Enterprise Architecture Practice In 2022
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Enterprise Architecture Practice In 2022

DibyenduBaksi, PhD VP, Enterprise Architecture, Lendmark Financial Services
DibyenduBaksi, PhD VP, Enterprise Architecture, Lendmark Financial Services

DibyenduBaksi, PhD VP, Enterprise Architecture, Lendmark Financial Services

Modern Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a discipline that provides framework for digital transformation to guide delivery of solutions using the latest technologies. The ability to succeed in the competitive business atmosphere of today requires agility, efficiency and flexibility to meet the demands of the market. There has been a shift in focus over the past decade in EA from strategy delivery to design of strategies to enable and accelerate modernization.

Establishing EA practice starts by baselining current state of the organization with core business processes and technology assets followed by evaluation of their alignment with business goals. Top management buy-in, culture and mindset of the organization along with willingness to commit funding are critical factors in the eventual success of EA practice. Depending on the scope ofdigital transformational goals, efforts will lead to multiple roadmaps for different verticals/LOBs and shared servicesin a window of a few quarters. The main challenge is to translate the quantitative business metrics to technology strategies, a core responsibility of EA, by assigning business features to specific components. This forms the crux of architecture at multiple levels starting from EA at the top level. Articulation of specification of the business features and capabilities independent of vendor specific solutions using generic technology components is the key.It is important to have separate IT Delivery and PMO teams to takeownership of realizing roadmap targets in collaboration with EA practice.

Figure 1shows the scope of EA in key areas of responsibilities and relationships toother essential practices typical offinancial industry. The areas can be mapped to EA frameworks such as TOGAF although theymay seem more abstract thanneeded. The diagram is self-explanatory butthe key points are elaborated below.

Business Process: Modeling core business processes that benefit and bring the most value to a company in alignment with the business goals is critical. Recent advancements in modeling and AI-based reverse engineering process extraction tools and techniques are paving the way for more efficient and faster visualization of this fundamental EA activity. Process optimization and automation need to be at the center of any transformational initiative as they form the core intellectual property of an organization. This is of great value especially in any M&A situation in today’s ever-changing business environment.

Reference Architecture: Reference Architecture lays out the different tiers of technology components such as channel applications (e.g., web, mobile, IVR), core backend business capability providers (e.g., customer information, accounts, payments) and the integration tier that facilitates between those tiers to make reuse possible. APIs are the key enablers of the business capabilities that play a pivotal role whether implemented as SOA coarse-grained services or microservices for real time integration. It is imperative to have some clarity of vision on the culture of the future organization to decide on a ‘buy-vs-build’ approach. For example, a preferred ‘best-of-breed’ solutionwill be quite different from vendor solution driven‘buy’approachin terms of talent acquisition and development.

Technology Stack and Resolution Planning: It is important for EA to establish Technical Reference Model (TRM) baseline of technology assets with a strategic set of appropriate standards and policies. Resolution planning is the first step in optimizing capital and operational expenses and it is imperative to have a configuration management (CMDB) system to record and track all assets. For example, it is an essential tool for security landscape assessment to formulate security roadmaps.

EA Roadmaps: The EA roadmaps typically indicate architecturally significant areas where improvements are sought in the reference architecture and high-level timeframes from current state to future states.Critical business processes that need improvement form the backbone of roadmaps on the common substrate of the target reference architecture. Measurable business goals in combination with all the technology roadmaps should drive technology investments leading to program formulation and execution of projects. At the end of each cycle of roadmap realization, progress needs to be tracked and roadmaps appropriately updated.

"Process optimization and automation need to be at the center of any transformational initiative as they form the core intellectual property of an organization."

Governance and Standards: EA practice needs to drive governance aspects of delivery/execution such as framing SDLCworkflows, architectural/design/code review standards or cloud migration plan and technical debt management. It is critical for PMO and Delivery teams to be governed byworkflow gates of SDLC, framed in collaboration with EA.

Architectural and design patterns at multiple tiers and components are crucial concrete deliverables ofEA with POCs to prove and certify use of new technologies to reduce operational risks early on in SDLC.Modern developments of virtualization and containers along with scalable agile best practices using CI/CD components of PaaS are pivotal to faster release cycles.EA practice is expected to go both in breadth and depth in communicating with business, solution architecture and delivery teams as a catalyst to make the office of the CIO successful. This pandemic with its unique challenges of remote work and automation underscored the crucial role of EA.

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