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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

For the evolution to Digital you need the Enterprise Architecture and Emerging Technologies functions in place

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Setting you up to understand the technology landscape is key to determine what technologies would affect you the most. Because you cannot adopt them all. And to implement them in concert, while replacing and evolving the existing landscape at the same time, you need an Enterprise Architecture practice. Both will contribute to your enterprise evolution to Digital.

The emerging technology function and team, if newly created, has to start with the inventory and evaluation of the various technologies and establish their degree of relevance. Gartner's hype cycle is as good a starting point as any.

Watch also the capabilities and the roadmap of the next generation IT applications and infrastructure because most suppliers had done, like you, a technology landscape evaluation. 

You first need to construct a new technology knowledge database, or at least a taxonomy that records definitions, descriptions, maturity, predicted impacts, dependencies, endorsements and proposed further actions for the participating enterprise stakeholders (specific departments, marketing, IT test, development and strategy teams) to take. It must be an enterprise wide effort otherwise the effort will fail.

There may be many issues like applications and technology overlapping in functionality. Take for instance a new applications suite which comes with a function you already have. Ideally we should look into components, services but, in practice, application suites come with the advantages of an integrated information architecture, ready made enterprise buses, harmonised access control...

Also the Big Issue is that a technology alone may not realise much taken in isolation. You have to analyse other technologies it may request to function, the technology to be replaced and the cost of replacement and the legacy you have to integrate it with. Hence you have to evaluate the whole technology landscape before making up your mind. Otherwise you may end up with multiple, rather ad hoc, transformations. That is why you need your EA in place by then.

Therefore, sketch scenarios of integrating the new technologies with the existing. There may be a few alternative scenarios.

Create target enterprise pictures for each scenario to illustrate how does the enterprise look when all technologies of interest are factored in. Start with the business blueprint. Think of new business models.

For each scenario evaluate roughly the resources needed, costs, end benefits, risks, transition period... that is, do the value proposition.

Take into account the risk of not implementing an option, that is the cost of the opportunity lost.

EA books

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Awesome blog...attractive words ...

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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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