At the same time, devices, machines, nearly everything which can be built, are becoming smarter, thanks to the unlimited addresses provided by IPv6, low cost connectivity and app development. And the cloud of course. What does this second trend mean for IT?
Well, we can already see some of this taking shape. IT is no longer only responsible for providing IT resources to support value creation like ERP, SCM, etc. It has evolved to become part of the product, and therefore gets a completely new role in organizations’ business models. In some advanced examples, products like cars, elevators, and windmills are permanently connected with their manufacturers, communicating information about operation, faults, usage, external circumstances and predictive maintenance. Some even go beyond and allow remote monitoring and control. Companies now have the possibility to invent new services and products, and combine them in new ways, better than ever before. Different devices (bigger and smaller) and cloud services can be integrated and… well… need to interoperate and communicate. While improving the operational efficiency of an organization’s resources is the main objective of what we can call classical enterprise architecture, the latter is a completely different approach. For a while now, this has been known as system of systems architecture, the underlying approach for most military-oriented architecture frameworks like NAF and DoDAF. The idea is to design autonomous systems instead of slicing an organization into layers from strategy to processes to IT. This means:
A common example is SEAR (Sea Air Rescue). This system is composed of the following subsystems: helicopter, boat, satellite, and land-based control unit. The helicopter is composed of… and so forth. But it can also play a role in another system composition. All subsystems interact and communicate to deliver their specific, defined service.
Isn’t that very similar to the following idea: Cars interacting with the manufacturer interacting with mobile devices interacting with parking grounds interacting with traffic control interacting with car sharing in another city for user profile and so on?
MEGA has a long history with enterprise architecture and with system of systems architecture, and has combined both practices in its HOPEX software platform. This allows companies to follow both practices at the same time, enabling EA to help evolving processes and IT landscapes, and integrate IT with smart products to deliver new services to clients.