Enterprise Architecture in the age of Digital Disruption

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In the age where mode of doing business is ever shifting due to the changes enforced by technology, the business models do not last as long as they used to do. The choice of technology governs the disruption (per say) and has a main say in the nature of this change. Like technology, which had […]

In the age where mode of doing business is ever shifting due to the changes enforced by technology, the business models do not last as long as they used to do. The choice of technology governs the disruption (per say) and has a main say in the nature of this change.

Like technology, which had always been the primary agent in governing the nature of change, the other main catalyst had always been the marketing gimmicks. These are the factors which will never help you change but will certainly motivate you to change and of course will help you in naming the change. And so is the case of digital disruption and its impacts.

If you Google, “What is digital disruption?” you come across, the definition, “Digital disruption refers to changes enabled by digital technologies that occur at a pace and magnitude that disrupt established ways of value creation, social interactions, doing business and more generally our thinking. Digital Disruption can be seen as both a threat and an opportunity.

If you take a careful look at it, you will find nothing new, yet it will take you to the world where “Modernizing IT for a digital era” becomes the prime concern with facts and figures and numbers dictating the key concerns, like, increase in IT productivity and motivation while reducing defects and time to markets.  You will come across concerns that supposedly every CEO of different organizations should come to terms with how, digitization will affect in terms of taking a competitive position by leveraging digital capabilities.

If this is all so very new, then can you tell me what we have been doing for all these years? Certainly the same thing. Then what at all is new in all these…

It is the pace of change. And it is this pace with which new technologies are arriving, is sure to flabbergast us. You have to be fast and well-paced to meet avoid a digital disruption.

As for Enterprise Architecture, the exercise always involves a lot of activities around setting up a framework that supports the enterprise description. Not only that, but it takes us through the exercise of managing it as well. Handling all possible change and release activities pertaining to the development, operations or management. Now with the nascent discernment, we are convinced that the fast paced disruptive nature of this digitization would require an enterprise structure that is robust enough to accommodate the fast paced change. It will involve, a decreased shelf life of EA artefacts, and would require EA professionals to have an understanding of the capabilities, strategy and execution to handle the rapid nature of change.

So automatically the thing that first comes to our mind now is, how to handle this change. And here we meet the next best jargon of the IT world, ‘innovate’. Well this buzz word has now literally captured and corrupted every other attention in IT. Companies are innovating continuously. Literally the word innovate means, “to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”. Well yes, EA being no exception, this is what is required as well to sustain the EA’s life cycle in the disruptive technical world. And it is here we come across the jargon, “Disruptive Innovation”.

In the light of all these observations, we can now say that for an enterprise architecture to sustain, what we now need is a new discipline that percolates through the different enterprise layers like, motivation, description, value orientation, capabilities and implementation (by people and technology).

So now that we know that there is a need for a new discipline… what can we do now? Something new?! Or something digital to beat the disruption that we already know.

When it comes to the purview of the enterprise architecture; what is required, is introducing new methods, ideas. These new methods should be across the verticals of the enterprise architecture covering the aspects of people, business and the ‘things’ (per say). Hence the focus of value creation this time should be considering the non-human customers.

But the most important focus should be on the business processes, which is adaptable. Adaptable to the nature of the business. And this should be handled as early as the business motivation level in an enterprise architecture.

This kind of process design is only possible by means of factors that can comprehend or reason or analyse the nature of the change affecting an enterprise. As Gartner points out, it needs to be seen how algorithms and smart machines can be used to determine the disruption of needs of doing business. As Steve Prentice, Vice president and Gartner fellow, says in his article, “Algorithms Are Redefining the Architecture of Business“,

To cope with this fluidity and disruption, businesses should explore and deploy multiple business models concurrently. These business models will be created with the use of algorithms and are a necessary part of coping with the pace of change, and exploiting fleeting business opportunities, in a digital world. These advancements will not be without problems, however, and the successful organisations of the future will examine the potential pitfalls with equal diligence.

Now, it needs to be seen how and when…!!

Capgemini is proud to be a Platinum sponsor at Salesforce’s largest cloud event, Dreamforce 2016. Head here to know what we have planned for the event.”

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