Responding to the EA skills quest

EA organizations are under increasing pressure to contribute tangibly to business results and to differentiate in greater terms than architectural domain skills alone.  At the same time, compressed business cycles compel organizations to respond to events or opportunities at a more rapid pace.  This often means resourcing and organizing into effective teams and projects quickly.  EAs are often involved in multiple projects and teams and expected to have sufficiently broad experience, combined with multiple competencies to contribute to organizations’ responses.  Many EA organizations see this skills tension increasing and often struggle to sufficiently develop or resource teams for the ever growing number and diversity of issues they are involved in.  Increasingly, the contextual application of EA to real organizational issues and new opportunities is overtaking the traditional role of EAs in many businesses.  For many EA teams and their stakeholders, the way in which value is derived from investments in EA is through increased contextualization and enhanced adaptability.

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The architectural implications of shared services


Shared services is widely employed in many industry sectors and is gaining increasing traction as organizations, particularly those subject to continuing cost pressures look for ways to control costs.  For example, in December 2012 the UK government set out its next generation shared services strategy to enable savings of £400-600m per year.  Shared services take many forms, but regardless of the type of shared service, when properly executed it can deliver a range of benefits.  Benefits can result from economies of scale or scope, the ability to negotiate from a stronger consolidated base and through adoption of streamlined, common business processes.  A shared services model can also enable groups to share knowledge and best practice as well as the services themselves.   However, these benefits must be balanced with the flexibility clients (internal or external) require. 

Shareable services typically include corporate service processes such as HR, procurement and finance and accounting. Sharing of enabling capabilities typically include IT infrastructure, workflow, data repositories as well as domain-specific expertise and resources.  Viewed as business services, they can be defined in terms of outcomes and external dependencies using a combination of deliverables, processes, roles, and skills.  This way EAs can help position the shared services within the organization’s architectural construct in terms of service provision to other functions within the business or to external partners or customers.

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Does BYOD mean BYO architecture?

The rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs in organizations is well documented and it is a growing trend that shows few signs of slowing down.  The benefits in increased worker flexibility and improved modernity of the working environment can often outweigh the various and well documented technical, legal and operational concerns.  The architectural implications are equally important and often less well understood.  The architectural view on BYOD can take multiple perspectives, for example: a device view, a centralized infrastructure view or a usage focused view.  Common components such as support, management and security apply all of these architectural views.  Each view provides a discrete perspective of the architectural patterns required to successfully architect for BYOD. The selection of the right view for your organization depends largely on the organizational environment in which it will be employed. Irrespective of the view employed, key to architectural success with BYOD programs is to identify and plan for critical aspects of a BYOD scenario based on the different architectural views.

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