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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

The Cloud and the Enterprise IT Value Chain

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What will be the impact of the Cloud on the Enterprise IT and the IT Enterprises (i.e. supplying IT)? Let me post a few thoughts in answer to that.
The Cloud represents an enhanced business model of supplying the IT resources supporting your Enterprise operation through outsourcing. It is enabled by today's virtualisation, infrastructure scalability, SOA, Web, and increasingly capable network technologies. The Cloud offers independence with regard to the outsourcing location and implementation technology. It is easy to take up, configure or renounce since there is no more ownership of IT resources. It presents an IT "lease" business model with pay as you use charging.

IT would become separated from the Enterprise and IT concerns would be separated from business ones. New Cloud supply firms would appear. Business people would control the IT capabilities through self service under contract with these firms. The outcome would be evident: no large IT departments in an Enterprise, no own data centres, cooling and energy bills, no more IT skills, licenses, training, etc. 
The Enterprise would be truly nimble and agile. The Cloud would facilitate easy ramp up and upgrades through self service. B2B at its best.  

Enterprise Architecture becomes essential now to describe the business functions and the distributed outsourced supporting systems and their interconnections since a problem may lay in any of a few systems distributed in various Clouds. There must be a blueprint for analysis, defect fixing and evolution. The Cloud would signal nonetheless the end of the old division between business and IT.

Nowadays, the IT Enterprises, supplying equipment and applications, and outsourcing suppliers are both serving the customer Enterprises. With the Cloud, the IT supplier would mainly supply the Cloud provider even though the IT Enterprise might also choose to become a Cloud supplier. In time, the IT infrastructure suppliers, would have to switch from their large customer base of many Enterprises to a few Cloud suppliers. Less customers but more gear though. The applications suppliers may choose to go SaaS themselves or provide their application as a service over a Cloud infrastructure supplier.

It looks like a win-win... situation for most parties. An impact would come though from the consolidation of outsourcing suppliers since few companies could provide the large scale and the necessary reliability of operation. Gigantic Cloud centres have to be build and managed.

Another rather expected consequence is that the IT people would have to migrate from the many Enterprises they work for today to a few Cloud providers. But that is already happening with legacy outsourcing.

The Cloud is still immature nevertheless and standards are not quite there yet to enable, for instance, portability between Clouds and with it the major growth.
But this is my view, what is yours?


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Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

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