Thesis subject


Cloud computing is currently in the interest, it is in the top quadrant of the Gartner hype cycle (Gartner, 2009) regarding application architecture. As many organizations look to Gartner regarding trends, it is expected that Cloud computing will make its appearance in more organizations. While expectations are probably too high.


Figure 1 Hype Cycle for Application Architecture, 2009 (Gartner, 2009)

Cloud computing is about hiding complexity by using services from which are managed by someone else. This can be done at 3 different levels infrastructure, platform and software level. The cloud providers make their profit trough economies of scale, the consumers on the other side pay less then what they did when they managed the service by themselves and they can scale there computing power when they need it.

Next to cloud computing enterprise architecture is a field of expertise which is getting more and more important because enterprises are getting more complex and has to deal with complicated legislation and rule which need to be flexible(Zachman, 1987). Enterprise architecture is the expertise which organizes and designs an Enterprise is such a manner that it is aligned with the strategy .

This thesis investigates the impact the usage of the Software level of cloud computing on enterprise architecture. With the results of this investigation a substantiated decision on the use of SaaS can be made.

Research problem

Currently, many companies are interested in using cloud computing capabilities, but they do not know where to expect effects when choosing for the cloud computing concept (Joint, 2009). In practice there are two distinct groups one group tries to use cloud computing, and the other group is so discouraged by the stories in the media about security and availability that they ignore the phenomenon.

When it is more clear for companies what the effects are of cloud computing are, and how these could be tackled be more transparent about the effects of cloud computing could be a more informed choice about using cloud computing for certain functionality. As the cloud computing platform is very broad, this research will focus on the highest layer in the cloud computing model, namely SaaS, this is the layer which fully functional business applications are offered.

The problem is that the effects of cloud computing for the enterprise architecture are not clear for companies

Research question

To provide an answer to companies that play with the idea of using Cloud computing, but are discouraged by the feeling that there is little knowledge about the impact this concept. This study will assess the impact of Cloud computing on the architecture of a enterprise, which the coherence of a function within an organization design and construction assures.

What are the effects of the usage of cloud computing on the enterprise architecture?

For the research question there are sub-questions defined that help to oversee the steps to achieve a similar answer the research question.

The sub research questions are:

  • What is enterprise architecture?
    • How can the impact on the structured enterprise architecture are identified?
      • What is the Zachman framework?
  • What is cloud computing?


Within this study the impact of cloud computing on the enterprise architecture is investigated, this is done based on the Zachman framework. As a result of this study it is expected that the impact of Cloud computing, in particular "directly" impacts the shaded cells below the Zachman framework (Hypothesis 1). It is noted that due to the need for consistency in the cells the influence of cloud computing is reflected in the other cells (Hypothesis 2).

As a result of this study logically can be expected that the effects seen only in the functioning and as build layer because those were an implementation of the wishes of the organization. As SaaS cloud computing has effects in the upper layers it would mean that the business adapts to the potential of ICT. This means that the company follows a technology strategy, without being aware of it ((Venkatraman, 1993). This can create a mismatch between the desired and the obtained functionality.

The expectation is that the effects occur in the physical, construction and function-layer rings. In these layers run the systems, modules and applications which is determined by the SaaS provider how it works. Also, part of the logical layer are partly affected by SaaS providers offer limited freedom in organizing their services. They need to offer their services to multiple customers, allowing the precise tailoring of services cannot be realized.


Research structure

To conduct this research firstly the theoretical model was developed based on the theory on cloud computing and the Zachman framework. Next to the theory the model was expanded with explorative case studies. Based on the model a validation was performed with help of 3 organizations who adopted cloud computing for their core business processes.


Figure 2 Research structure



Gartner (2009). Hype Cycle for Application Architecture, 2009.

Zachman, J. (1987). A framework for information systems architecture. IBM SYSTEMS JOURNAL, 26(3).

Joint, A. B., E.; Eccles, E. (2009). Hey, you, get off of that cloud? Computer Law & Security Review, 25(3), 270-274.

Venkatraman, J. ะก. H. N. (1993). Strategic alignment: Leveraging information technology for transforming organizations. IBM SYSTEMS JOURNAL, 32(1).

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