Forrester blogger Brian Hopkins says that we should not depend on Enterprise Architects (EA) to innovate (in this blog post). I disagree. EAs define the architecture vision for the enterprise and the future state of various architectural domains. When doing so, they should reach out and remove current barriers and apply innovation to the maximum extent possible. EAs applying such thought processes in advance lay a strong foundation for innovation at lower levels of execution.
Innovation is most likely to happen at the intersections of various architectural domains across the enterprise. EAs are enviably positioned to control the depth of visibility across domains and can create an environment that stimulates the generation and capture of innovative thoughts amongst IT practitioners.
Nadhan’s top 5 picks for such intersections:
- Services and the Enterprise. The focus of service-oriented principles has been predominantly around the business processes and the enabling applications. More recently, it has been extended to the infrastructure. However, the fundamental concepts of service orientation are yet to be systematically applied in other areas of the Enterprise. Doing so will realize outcomes that include disruptive ways of achieving technological independence and seamless integration of disjointed components across compute, network and storage.
- Applications and Security. Security architecture around applications has been reactive at best. EAs must consider applying and stimulating innovation to break applications security. Innovation can be applied to identify potential vulnerabilities. Advance identification of security loopholes can lead to the prediction of violation patterns that can be effectively counter-acted through proactive counter measures.
- Infrastructure and Applications. Virtualization — an innovative concept in itself — can be applied to visual devices, for example. (Will they still be around? I remember seeing a visual technique where the hand is used as the mouse on a holographic screen projected into thin air.) This is an intersection point where EAs can reverse current trends by applying principles that define infrastructure solutions to meet application requirements, rather than architecting applications based upon infrastructural constraints.
- Systems Management and Automation. The need for standardization and automation has increased exponentially within the Systems Management environment. EAs, when defining the principles for Systems Management Architecture, should challenge the status quo and innovatively suggest approaches for introducing and increasing automation.
- Information and Application. Data is multiplying exponentially by the minute. Synthesized presentation of information to key stakeholders is essential to realizing the full value of this data. EAs must look at transparently integrating the data and application layers for just-in-time presentation with context.
These are the key intersections that come to my mind. This proactive approach to innovation by EAs is essential for it to have a systematic focus, maximizing business gains across the enterprise.
Who is better positioned to architect such innovation across the enterprise?
Please meet the Chief Innovation Officer – the Enterprise Architect.
The Enterprise Architects on the staff of HP Strategic IT Advisory Services can help you drive innovation and create competitive advantage.
Are you an Enterprise Architect? Are there such intersection points that come to your mind? Please let me know.
E.G.Nadhan is a Distinguished Technologist with HP Enterprise Services. You can read more of his blogs at: