The world of corporate IT is changing rapidly. The proliferation of the cloud, the ascent of millennials in IT leadership roles and shorter and shorter technology life-cycles are enabling (and requiring) fundamentally new approaches to IT. The old Enterprise Architecture (EA) model can’t keep pace with the rate of technology change and business-results expectations prevalent in most enterprises today. These changes are leading to an environment where IT is moving from a cost center to becoming a vibrant part of the business.

A goal of EA has been to reduce the number of redundant or unnecessary applications to contain costs. Despite this goal and years of governance and best effort EA programs, enterprise application portfolios are exploding. The new reality of enterprise IT is that there are now widely available, lower-cost point applications enabling work to occur anywhere, anytime and on any device. Rather than looking at new applications as opportunities to reduce costs, we are seeing a fundamental shift in IT as business leaders are increasingly viewing these new applications as opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. This new application playing field opens the door to a change in management direction from IT as cost center to a business-driven means of  achieving a disruptive competitive advantage.

This flexibility puts direct pressure on the traditional “Swiss Army Knife” platforms that try and do everything adequately but in the end do nothing particularly well. For example, large, expensive and integrated ERP systems are disaggregating every day. The business units are driving this at their speed and under their control. With this shift, IT now diffuses into, and becomes an integrated part of the business unit as business strategy, process, technology and execution are tightly integrated. There is no advantage to some independent corporate organizational entity existing solely to serve that business function.

The “cloudification of IT and EA” is here. Organizations need to develop architectures and strategies based on the reality that many or most of their traditional IT services will be managed outside of the organization. The good news is there is a strong future for Enterprise Architects and the CIO team to support the enterprise move towards a new cloud-based IT services model. As discussed in this report, organizations should be taking several steps including:

  1. Empowering business units to use technology as a means of achieving success with full accountability for the results
  2. Moving towards a point where the organization thinks “Cloud First”
  3. Phasing out Enterprise Architecture within IT as currently defined given business friction and challenges in keeping pace with the rate of technology change
  4. Revamping central IT to provide for Enterprise entity needs such as procurement of services, security, disaster recovery, data interchange, and service management.
  5. Establishing a new Chief Innovation Technical Officer (CITO) role to lead innovation centers of excellence to support the businesses as they rapidly adopt new cloud-based technologies for competitive advantage.

TechVision Research has just released our research report on this topic and you can get a 9 page excerpt of the report here: Death of EA and IT as we know IT

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