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Enterprise Architecture Trends

Supporting executives to digitally transform the organization while realizing additional efficiencies at the enterprise level.

  • The digital transformation journey brings business and technology increasingly closer.
  • Because the two become more and more intertwined, the role of the enterprise architecture increases in importance, aligning the two in providing additional efficiencies.
  • The current need for an accelerated digital transformation elevates the importance of enterprise architecture.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Enterprise architecture is impacted and has an increasing role in the following areas:
    • Business agility
    • Security
    • Innovation
    • Collaborative EA
    • Tools and automation

Impact and Result

EA’s role in brokering and negotiating overlapping areas can lead to the creation of additional efficiencies at the enterprise level.


Enterprise Architecture Trends Research & Tools

1. Enterprise Architecture Trends Deck – A trend report to support executives as they digitally transform the enterprise.

In an accelerated path to digitization, the increasingly important role of enterprise architecture is one of collaboration across siloes, inside and outside the enterprise, in a configurable way that allows for quick adjustment to new threats and conditions, while embracing unprecedented opportunities to scale, stimulating innovation, in order to increase the organization’s competitive advantage.

The trends in this report impact and are impacted by enterprise architecture.


Enterprise Architecture Trends

Supporting Executives to Digitally Transform the Enterprise

Analyst Perspective

Enterprise architecture, seen as the glue of the organization, aligns business goals with all the other aspects of the organization, providing additional effectiveness and efficiencies while also providing guardrails for safety.

In an accelerated path to digitization, the increasingly important role of enterprise architecture (EA) is one of collaboration across siloes, inside and outside the enterprise, in a configurable way that allows for quick adjustment to new threats and conditions while embracing unprecedented opportunities to scale, stimulating innovation to increase the organization’s competitive advantage.

Photo of Milena Litoiu, Principal/Senior Director, Enterprise Architecture, Info-Tech Research Group.

Milena Litoiu
Principal/Senior Director, Enterprise Architecture
Info-Tech Research Group

Accelerated digital transformation elevates the importance of EA

The Digital transformation journey brings Business and technology increasingly closer.

Because the two become more and more intertwined, the role OF Enterprise Architecture increases in importance, aligning the two in providing additional efficiencies.

THE Current need for an accelerated Digital transformation elevates the importance of Enterprise Architecture.

More than 70% of organizations revamp their enterprise architecture programs. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Most organizations still see a significant gap between the business and IT.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is impacted and has an increasing role in the following areas

Accelerated Digital Transformation

  • Business agility Business agility, needed more that ever, increases reliance on enterprise strategies.
    EA creates alignment between business and IT to improve business nimbleness.
  • Security More sophisticated attacks require more EA coordination.
    EA helps adjust to the increasing sophistication of external threats. Partnering with the CISO office to develop strategies to protect the enterprise becomes a prerequisite for survival.
  • Innovation EA's role in an innovation increases synergies at the enterprise level.
    EA plays an increasingly stronger role in innovation, from business endeavors to technology, across business units, etc.
  • Collaborative EA Collaborative EA requires new ways of working.
    Enterprise collaboration gains new meaning, replacing stiff governance.
  • Tools & automation Tools-based automation becomes increasingly common.
    Tools support as well as new artificial intelligence or machine- learning- powered approaches help achieve tools-assisted coordination across viewpoints and teams.

Info-Tech Insight

EA's role in brokering and negotiating overlapping areas can lead to the creation of additional efficiencies at the enterprise level.

EA Enabling Business Agility

Trend 01 — Business Agility is needed more than ever and THIS increases reliance on enterprise Strategies. to achieve nimbleness, organizations need to adapt timely to changes in the environment.

Approaches:
A plethora of approaches are needed (e.g. architecture modularity, data integration, AI/ML) in addition to other Agile/iterative approaches for the entire organization.

Enterprise architecture and its role in agility

Agility is not just about having daily scrums

Enterprise agility is not about meeting in daily in scrums; it is mainly about enabling the organization to adjust to change and become nimble.

Effective data integration enables the enterprise to build predictive analytics, service orchestration, and other strategies that are enablers for a built-in nimbleness, so that architecture can evolve in ways that increase its competitive advantage.

Enterprise agility/ nimbleness is not about meeting daily in scrums; it is mainly about enabling the organization to adjust to change.

Role of iterative/Agile processes for enterprise architecture

Enterprise Architecture needs to stay agile

Agility processes, however, are not just for project, program, or portfolio delivery but also for architects to slim down their internal processes and overhead.

Internal processes need to become more efficient and respond to the current maturity of the organization in step with its agility needs. Agile ceremonies for architects at the system, portfolio, or enterprise architecture level are good alternatives for lengthy and expensive architectural board meetings.

