Awkward title, I know. But this blog is about two related points.
Forrester has long believed that business and technology have become inseparable. The Business Technology organization that embraces this reality is replacing the Information Technology organization that thought of itself as separate from business.
Enterprise architecture is also shifting — from a technology and application-centered function (“IT architecture”) where the business was simply a source of requirements to a business-focused, strategic, and pragmatic discipline broader than the team called EA. We see signs of this shift everywhere — just look at the winners of the 2011 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards.
As part of this shift, business architecture has become the foundation of enterprise architecture — making possible strategy, planning, and change management of the fused business+technology reality of today’s enterprises. Forrester’s Enterprise Architecture research focus is to help our clients make this shift, providing them with best and next practices ranging from removing barriers between business and architecture, to creating frameworks and models that provide insight and drive decisions, to measuring and communicating benefits.
Which is where the second part of this post – and potentially you who are reading this – come in. We are expanding our business architecture research team to deepen depth, utility, and value to our clients.
Are “business first and center” in how you think,
Have your own ideas and want to refine them as part of a team to create a body of research more impactful than any single analyst can create,
Want to engage with clients both to advise them and to learn from them,
To paraphrase a now-marginalized US political figure: “How you’all doing?”
Every year, Forrester’s Enterprise Architecture team looks at how enterprise architecture, as a practice and a function within business, is doing. We look at everything from how firms organize their EA programs, to where they are getting their support from, what roles exist within the EA team, completeness of architecture and the degree of standardization, expected technology change, and priorities and challenges. We ask the same questions year over year to discern any trends.
On December 9, we’ll be presenting the results of the 2011 State of Enterprise Architecture survey, compiling the inputs from 543 firms across North America, Europe, and Asia/PAC. (Note: this teleconference is for Forrester clients. A separate teleconference will be offered for non-client respondents to this survey.) A wide variety of industries are represented: financial services, manufacturing, retail, business services, and public sector. A few highlights:
The structure of firms’ EA functions continues to shift – with both centralized and completely decentralized increasing.
Architecture staffing continues its growth. The business architect role is one factor driving this growth.
Awareness and support by the broader business and IT organization continue to climb – both by the CIO, other IT functions, and by line of business management.
Drivers for EA show a significant shift – with “improving business agility” rising to the top.
Cloud – people can’t agree on exactly what it is, but everyone can agree that they want some piece of it. I have not talked to a single client who isn’t doing something proactively to pursue cloud in some form or fashion. This cloud-obsession was really evident in our 2011 technology tweet jam as well, which is why this year’s business technology and technology trends reports cover cloud extensively. Our research further supports this – for example, 29% of infrastructure and operations executives surveyed stated that building a private cloud was a critical priority for 2011, while 28% plan to use public offerings, and these numbers are rising every year.
So what should EAs think about cloud? My suggestion is that you think about how your current IT strategy supports taking advantage of what cloud is offering (and what it’s not). Here are our cloud-related technology trends along with some food for thought:
The next phase of IT industrialization begins. This trend points out how unprepared our current IT delivery model is for the coming pace of technology change, which is why cloud is appealing. It offers potentially faster ways to acquire technology services. Ask yourself – is my firm’s current IT model and strategy good enough to meet technology demands of the future?
We are currently in a technology growth cycle, which is likely to continue for another five to seven years.* The opportunities presented by the likes of cloud, mobile, social, and big data are abundant. I'm wondering if EAs are overly focused on consolidation, simplification, and cost control, which could lead to missing the boat. Alternatively, companies may just leave EA behind as they sail to newer, profitable waters.
In Forrester's September 2011 Global State Of Enterprise Architecture Online Survey, we asked architects to prioritize the following challenges, and here is what we found:
While 37% of firms told us that improving how their firms identify and integrate new/disruptive technology was high priority, it was a substantially smaller percentage than the other nine challenges we asked about. Compare this to: 1) a similar CIO survey that ranked business technology innovation as the top priority, and 2) another EA survey question indicating that "using technology to increase business competitiveness" was the number three IT driver for EA programs.
