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Why Enterprise Architecture?

By Aaron Tan Dani
Digital transformation can help companies become more efficient, productive and agile, thus making them capable of delivering new and innovative products and services in a timely manner.

But digital transformation is not easy to achieve. Traditional brick and mortar companies have existing business models, technology systems and operational processes that are already deeply ingrained. Even their corporate culture might not be right for digital transformation.

New start-ups, which have been digital from the start, don’t have legacy problems but companies are not digital natives. Digital immigrants typically have IT systems that grow ever more complicated, requiring more and more fixes to keep up with the rapid changes in the marketplace.

To make matters worse, these days business models don’t last very long, what with the constant disruptions caused by start-ups that have found better and faster ways to do things. Digitization affects not just individual companies but entire industries.

Digital immigrants need to evolve to become as quick and innovative as digital natives. They need to have flatter hierarchies and become more agile. It is because of digital transformation that Enterprise Architecture is needed more so than ever.

Making digital transformation seamless
Although digital transformation is a complicated and challenging process, the Enterprise Architecture team can help to make it a smooth process. The team oversees the entire systems architecture, including the IT systems and business processes. It understands the corporate culture. It knows the available technology within the system and what is lacking or needed.

Because of its uniquely holistic view of the organization, the EA team can identify and solve business problems with the right use of digital technologies and solutions, whether it involves re-using and revamping existing components or implementing brand new ones.

In short, the EA team’s role is to redesign the organization’s existing business and IT architectures in order to establish a seamless and enduring partnership between IT and business, which is so crucial in order to be competitive in today’s highly digitalized economy.

The digitalization of the economy has resulted in more data being generated than ever before. This deluge of data can be overwhelming but it can also be a game changer. Big Data Analytics gives enterprise architects a unique view of the state of the enterprise. With this, the team can implement systems that allow companies to manage and leverage on data to make timely, informed business decisions.

Business is not static but fluid
Digitization trends such as social media, cloud computing, mobile and the Internet of things are all disruptive and impactful but perhaps none more so than the rise of the web-savvy customer who is ever demanding and expects lightning quick responsiveness from businesses. Meeting such customer expectations require dynamic architecture.

In olden days, the term “architecture” might conjure up images of people working on blueprints for buildings, which are static by nature. This image was perhaps suitable before the era of digitization but today companies are fluid organizations that are far from static. They need to be dynamic and highly responsive to meet the high expectations – and sometimes changing demands – of clients and customers.

Today’s enterprise architects accept and understand the fluid nature of business and so they create architectures that empower people but at the same time limit the potential of bad choices through the use of proper guidelines and pre-approved services and technologies.

Treating the enterprise as a dynamic and fluid system like a living organism will result in an organization that is not afraid of change but in fact embraces it. A truly agile enterprise is one that is in a state of continuous digital transformation. The evolution never stops.

Today’s modern CEO seeks digital transformations for their companies because they know they need this in order to survive and thrive. Digital transformation is not an option or even a luxury but a necessity. Enterprise architecture is vital to that process.

An effective architecture will allow a company’s business strategies to be implemented successful in the digital age by ensuring alignment between business and IT.

Aaron Tan Dani
Chairman of EA Chapter, Singapore Computer Society