Enterprise architects play a critical role in ensuring that digital transformation is carried out in an agile and scalable manner while also assuring resiliency and the required skills.

Risks and Benefits

Benefits

Quicker response

Faster learning

Making the organization act in the spirit of Agility is NOT reserved just to delivery teams and can be applied to Agile ceremonies for architects as well.

This will allow organizations to focus energies on innovation while allowing them to test new concepts as soon as possible and accelerate learning.

Risks

Not seeing the interests of the enterprise due to partial, opportunistic approaches

Architecture brittleness

The EA's tasks include standardization and compliance enforcement. Inadequate instruction can lead to vulnerabilities, noncompliance, and potentially unchecked risks.

If not done correctly, architecture can become brittle and resistant to modification. EA's duty is to ensure that the architecture adapts well to change.

EA-Supported Security

Trend 02 — More sophisticated Security attacks require more enterprise coordination and consistency

Enterprise Architecture can play a role in identifying security threats as well as contributing to a security strategy that anticipates, detects, and mitigates risks. Adequate governance needs to be in place, ensuring that security controls are in line with the governance security policies and compliance requirements.

Emerging technologies:
AI-powered threat detection, intelligent predictive insights, etc..

Intensity and variety of security attacks have grown

Recently, the intensity and variety of security attacks has grown. Given the current Geo-political climate, this trend is here to stay.

Defining the right strategy, based on a good understanding of the enterprise context and including technology defenses, requires a partnership between Enterprise Architecture and security experts.

Deciding on security controls and defining enterprise policies and standards as well as needed governance within agreed guardrails becomes a joint responsibility of the EA and the CISO office.

EA is also called to do the technical oversight of the implementation, ensuring compliance to standards and regulations.

Security plans are critical for organizations in private and public sectors alike, to protect customers and sensitive digital assets.

A huge majority of companies plan to invest more in security in the years ahead and enforce it at the enterprise level.

Scarcity of security skills is significant, for a number of reasons; professionals need to understand the ever-changing security landscape and modern techniques used in increasingly sophisticated attacks.

Recommendations

  • EA needs to co-create the security strategy, right-sizing it to the conditions/context/circumstances of the organization.
  • EA must partner with the security office to decide on security controls to mitigate risks.
  • EA should have a governance or enforcement role in security as well as implementation oversight.
  • EA has an important role in communicating expectations and requirements to vendors.
  • EA brokers relationships across Security and Data in the pursuit of an enterprise classification scheme for both security and information management. This is equally important for Application and Infrastructure Security mandated at the enterprise level.

Info-Tech Resources

While the engagement model inside organizations can vary, one needs to have an agreement on what has to be enforced centrally (at the enterprise level) and who oversees it.

Partnerships Between Innovation and EA

Trend 03 — EA’S role in innovation increases synergies at the enterprise level

Innovation may be achieved at every level of the organization, from new business models to rethinking how technology supports the business.

Approaches:
Business innovation, technology innovation, use of AI/ML, blockchain, etc..

Drivers

digitization accelerates business innovation.
Increased affordability and accessibility of Cloud compute power enables new technology paradigms and approaches.

The need to digitize while innovating has been combined with a plethora of new approaches in the cloud, for example:
  • Affordable storage and compute power
  • Easier ways to scale, to migrate from legacy to modern architectures
  • Technologies that have been used for integration (APIs, event-driven) continue to enable development of modular and flexible architectures.
  • New(er) paradigms: containerization, service mesh, data mesh, serverless, etc..
  • Decentralized services and data that need orchestration and enterprise governance and management of services
Customer Expectations

Customers demand support for modern capabilities and easier solutions to complex problems. These capabilities are growing, but they require hard-to-obtain prerequisites (e.g. integration, availability of data, data quality).

Customers also expect to be guided in making informed decisions based on changing sets of circumstances.

In a nutshell, the role of EA in innovation is becoming increasingly significant in all sectors, from business processes to technology.

Industry Expertise

Industries that are currently technology laggers are under tremendous pressure to modernize their ways and reduce costs. We foresee an explosion of industry-specific AI/ML-powered applications that will bring the need for domain expertise.

Collaborative EA

Trend 04 — Collaborative EA requires new ways of working within the company as well as NEW potential relationships with vendors and suppliers

Approaches:
Internal and external collaboration is needed for achieving superior results at the enterprise level

EA’s collaboration role across siloes

The role of EA evolves from the old “ivory tower” to a practical, proactive, no-nonsense approach.

  • It becomes, ideally, a trusted advisor as well as co-creator of the strategy.
  • It balances decisions across guilds (business, data, application, infrastructure, integration, security) to achieve cross-domain or enterprise optimization.
  • It enables collaboration and guidance for programs, platforms, portfolios, projects, DevSecOps, and Operations.
  • It includes vendor and partner management (e.g. setting up collaboration framework and expectations for suppliers, vendors, and partners).

