End of EA and IT

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The End of EA and IT as We Know IT


John Mellars
Principal Consulting Analyst

Gary Rowe
CEO, Principal Consulting Analyst

Corporate IT in general and Enterprise Architecture (EA) in particular has not evolved with the times. The proliferation of the cloud, the ascent of Millennials to IT leadership positions and the accelerating pace of technology change are driving the need for fundamentally new approaches to EA and IT. Enterprises must become more dynamic and flexible, focusing on enabling disruptive improvements or risk enterprise IT rapidly becoming totally out of alignment with the needs of the business.

There is a pervasive movement to the cloud and enterprises are leveraging the flexibility and cost advantages it offers. Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are changing the way IT works and they offer independence at the business-unit level; independence that threatens the entire mission of IT. IT and EA don’t need to be in the middle of every business unit technology decision, which is, of course, why EA was created in the first place.

Legacy technology governance models such as EA don’t fully translate to this new way of using cloud-based services, rapid deployment, microservices and new models for application development operations. To underscore this point, vendors now compete based on the functions and capability they offer linked to organizational business requirements, not based on enterprise IT and technology governance standards. This approach completely sidesteps processes established by the CIO through its IT and EA teams. The end result is significant organizational friction and often EA specifically, and IT, in general, are increasingly seen by the business units as “business prevention.”

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.

What is Enterprise Architecture in this “new and changed” environment? It is what we call the “cloudification” of EA. As discussed in this groundbreaking report, enterprise architects are morphing into enterprise IT Product Managers (EIPM). The concept is optimizing the choice of products and services for the enterprise to optimize flexibility, business utility and speed of deployment. This report describes that path towards the next generation of IT.

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