My concern is that other things may be distracting EA attention away from the opportunities that abound in this growth cycle. Consider:
One of the things that people like about the insurance industry is that the business of insurance doesn't change much. Insurance carriers have pretty much done the same thing: rate risk, issue policies, settle claims, sell through agents, and invest our premiums, all the stuff that makes them insurance companies. We’ve talked a lot about this idea of “business capabilities” here are Forrester, essentially the notion of what an industry does. These capabilities change very slowly, if at all. Capability changes are usually the result of some big structural economic change--think of the now-modern and booming Russian insurance industry growing after the collapse of the former Communist state. Of course, the way in which those capabilities get executed in a mature insurance market is influenced by what’s going on outside the four walls of carrier and can change very quickly.
IT has too many separate portfolios to manage, and that hinders its ability to help business change. We have project portfolios, application portfolios, technology portfolios, and IT service portfolios – each managed in silos. These portfolios are all IT-centric – they generally mean nothing to business leaders. The business has products, customers, partners, and processes – and the connection between these business portfolios and the IT portfolios isn't readily apparent and usually not even documented. Change in the business – in any of these areas – is connected to IT only in the requirements document of a siloed project. Lots of requirement documents for lots of siloed projects leads to more complexity and less ability to support business change.
How do we connect these business concepts to IT? What's the "unit" that connects IT projects, apps, and technology with business processes and products?
It's not "business capabilities" – they are an abstraction most useful for prioritizing, analysis, and planning. We need a term to manage the day-to-day adaptation and implementation of these capabilities – the implementation with all its messiness such as fragmented processes and redundant apps – that we can use to manage any type of change.
We believe the best term for this unit is "business services," with this definition:
The output of a business capability with links to the implementation of people, processes, information, and technology necessary to provide that output.
As promised in my blog last week, here is part 2. In part 1, I introduced the two trends reports we did this year and showed the list of trends for business technology. These are trends and technologies to consider first with your "business hat" on. This blog post lists the other 10 trends to view first from a technology lens because they are of lower interest or impact to the business.
We have created four new categories to make IT stakeholder identification easier: 1) application platforms will be of high interest to your app dev and management teams; 2) integration will be of interest to app dev, data integration specialists, and even process folks (considering that processes can and should be integrated with apps and data); 3) infrastructure and operations; and 4) mobile computing, which spans infrastructure, app dev, and possibly line-of-business relationship managers who are very keen on mobility. And don't forget your security and compliance stakeholders, who will generally care about all of these!
Before listing the trends and technologies, I also want to introduce a new twist to our research this year - we have identified four major themes that run through many of our business technology and technology trends. These themes are so broad and far reaching that we thought it worth calling them out separately; we are advising our clients to understand these themes as the context for responding to individual trends:
Lexmark International acquired Netherlands-based Pallas Athena and will combine the company with its recent acquisition of Perceptive Software, a fast-growing ECM provider. Together this is a very complete software unit for the ECM, BPM, and dynamic case management market. Pallas received good reviews well in the recent Forrester Wave™ for dynamic case management solutions and has a strong overall BPM technology. North American exposure, and distribution in general, was the big issue. Perceptive had an easy-to-deploy workflow management solution but lacked case managenent or extension beyond departmental applications. Combining Perceptive and Pallas Athena should should work well. The challenge and potential is to create synergy and focus with Lexmark’s growing managed print services business — which means focusing on office document automation that supports the knowledge worker.
In 2007 Larry Elison said: "We think the paradigm for doing business, how people do their daily jobs is changing and is moving to a search paradigm.” For years Oracle has worked on weaving its search functionality into and across Oracle applications. It's called Secure Enterprise Search (SES) and it's invisible to Content & Collaboration (C&C) professionals because it's inside the Fusion platform, rarely sold as a standalone solution. With SES integrated in Oracle products, Oracle envisions "action-oriented" enterprise search. What does that look like? When workers don't just search for pending expense reports, they also can pay them from the search UI.
When search is an embeddable service, it makes it easier to use search to get tasks done. This is why I think infrastructure vendors (HP, Oracle, Microsoft, Dassault) acquiring specialized vendors (Autonomy, Endeca, Fast, and Exalead, respectively) is a good thing for C&C professionals. What's missing from these marriages? Semantic search capabilities -- where search surfaces unstated concepts and allows users to visualize the patterns and trends locked inside volumes of text. (IBM is one to watch for this vision -- a leader in BI, they have recently commingled their search and content analytics technology to create a new product.)