Role of Enterprise Architecture Practice in Managing Todays Technology Trends

With the advent of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytic and Cloud) stack Enterprise Architecture practice has become more crucial for the long term performance and profitability of any organization. According to Gartner, the three top technology trends themes that are beginning to impact all organizations in every industry are: The merging of real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift. Today’s organizations need a well operated Enterprise Architecture practice to manage the effects of these technology trends. Organizations will be forced to invest in these technologies either by choice to get competitive edge or keep the pace of growth. Traditional organizations have no choice but to invest in these technology trends to compete with start-ups ready to disrupt their business or to protect their market shares from their competitors. In any case these trends touch all functions and units within an organization. Areas of direct and in-direct impact include business strategy, governance, organization structure, business processes, organization’s data assets and management resources, application portfolio, applications and Infrastructure technology architecture. To successfully manage this new change, companies need to have an operational and somewhat mature Enterprise Architecture practice.

There are few focus areas within the EA practice that needs to be well planned and orchestrated for the practice to successfully manage these trends in this new era of technology disruption.

  1. EA practice needs to have a well-defined practice mission and organizational structure.
  2. Practice needs to have a great communication plan. Most of the EA practice can’t show value to the business due to poor communication plan. Practice needs to design organizational specific scorecards templates for the stakeholders in the organization. The Chief Architect needs to pick matrices based on the organization structure and available data to be effective.
  3. There needs to be a solid Governance structure. Governance bodies and structure should be established with correct stakeholders involved. Contracts and processes have to be in place to make sure 80-90% compliance is achieved.
  4. Organization wide Project Engagement frame needs to be adapted. There should be clear guidelines and techniques for project engagement. Proper support and artifices should be created for the project teams so they can achieve maximum Enterprise Architecture compliance.
  5. Based on the EA frame work chosen a well thought out plan needs to put in place for architectural Migration with full executive support. Gap analysis need to be done by an outside vendor to get the maximum value. Short term strategic road maps needs to be defined and tactical moves need to carefully executed to get the maximum benefits. According to Gardner the biggest issues most organization will face in the era of digitalization is in the area of IT portfolio management. EA practice should concentrate and draw a plan for reducing the complexity and populating the EA repository with reusable artifacts.

I will discuss the following key areas of Enterprise Architecture in detail in my up coming blogs:

  1. Formulating the EA practice
  2. Communication plan
  3. Governance
  4. Architectural Migration Planning
  5. Portfolio Management
  6. Practice Centralization efforts

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