“Research by Atos Consulting’s Trends Institute shows that the strategic added value of Enterprise Architecture is undervalued”

Utrecht, 1 February 2007

Atos Consulting, the business consulting arm of Atos Origin, reveals that less than half of all Dutch businesses use Enterprise Architecture for strategic or proactive initiatives, although this is its primary purpose. That is one of the striking conclusions from a study that Atos Consulting's Trends Institute has carried out into Enterprise Architecture. Although an Enterprise Architecture is highly important for being able to make the most of new developments, the majority of companies underestimate its strategic value. A practically-oriented approach targeted at structural solutions can provide the answer. Close to 120 Dutch organisations from the governmental and commercial sectors took part in the survey.

The aim of an Enterprise Architecture is to streamline the redesign of business processes, information and IT. The interrelationships between these elements are crucial, since information and IT play a major role in almost any change to the business - particularly when business processes are being standardised or data is being exchanged between departments.

In practice, however, this is hardly ever done. Although most organisations acknowledge that an Enterprise Architecture is an important precondition for staying a step ahead of new developments, most managers see it as something that applies exclusively to the IT department. Only a quarter describe business processes, information and IT in a mutually cohesive way. The other respondents do produce architectures or models, but the cohesiveness between them is completely insufficient. Additionally, a majority of them use this architecture primarily for day-to-day problems; less than half utilise the Enterprise Architecture for the realisation of strategic objectives. This is surprising, since the respondents do see it as a precondition for tackling strategic problems such as inconsistent customer services, poorly integrated provision of information and excessive IT complexity.

‘Think big, act small'
The activities of most organisations so far are aimed primarily at concentrating services into shared service centres, implementing ERP packages and integrating processes and applications (Enterprise Application Integration). Conversely, the realisation of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a low priority. The conclusion of Atos Consulting's Trends Institute is that an approach rooted in daily practice and targeted at structural solutions – ‘Think big, act small' – can provide an answer. The Enterprise Architecture is used principally as a means of communication in this case for gradually implementing improvements, making use of appropriate decision-making structures.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues are EUR 5.5 billion and it employs over 47,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Euronext Market Solutions, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

About Atos Consulting
Atos Consulting, the global consulting practice of Atos Origin, is a leading provider of business, process and technology consulting services. With more than 2,500 staff globally, it focuses on delivering proven, pragmatic solutions to the telecom, manufacturing, financial services and public sectors.

For more information:
Marianne Hewlett
+ 31 30 299 50 06
marianne.hewlett@atosorigin.com

José de Vries
+ 33 1 55 91 24 53
jose.devries@atosorigin.com