In this context, we have analyzed four disruptive technology trends below, as well as their impact on the role of the enterprise architect.
The digitization and automation of processes is key to enhancing customer journeys and offer new, more efficient services. Additionally, the move to an API-based architecture facilitates exchanges and enables a flexible architecture. At the same time, integrating an agile approach has become essential for organizations in helping them to respond to changing marketing conditions and plan resultant new growth and expansion opportunities.
With customer journey maps, enterprise architects can adopt an outside-in approach by mapping customer touchpoints to the organization and link them to internal business processes. By doing so, architects can envision the customer experience first, before modeling business processes. This approach is key to modernize existing processes, and subsequently automate customer journeys.
In the same way, enterprise architects will play a major role in the process of moving to an API-centric architecture because architects can precisely model data flows between applications, which will facilitate the integration.
Finally, enterprise architecture is moving towards an agile or a "just-in-time" architecture that continuously evolves as business needs change. In that context, enterprise architects will need to work in close hands with agile teams while sharing with them the company's overall vision and break silos between agile teams.
Using data is a core component of every company's growth strategy. In addition to collecting, storing, organizing, and protecting data, companies need to analyze data and spot trends to boost business innovation. Further, companies need to ensure they are meeting data privacy compliance requirements of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
An established enterprise architecture is able to provide clarity and ease of understanding in the multitude of data collected, processed and managed by the company. EA facilitates this by establishing data dictionaries, mapping semantic models to build a business representation of data exchanges, and modeling existing databases in a logical way. Business data can then be tied to logical data so that architects can assess the impact of a business change to tackle continuous market changes.
Finally, thanks to a clear view of processes and applications processing data, it also speeds up compliance with GDPR and CCPA.
Another trend that is impacting EA is the use of digital twins. This new concept consists of creating a digital replica of a company in order to optimize its performance and associated processes. Digital twins use real data to validate models, correct them and evolve them so organizations can improve the process of business transformation.
Enterprise architecture models, that encompass business, application and technology layers, can be enhanced with real data (through data mining). The analysis of this data, by using artificial intelligence for example, enables architects to identify gaps between theoretical models and real world and thus identify the areas of improvement or failure of the systems that were supposed to work correctly. This will ensure that strategy is executed at a minimum cost, while improving time-to-market.
Artificial Intelligence is of course disrupting business in every industry. Many companies are already taking advantage of voice recognition and intelligent chatbots. These applications using artificial intelligence release employees from doing repetitive tasks so that they can use their time more efficiently. In fact, Gartner predicts that 25% of customer service operations will use virtual assistants by 2020.
Artificial intelligence involves rethinking existing business processes. There are already many artificial intelligence technologies available such as voice recognition, or recommendations based on previous choices (e.g.: Netflix). By integrating these technologies into current business models, current processes have to evolve, especially the ones related to customer interactions. Enterprise architecture will facilitate this change by providing an overall strategic vision to decision makers that ranges from business planning to technology.
In this highly disruptive context, enterprise architects have to become business partners who enable digital business transformation in their organization. This is a prerequisite to design the innovations of tomorrow. Enterprise architects must make strategic recommendations and assess business opportunities related to emerging technologies. Due to the nature of enterprise architecture, architects are able to evaluate the impact of business change to the systems of information. They can also build a whole new ecosystem, while demonstrating to the business the value generated by the connections between people, processes, applications, and content which goes far beyond purely technical or business aspects.