Enterprise architecture (EA) has undergone a fundamental change in recent years. Traditional EA activities are now regarded as a subset of a broader architectural discipline that includes business modelling, capabilities and role mapping, ecosystem architectures, product and customer journeys, and scenario planning and execution. Vendors are making extensive use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve time to value, support non-technical users, and reduce complexity and scale.
EA is no longer a technical domain and is now a continuous activity driven by business. EA has changed from EA to architect everything (AE).
Developments in architecture have gone beyond EA. It is now regarded as a visual representation of complex organizational systems that provide what-if analyses and change impact analyses. The real-time, or near real-time architectural solution set enables organizations to make informed decisions in a fast-changing environment.
Enterprises should look at their EA function considering the new tooling and use this to their advantage in digital transformation activities and decisions. Current EA solutions have converged toward business stakeholder requirements. There are many success stories, where justification relies purely on business rationale and buyers can address a broader business audience to make their case. Fundamentally, EA tools are no longer IT management tools because they now model the enterprise to support short- and long-term investment decision making. By using EA solutions, organizations are well served in their decisions.
General business users are increasingly being catered to by architectural solutions. Non-technical users are served by role-specific dashboards and functionality, assisted by AI and ML tools that make architecture intuitive, easy to use, and quick to adopt. Enterprises should take advantage of solutions that cater to business stakeholders: first, to educate business users on the advantages of an architectural approach to decisions and, second, to show the interconnectedness of technology, digital thinking, and general business processes and practices.
With EA solutions converging toward business stakeholder requirements, buyers can address a broader business audience to make their case. However, this convergence is not toward EA. Instead, it is toward business use of architecture as a real-time decision-support tool. The use of AI to assist general business users is becoming prevalent. Also, the concept of continuous, real time "single versions of the truth" is dominant.
Many architectural solutions provide for "outside-in" perspectives, including product and customer journeys, ecosystem mapping, and business modelling for allied organizations. Enterprises should therefore consider expanding their architectural scope to include suppliers, customers, and partners.
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