Businesses today have transformed tremendously and ingrained digital business initiatives to adapt to employee, customer, and stakeholder demands. Enterprise architecture plays a vital role in meeting these demands and improving the overall experience.
According to a report by Gartner titled, “Enterprise Architecture Enables Digital Innovation,” nearly 60% of the EA practices will deliver intelligence in their business models and operations to improve strategy development and execution.
With the ever-evolving needs of the market, business leaders are expected to set best practices for seamless change management and deliver new solutions at speed. Undeniably, embracing innovation first approach enables businesses to deliver business value, but organizations should not hamper the experience in the process.
CIOs can consider modernizing enterprise architects’ roles and functions without hampering the experience, and some experts have interesting opinions on this.
Define clear sets of accountabilities
Not defining clear ownership responsibilities in regards to who is actually accountable for what EA objectives will create gaps in the enterprise architecture. CIOs should consider setting clear responsibilities with a mandate and decision rights to the right leaders that they need to accomplish the business goals. One of the most effective approaches is to put less strict policies like restricting any non-service-based interactions between teams instead of implementing stricter rules that are difficult to enforce.
Develop an architecture mindset throughout the enterprise
Digital-native organizations need to develop a work culture that has a thought process like enterprise architects. IT business leaders need to ingrain a mindset by educating the entire workforce about the importance of good architecture and its influence in today’s digital-first world.
“This is where Enterprise Architecture comes in. It could be seen as a methodology for building a holistic model of how an organization operates and aims to complete its required outcomes. When looking at it like this, it’s clear Enterprise Architecture is being increasingly considered a core capability for enterprises to establish within operations,” says Mark Dickson,The Open Group Architecture Forum Director.
Develop soft skills
Most enterprises today have a team of enterprise architects with deep analytical skills and experience designing robust architectures. However, one of the skills that this team usually lacks is the communication skills needed for stakeholders and change management throughout the organization. Another report published by Gartner titled “Top 3 Strategic Priorities for Enterprise Architecture Leaders” suggests that nearly 63% of high-performing EA strategies indicate a need for better proficiency in storytelling.
As technology has become the core factor in driving business value, the needs and purpose of enterprise architecture are evolving tremendously. Enterprise architects play a crucial role in accelerating digital initiatives to get a competitive edge in the digital-first business ecosystem. Here are a few expanding objectives of EA’s role in a modern enterprise:
Ensure strategic data-driven decisions
Enterprise architects need to consider setting strategic direction as their top priority to ensure a successful digital transformation. Earlier major glitches in the enterprise architecture only used to have an impact on the IT expenditure, but today even small failures might affect the entire business. For instance, in a retail enterprise, a major glitch in the enterprise architecture, like integration architecture that doesn’t scale well, will increase IT expenditure. Enterprise architects need to make strategic decisions to set a shared solution throughout all the locations and business units. Because, it has a significant influence on the business strategy, operating model, and overall experience. Digitally advanced enterprises need to have a futuristic plan to engage the architects to design and deploy systems that help accomplish the business goals.
“Enterprise Architects are critical in putting a cohesive organizational structure in place, which helps limit the overlaps, gaps, and mismatches which are at risk of happening in disorganized and fragmented environments. In essence, Enterprise Architects establish a clear picture of how teams work together, relate to one another, and how information flows through them, empowering businesses to ensure teams are focused on the actual challenge at hand and are not working from a blank page,” adds Mark.
Earlier enterprises considered development as a one-off, and ensuring reusability was a challenge. Organizations’ pilot functions that helped them scale became their work culture and resulted in a huge technical debt.
In modern businesses, enterprise architecture plays a crucial role in enhancing experience because they ensure the new solution is reused to accomplish established functionality. It is one of the most effective ways to prevent wasting effort on reinventing the solutions and offer a consistent experience.
EA teams need to work cohesively with the entire workforce to explore all the features that are available to rescue and maintain a tight alignment with the strategy.
Ensure development at the speed
IT business leaders need to ensure that the flexibility and responsiveness of their digital business should also reflect in the enterprise architecture. Hence, enterprise architects need to have efficient IT infrastructure that is ready to use for new development teams. A robust EA will enable enterprises to offer the DevOps teams to develop, deploy, and evaluate new functionalities. Moreover, it also offers enterprise architects best practices to store data, develop cross-functional teams and execute daily operational tasks to ensure productivity.
Ingrain interoperability and a holistic approach
As the pressure to innovate, design, develop and deliver faster continues to increase dramatically across sectors, there is a tremendous surge in the need to develop agile environments to facilitate digital transformation. It is crucial to maintain experience in enterprise architecture to get sustainable, viable, valuable, and feasible outcomes from the efforts. As enterprises evolve to become digital-first organizations, they need to develop an architecture mindset throughout the organization to ensure efficient design and management processes. Organizations today have to respond in real-time to achieve the agility to realize business value quickly. This approach can conflict with the concept of enterprise architecture as a framework to define business structure and operations.
Enterprises often tend to overlook their strategies of analyzing, planning, designing, and implementing analysis to achieve agile environments. Enterprise architecture eliminates the threats of disruption by implementing disciplined thinking to decision-making that is aligned to the business’s strategic journey and allows different business units with various functions to interact with each other seamlessly. Ingraining interoperability and a holistic approach in the enterprise architecture will help to improve the overall experience.