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Previously, business operations of most large companies were supported by a number of isolated software systems performing diverse specific tasks, from real-time process control to administrative functions. In order to better achieve business goals, these systems have in recent years been extended, and more importantly, integrated into a company-wide system in its own right, the enterprise software system. Due to its history, this system is composed of a considerable number of heterogeneous and poorly understood components interacting by means of equally diverse and confusing connectors. To enable informed decision-making, the Chief Information Officer (CIO), responsible for the overall evolution of the company's enterprise software system, requires management tools. This paper proposes enterprise software system architecture (ESSA) as a foundation for an approach for managing the company's software system portfolio. In order to manage the overwhelming information amounts associated with the enterprise software system, this approach is based on two concepts. Firstly, the approach explicitly relates the utility of knowledge to the cost of its acquisition. The utility of knowledge is derived from the increased value of better-informed decision-making. The cost of knowledge acquisition is primarily related to the resources spent on information searching. Secondly, the approach focuses on ensuring the consistency of the architectural model.