Many factors affect the operation of complex dynamic systems such as enterprises. While change and, ultimately, transformation, are inherent phenomena within an enterprise system, the nonlinear dynamics associated with them are difficult to understand, model, and predict. Consequently, an understanding of emergent behavior and performance is currently limited. Drawing on the extant systems engineering, information systems/information technology, and complexity theory literature, this dissertation investigates the dynamics that underlie enterprise performance, and takes a significant step toward showing how it might be predicted. In a novel approach, a comprehensive Enterprise System Architecture (ESA) is developed that introduces separate layers for strategic and operational processes, respectively. A more specific model that dimensionalizes the enterprise system is also developed. The enterprise dimensions are constructed based on our literature review and from primary research conducted for the dissertation which incorporates the author's professional experience as an engineer, management consultant, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and private equity financier.
From this synthesis, we identify four broad dimensions that contribute to and influence enterprise performance: (1) enterprise processes, (2) technology-based support of enterprise processes [denoted information systems], (3) technology structure and deployment [denoted information technology], and (4) Enterprise Architecture (EA). The concept of maturity of an enterprise system is a novel approach and therefore has received little, if any, theoretical or practical attention. In order to fill this gap, this dissertation explores the concept in further detail via interviews with ten executives, mostly from the aerospace and defense industry. A web-base, user-centered survey of aerospace and defense industry executives was also conducted. Using data collected from these qualitative and quantitative methods, we evaluate our conceptual model by empirically determining a value for each dimension of maturity and individually assessing them as predictors of enterprise performance. The maturity of our ESA is calculated as the weighted summation of each of dimensional maturity, and is also evaluated as a predictor of enterprise performance.
Results indicate that ESA maturity, the weighted summation of process maturity, information systems maturity, information technology maturity, and enterprise architecture maturity, is a good predictor of enterprise performance. In order to provide some practical utility to our empirical results, we outline an ESA maturity assessment framework to enable decision-makers to assess the overall maturity of an enterprise system. Two other extensions of our research results, the development of a strategic layer analysis/portrayal tool, and enterprise system simulation, are also briefly described.