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Digital Business: From Big Foot to Giant Squid

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The MEGA teams in the US and UK have just come back from this year’s Gartner Enterprise Architecture & Technology Innovation Summits. The overall feedback from both events is positive, but this isn’t an endorsement of Gartner events. Rather, this is a commentary on a subtle, but important, shift in the enterprise architecture space.

 

A few of the companies that we spoke with at the enterprise architecture Summits told us that this was the year they’re embracing digital. We had conversations about customer journey mapping, moving from data-centers to cloud, integrating automation and real-time analytics into their processes, etc. To be clear, most of the conversations still focused on rationalizing application portfolios, designing future target states in response to business vision and strategic intent roadmapping. But, what was beginning to feel like a search for a mythical creature, one that sounds cool but doesn’t exist, became a search for a rare, but real, creature. I expect that by next year, companies engaging in digital business initiatives will be as common as cats and dogs.

Here’s another interesting take-away: there were far more first-timers at the events this year. We spoke with companies who were only now putting enterprise architecture programs in place for the first time. There were a lot of conversations about best practices and how to stand up a solid enterprise architecture program. Architects were eager to learn about what other organizations have done to achieve success, how they know if they’re going in the right direction, which metrics they should be using to measure success, which software the successful companies are using to manage their enterprise architecture efforts, and what the results look like on the other side.

 

Any theories out there as to why all the new people? Is technology and business getting to the point of complexity where organizations that used to do well with spreadsheets and sticky-notes now need something more robust for analytics and reporting? Was there some event that triggered a widespread epiphany among IT professionals? What has the experience been at your company?

 

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The MEGA teams in the US and UK have just come back from this year’s Gartner Enterprise Architecture & Technology Innovation Summits. The overall feedback from both events is positive, but this isn’t an endorsement of Gartner events. Rather, this is a commentary on a subtle, but important, shift in the enterprise architecture space.

 

A few of the companies that we spoke with at the enterprise architecture Summits told us that this was the year they’re embracing digital. We had conversations about customer journey mapping, moving from data-centers to cloud, integrating automation and real-time analytics into their processes, etc. To be clear, most of the conversations still focused on rationalizing application portfolios, designing future target states in response to business vision and strategic intent roadmapping. But, what was beginning to feel like a search for a mythical creature, one that sounds cool but doesn’t exist, became a search for a rare, but real, creature. I expect that by next year, companies engaging in digital business initiatives will be as common as cats and dogs.

Here’s another interesting take-away: there were far more first-timers at the events this year. We spoke with companies who were only now putting enterprise architecture programs in place for the first time. There were a lot of conversations about best practices and how to stand up a solid enterprise architecture program. Architects were eager to learn about what other organizations have done to achieve success, how they know if they’re going in the right direction, which metrics they should be using to measure success, which software the successful companies are using to manage their enterprise architecture efforts, and what the results look like on the other side.

 

Any theories out there as to why all the new people? Is technology and business getting to the point of complexity where organizations that used to do well with spreadsheets and sticky-notes now need something more robust for analytics and reporting? Was there some event that triggered a widespread epiphany among IT professionals? What has the experience been at your company?