The enterprise architect (EA) can play a key leadership role in cloud migration. The goal of any EA is to ensure that the highest business value is received for most efficient use of technology resources; as such, EA provides the essential bridge between business and IT. Typically, EA maintains the list of IT capabilities and processes, facilitates the creation and implementation of IT strategies, works with businesses and executives to understand the long-term goals of the company in order to plan for the future, and drives various enterprise-wide governance activities, such as architecture review. For such reasons, the EA is an ideal choice to lead the Cloud Strategy Team.
The EA overseeing the IT ecosystem as a whole is in a position to provide the appropriate analyses of system capabilities and application impacts of any large-scale changes to the ecosystem. Often, it is EA that creates and maintains the portfolio management system (the catalog of applications) from which the prioritization of applications to be moved to the cloud can be drawn. Enterprise architect should examine what is known about the portfolio and where additional information is needed—for example, whether an application is virtualized—the EA team should add this and other attributes to the knowledge base and engage with other parts of IT to collect the data.
Cloud migration offers the enterprise architect many opportunities. By using modeling techniques such as business capability analysis and capability maturity models, it is usually possible, as the prioritization process for applications takes place, to simplify IT by consolidating applications of similar function. Consolidation will have clear financial benefits both by reducing the compute, data, and network requirements, as well as by simplifying the operations and maintenance functions.
The enterprise architect can use the opportunity afforded by cloud migration to analyze the data models used by applications and update them to enterprise-wide canonical models. Such an effort will streamline application integration and reduce semantic mismatches between disparate data models, which often requires manual adjustment in a complex on-premises environment.
In addition, it is the EA core responsibility to create and maintain as-is and to-be roadmaps of the overall IT ecosystem. The EA should easily be able to communicate the various stages of the migration, summarizing the current thinking of the Cloud Strategy Team.
Finally, the EA should direct the investigation into the use of new cloud technologies to either augment existing capabilities or provide entirely new functionality to IT applications, and as these are validated, to add these to the existing roadmaps. Enterprise architects need to experiment with new technologies as well as understand and communicate their business value to IT management and business stakeholders. Successful investigations should lead to the development and publishing of reference architectures that applications teams can reuse.