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How Will the "Decade of Turbulence" Affect Enterprise Architecture?

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In this blog on ZDNet, It services, integrators about to hit a decade of turbulence, Forrester predicts a decade of IT turbulence, saying  "that a prolonged 'restructuring economy' will affect IT budgets, a move away from core applications to analytics." How do you think this will affect Enterprise Architecture, and how should EA respond for optimal impact?

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  • Cloud Computing combined with the recession and the growing division between business and IT would lead to new paradigms of IT service delivery that may cause IT turbulence. That's right.
    EA, as an IT discipline alone (IT strategy, solutions reviews...) would suffer as well because companies will be interested no more in the IT technology behind computing services.

    EA, encompassing business, would survive and prosper though, since it describes the integration of all systems (from different suppliers)and human resources in processes under control.

  • " a move away from core applications to analytics"
    More likely: core applications will need to embed more intelligence, ability to change, etc etc in the next decade of IT. And the "turbulance" for the service sector is being able to handle that - many are still years behind the state-of-the-art.

    The interesting thing is that the need for intelligent, self-analytical services will likely boost the need for EA - the changes in one part of the enterprise will stress other parts too.

  • A decade of turbulence will be good for enterprise architects. At least for the ones who are willing to give up their ageing paradigms to meet the new challenges of the future. As many of the traditional IT services become commoditized though outsourcing, off-shoring, and as-a-service offerings, the current EA role will evaporate. This shift will quickly make the traditional technology-centric EA role irrelevant. EAs who choose to break out of their current paradigms and forge new models will find a high demand for their skills - but first they have to be willing to change. The changes they need to make to stay relevant are:

    1. Move from their role as technical expert to one of business technology strategist – essentially the role of the business architect.
    2. Move away from compliance type governance activities to leading innovation and change.
    3. Shift from offering premade technology standards to creating rapidly evolving decision models that help business and IT leaders deal with the increasingly complex technology decisions they face.

    Tomorrow’s EA will look very different from today’s and not every EA will want to make the leap. But for those who do, the new world will be very refreshing.

    For a more detailed take on where EA will be by the end of the decade see my blog post on the future of EA.

    Jeff Scott

  • This is an interesting discussion. I see EA more from business processes or modeling of enterprise.
    Yes, with applications of virtualization and network technologies,(e.g. cloud computing) delivery and pricing mechanisms of software, computing resources and consulting services have changed.
    But those don't have huge impacts on business processes and/or modeling of enterprise themselves.
    Companies and people who make money around IT are moving "from small-number-of-big-chunk-of-money to many-number-of-small-chunk-of-money", as well as "from flow based business to stock based business".
    These changes are caused by increasing maturity of IT industries, I believe. We have been pursuing reuse and industrialization of software. With advanced virtualization and network technologies, those changes have proceeded more than we anticipated and/or wished, if I may say so.

    These movements have at least one good side effect, it makes our businesses more resistant to turbulence.

    Kengaku, Satoru
    S&S Global Services

  • Footnote to Forrester (Point 2)

    Enterprise Architects, deserving this entitlement, are the human-oriented counterparts of technology-oriented IT-Architects.

    Business-IT alignment requires that both kinds of architects play their role without trying to go beyond their respective domains.

    If Enterprise Architects pay attention primarily to volition-execution flow and IT-Architects primarily to thread flow, there will be a good chance to achieve alignment of the two resulting architectures, since we can build on the correspondence between
    (a) volition-utterance and programming,
    (b) volition-execution and thread-start.

    Provided they stick - more or less - to this 'role-description', neither Enterprise- nor IT-Architects will be much affected by 'outsourcing, off-shoring, and as-a-service offerings'.

  • Having been in this industry for 25 years, every decade -- every year for that matter -- has been pronounced to be a great time of "turbulence." So, nothing new with Forrester's statement in this regard.

    A couple of things have shifted during this time, and will accelerate over the coming decade:

    - Business users are more tech savvy -- more comfortable with tech, and more aware of what it can do.

    - Pressure keeps growing on IT to be more business savvy.

    EA needs to address the frustrations that business may feel about IT responsiveness, while pushing and educating IT to work closer with the business.

  • The turbulence should drive organizations to leverage the discipline, tools, and techniques that Enterprise Architecture provides to businesses. Turbulence means that businesses need to hunker down and focus on fundamentals. Simply put, this means generating more revenue and driving out waste/OpEx.

    A focus on analytics would suggest an increased focus on KPIs for the business. The need to optimize application portfolios - back to driving out waste - in order to minimize redundant application functionality will become important.

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