For a considerable time now, Enterprise Architecture (EA) has been focusing on standardizing technology, tools etc. across enterprises. Irrespective of the choice of the EA framework, the EA team still looks at inventory, specifications, artifacts, tools etc. They use the right asset management tools to store their findings and to ensure that the enterprise benefits from the repository and assets. However, with the digital wave soaring high and with the need for business agility, there is a symbiotic relationship that is setting in between EA and the Digital team. But how do we achieve this Digital transformation with Enterprise Architecture in harmony?
Let's try to answer this:
Definition: No Definition is good to start with as long as everyone agrees to work with the unknown and fix the issues as we go on. This is the change EA would have to start adapting as well. Agility is required not at the organizational level, but at the enterprise level.
Tools and technologies: Tools and technologies are changing almost every week with new capabilities getting introduced and solidified. These are getting adopted as we go along in the sprint. There are small libraries getting added day in and day out. The EA should be watchful of these and make sure to get security clearance as we go along the transformation wave and not work on finalizing and standardizing tool set for the entire year and have a rigid process to approve tool sets. I have seen business move into cloud and IT team starts getting clearance after they have moved.
Documentation: As we move on fast in an agile model, we see less documentation being rolled out. Enterprise Architects are disappointed with the lack of it but rest of the folks are happy escaping the extra effort of typing content. Enterprise Architects should get habitual to mini docs and wikis and at enterprise level work on Collaboration, Knowledge Management platform as part of their Digital Workplace initiatives.
Going live: Once we go live, the responsibilities of managing the entire operations requires EA to relook at how it can be integrated with existing monitoring tools, health checks, security verification etc. This requires an ever engaged EA team during the build process to have these inbuilt into the applications. The evolution of the DevOps frameworks should be highly recommended to be an integral part of the development work.
Assets: This is a focus area, where the EA team can bring in the initiatives from one part of the organization to the rest of it without re-inventing the wheel. Being the supporter of what was done right might be the best to adapt instead of building the same with another stack. This should be driven by the EA team to break the silos within the organization and leverage these rich assets.
To summarize, there is a need for better collaboration between the digital and the EA teams. To manage this effectively both have to walk some distance towards each other as "Digital-way of doing things" is here to stay. This should require the entire EA frameworks to be ratified to adapt and be agile for the Digital world.
Please share your experience and changes that you might be seeing at your end.