When we look back from 2020 how will the world view enterprise architects? They're currently some of the most senior and well paid IT professionals, but will they have a seat at the strategy management table for the business as a whole? First, how to keep on top of continual business transformation.
At the moment, on one side of the table we're seeing a consolidation of the EPM (Enterprise Portfolio Management) offerings. The ITSM (IT Service Management), ITPM (IT Portfolio Management) and PPM (Project Portfolio Management) markets are merging. PPM tool vendors are acquiring ITPM tool vendors, and ITSM tool vendors are climbing up the stack by starting to capture the "how" not just "what" in their repositories.
On the other side of the table lives BI (business intelligence), with its glossy user interface and focus on the aggregation and trending of business data -- sales per product line per region per quarter, customer satisfaction trends etc. BI is trying to find the forest for the trees by moving into descriptive models and predictive and prescriptive analytics.
Without structure, the vastness of the data we'll be dealing with (at least 25 Billion connected devices by 2020) will make it impossible to identify a mission-critical system from a nice-to-have one, to prioritize them, and ultimately to have a strong conviction about which path will be best to take for each.
EA is a discipline focused on capturing structural relationships within a business. That is the horizontal relationships, such as owns and uses, not just the vertical ones, such as aggregates and decomposes. EA allows us to understand and analyze the interconnected nature of a business -- the organizational structure, the process structure, right down to the infra-structure. It's not just about drawing pretty box and line diagrams.
The eyes of the team building the enterprise roadmaps that guide this process will need to be trained on a continually-evolving set of future state options. Enterprise Architects will demonstrate -- at speed -- how they can crunch the data, build models, roadmap future states and present the transformation process clearly.
Job titles might change, but the core "model and analyze" skills required for EA will be in demand. EAs might become Digital Transformation Specialists, Enterprise Change Agents, or Enterprise Options Analysts. And they will reporting to the Chief Digital Officer .
But their advice will be central to well-informed planning. Without it, executives risk playing Kerplunk or Jenga with critical systems -- and that will never be a good strategy!