Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Do Digital or...

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Yet, do we have to take the digital enterprise path? Is it evitable? What would be the advantages?

The digital enterprise is happening nolens volens, that is, there is no choice. The enterprise cannot really escape the technology progress. We cannot avoid the digital revolution. And it is a revolution indeed, because the change is significantly larger now and increasingly faster. Moreover, we are already engaged on the digital path.

According to Ray Kurzweil, "technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense "intuitive linear" view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century -- it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate)...  We're doubling the rate of progress every decade".

Even though the digital future is inevitable, we can still make choices and actively control the digital evolution from as early as possible to get what we want, in accord with our vision, rather than accept what comes. 

The digital progress will enable

  ·        the business be in control of the enterprise operation and evolution with capabilities purchased or configured on-line and mounted only for the required period  

  ·        the designed enterprise, architected from parts and services (given their increasing availability in the Cloud) from business process and Cloud providers       

  ·        business to manage capabilities rather than technology 

  ·        more reliable planning and predictable costs owing to the availability of ready made capabilities, rather than relying on in house development and deployment cycles as today

  ·        technology expertise to be relegated to service provider firms rather than to each and every enterprise

  ·        quick scalability, configurability, reporting... agility to change  

  ·        Instant decision making based on Real Time Business Intelligence

  ·        Model Driven Manufacturing where the design to manufacturing process is automated due to with 3D printing...

 

The digital gradually renders the enterprise virtual with most parts residing in a cloud of partners that participate into the Value Chain. What matters most and identifies the enterprise is the Governance function that coordinates the enterprise Operations, Development and Support activities that can and are increasingly outsourced.  

Technology evolution would enable Business to be in control of the enterprise rather than continue to tinker with technology like today.

The Digital road is long, without an end in sight. In fact, we have already embarked on this road long ago. But the technology progress accelerates today at an unprecedented pace.

Since it affects now the whole enterprise, technology becomes a key competitive differentiator. Hence, we have to prepare the enterprise for the digital road because technology could make or break the enterprise. 

What do you do though to make sure your enterprise evolves on the right digital path? Digital adoption can be expensive or ineffective if not properly thought. Not all digital technologies, for instance, would be productive for your chosen evolution. And, without proper integration in your operations and vision, the digital can create an additional weight. Digital at all costs does not pay off.

To succeed in the digital transformation today, we have to project the big picture at the end of the tunnel, the digital enterprise, the same way we do in enterprise architecture.

You need a true and strong digital team that operates at top business level to cover the whole enterprise rather than IT alone.

Yet, what we do today is embark in implementing the digital step by step, technology by technology. and hope for the best. Still, this path does not allow us to control the final outcome but solely strands of it. 

What makes the difference is not so much the technologies employed but the degree of integration into your enterprise operation and vision so that most suitable technologies offer your on  time the maximum benefit at minimum cost and render the enterprise competitive. 

The digital technologies transform your vision of the enterprise and may change its business models.

The paradox we live today is that the progress of IT leads increasingly to the outsourcing of the very technology that enables it, the Cloud.  Perhaps because  the effort to manage properly its increasing complexity becomes too costly and steals the focus of your enterprise. With the Cloud, the enterprise would own less and less technology.  

The information technology is also increasingly hidden under virtualisation layers. Note the growing reliance on processing, storage and network virtualisation and the services paradigm, such as application virtualisation, microservices and API economy. 


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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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