72% of organizations plan to bring back focus on their enterprise architecture efforts to accelerate digital transformation. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

“…enterprise architects are business partners who facilitate digital business transformation” (Source: Mega, 2022)

Shift in roles and responsibilities

Some technical roles are becoming more balanced, encompassing both business and IT.

We see a shift in the position of the CTO/CIO. Other roles are being created in organizations.

The expectation for EA is to be practical and proactive in collaborating across the organization to achieve measurable results.

EA evolves from a long-term planning tool to a more agile one. It supports immediate needs while guiding and balancing long-term decisions.

Enterprise Architecture becomes an ever-more important tool in creating the needed handshake between business and IT.

Collaboration within/across domain guilds

Visualization of EA collaboration within/across domain guilds. EA is at the front with 'Data Architecture Guild', 'Business Data Guild', and 'Technology Architecture Guild' connected behind it.

Info-Tech Insight

Enterprise Architecture:

  • Encourages collaboration within the domain guilds across different BUs (ideally having a representative from the business, data, app, infra, security, and integration guilds at the enterprise level).
  • Orchestrates cross-domain collaboration at the enterprise level.

EA Tools and Automation

Trend 05 — More EA activities are being automated through intelligent tools

Approaches:
Automation, AI/ML

Tools enabling the digital economy

Tools trends appear to welcome some of the previously described trends (e.g. EA collaboration, focusing on automation and agility) powered by AI/ML in more domains than ever before.

These general trends are witnessed in different domains:

  • Enterprise Architecture Tools
  • Business Process (Intelligent) Automation
  • Business Process Management
  • Data Tools
  • Business Service Orchestration
  • Containers and Orchestrations

The tooling landscape is evolving at high speed. We see breakthroughs made by both long-term players and new entrants in the market.

Vendors are starting to combine capabilities that were previously unique to particular domains but have now been collated into enterprise tools.

We see a tendency that the tool providers are increasingly accommodating an easy drag-and-drop paradigm (low-code or no-code) for the business user, while others are designed for intense coding with the developer in mind.

Examples of automation include advanced AI/ML approaches, patterns recognition, Visio to Model conversion, automatic and/or intelligent recommendations, and some optimizations.

Contributing Experts

Milena Litoiu
Senior Director,
Info-Tech

Photo of Milena Litoiu, Senior Director, Info-Tech.

Andy Neill
AVP, Practice LEAD,
Info-Tech

Photo of Andy Neill, AVP, Practice Lead, Info-Tech.

IGOR Ikonnikov
Director, Research Advisor,
Info-Tech

Photo of Igor Ikonnikov, Director, Research Advisor, Info-Tech.

David Glazer
VP, Analytics,
Kroll

Photo of David Glazer, VP, Analytics, Kroll.

Bibliography

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Culbertson, Joy. “10 Top Law APIs.” ProgrammableWeb, 14 Feb. 2021. Web.

de Groot, E. A., et al. “Disentangling the Enigma of Multi-Structured Economic Cycles - A New Appearance of the Golden Ratio.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 169, Aug. 2021, pp. 120793. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120793.

Dehghani, Zhamak. “How to Move Beyond a Monolithic Data Lake to a Distributed Data Mesh.” Martin Fowler.com, 20 May 2019. Web.

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Dhasarathy, Anusha, et al. “Seven lessons on how technology transformations can deliver value.” McKinsey Digital, 11 Mar. 2021. Web.

Gillis, Alexander S., and James Montgomery. “Service Mesh.” TechTarget, n.d. Web.

Gomane, Gabriel. “Four Disruptive Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Architecture.” Mega, 7 Mar. 2019. Web.

Gonsalves, Chris. “The Problem with APIs.” VentureBeat, 7 May 2021. Web.

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Bibliography

Harris, Tony. “What is the API Economy?” API Blog: Everything You Need to Know, 4 May 2021. Web.

Hatem, Louise, Daniel Ker, and John Mitchell. “Roadmap toward a common framework for measuring the Digital Economy.” Report for the G20 Digital Economy Task Force, OECD, 2020. Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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Bibliography

Taulli, Tom. “API Economy: Is It The Next Big Thing?” Forbes, 18 Jan. 2021. Accessed 5 May 2021.

“The Evolving Role of Enterprise Architect.” Mega, n.d. Web.

The State of Enterprise Architecture 2021. BizDesign, 2021. Web.

Warren, Zach. “Clio Taking 2021 Cloud Conference Virtual, Announces New Mission Among Other News.” Legaltech News, 11 Mar. 2021. Web.

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