley & A ; Sons.

Pereira, C. M. , & A ; Sousa, P. ( 2004 ) . A method to specify an endeavor architecture utilizing the zachman frameworkdoi: hypertext transfer protocol: //


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