The importance of Enterprise Architecture continues to grow in all directions with the obvious demand for technology integration row along with the demands in governing it more tightly. Four observations that will demand higher indepth look and role of EA's.
1. Business demains and integration of technology
2. IT Governance over project initiatives and tightening of financial belt
3. Globalization - Need for business's to explore opportunities beyond their current boundaries.
4. Process improvements that are integrated with technology
What does this mean for enterprise architecture?
The C level executives (CEO, CIO's , CFO's & CTO's) all need to recognize EA cannot be a back office or support component instead needs to be a design/strategy component in the initiatives of the organization (be it operational or strategic expansion). This means going beyond just the "IT alignment" and prioritize and drawing the big picture in such a way that EA/IT strategy is highly integrated. This in trun means information architecture will be guided by constant tapping into business intelligence, process optimization, and enterprise evaluation of on going strategies. Leading research firm Forrester believes business process modeling and having master data plan will help in giving this information.
The impact of globalization on EA will be taking on action plans of how an organization needs to be flexible in addressing the local needs to global needs and this may also reflect of strategizing how EA strategies address mature markets and developmental markets. For example one of our clients an association is struggling to manage an explosive growth in the African market without understanding how to balance the mature market needs and facilitate the developmental inititaitves in the African continent. This offers not only a financial challenge in enterprise organization and its impacts on enterprise architecture but presents significant puzzles that need to be solved in setting up sound business and operational processes.
Hence next generation EA will be focussed on holistically thinking, integrating and strategizing keeping the big picture in mind. Technology and business process are no longer separate but fused for every individual in the company is a tech-knowledge worker that contributes in supporting the short term and long term objectives of the organization. In closing then the biggest result in this direction will be decentralization of organizations instead of centralization of power, the diagram below is taken eBiz'g guide to IT agility which shows that one solution or custom solution that fits all will lead to constraints and higher cost to mainatain these application but customized self-service solutions that are designed or architected to be adaptive for future growth (provided this info is gathered by analysts and planners) result into richer distributed outcomes which are decentralized in nature.
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