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Emerging Technologies, Innovations & Trends, Part 3


So we’ve finally reached this mystical place known as the last blog post of the class…

We started the semester by discussing the impact of Digital Disruptions, explored the five different aspects of the Enterprise Architecture stack, and ended here, discussing Emerging Technologies and Trends.  So we know the impact (the disruptions) that new technologies and trends can have on our organization.  What tools and methods are available to help us decide if the disruption is worthwhile?  If our organization

CIO Insight offered these 4 tips:

  • Establish an emerging technology evaluation process that helps CIOs adopt only those technologies that will have a positive business impact. Evaluations should ask the questions: What does the company hope to achieve, and how will the hardware or application help meet that goal?
  • Don’t get overly enamored of new technologies and applications without first looking at how the products might apply to the organization and its business needs. It sounds obvious enough, but many companies have gotten burned investing in products that were hyped by vendors although they weren’t well-suited for their needs, budget, IT infrastructure, culture, etc.
  • When deciding on a new technology investment, don’t rely on intuition to make the call. Also, don’t make the decision in a technology vacuum. If possible, the people who will be using the products should be involved in the decision-making process, so they can express opinions about how well the technology meets their needs and whether it will help them do their jobs better.
  • Before purchasing a new technology and implementing it broadly across the enterprise, if feasible, test the product on a smaller group to understand how users will accept the technology. By doing this, IT executives can also become aware of any implementation problems that might arise and how to troubleshoot them.

In today’s “instant gratification” culture, it would be easy to just grab any new technology that catches your eye and try to use it.  We know that companies market to individuals this way all the time.  In reality though, marketers approach organizations the same way.  Having a process by which to evaluate new technology is crucial to the actual success of the effective use of that technology.  Otherwise the company is not only throwing away money, but it is taking time away from the important, strategic actions that should be taking place.

If there is no real benefit to the technology, then you are simply feeding your coins to a lost cause…

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Disruptive Technology & Trends for 2016 – 2018

Emerging Technologies, Innovations & Trends, Part 2

Image Source: Brian Solis


Let’s continue looking at the work of Brian Solis.  One of Solis’ more interesting recent endeavors is to put together an annual list of what he considers to be the top Disruptive Technology Trends for the current year and forward.   Here is his list for 2016-2018:

1) The New Brand: Experiences are More Important Than Products

Customer experiences become more important than products; companies now have to consider how products and services enhance specific lifestyles and workflows.

The legacy value of brands is overtaken by brands that earn relevance by investing in engagement and collaboration in moments of truth…beyond creative. Marketing becomes CX. This includes the sum of all disparate parts, marketing, product, sales, service, support, CRM, R&D, etc. Brands must also zero-in on the needs, values and aspirations of a generation that defines everything radically differently than previous generations.

2) Goodbye Sharing Economy, I Want My On-Demand Economy…Now!

Was there ever really a sharing economy if no one was actually sharing? The sharing economy officially dissolves: everything becomes on-demand and this forces economists and ultimately businesses to understand new markets and workforces that create alternative supply based on rising demand. On-demand companies and their ecosystems of workers and customers trade on the value of reputation + trust + value.

Beyond seeing the “Uber or Airbnb of everything,” new classes of services will rise and fall based on new behavior and expectations. I also refer to this movement as the “selfish” economy in that consumers will expect every business, even those that are traditional, to do business where transparency, immediacy and context reign supreme. Everything will be on-demand, including B2B services.

3) Digital Detox Improves Digital Productivity

Digital is its own drug. People will learn how to hack their workflow because they have to. There’s too much email, too many meetings and not enough leadership to change routines. This leads to the need for individual productivity hacks. These acts go beyond employee efficiency; they will improve experiences and relationships professionally and personally. Everyone will need some sort of digital detox and/or focus.

While some will simply unplug from the Internet, others will discover and share “life hacks” such as…

• Writing down distractions from tasks at hand
• Checking email once a week
• Scheduling meetings in 20-25 minute increments
• Listening to music without lyrics
• Spending 10 minutes a day on Headspace
• Fasting from media
• Not responding to every txt
• Turning off all desktop, social and mobile notifications

4) Every Company Undergoes Digital Transformation and Gains Empathy in the Process

Digital transformation – the re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively compete in a digital economy – becomes standard. Companies will invest in digital customer experiences to improve experiences for all customers and employees.

There is no one type of customer or employee. Thus, digital transformation efforts will not be informed by digital trends; instead, social science will help decision-makers better understand how digital trends affect how people work, shop, communicate, what they value etc. Technology will then be an enabler to human-centered transformation in the enterprise to create more adaptive models, processes and systems to evolve.

5) The Dynamic Customer Journey Changes Brand Dynamics

The customer journey decentralizes, becoming a series of non-linear mobile-centric micro-moments, mimicking everyday consumer activity and communication. This sets the stage for relevant brand and product serendipity.

For example, Google learned that 90% of smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the specific brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online. And, 65% look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing it. How companies become discoverable and how they lead customers through their journey requires a new marketing infrastructure to support a customer journey comprised of micro-moments. This means that legacy strategies are good only for yesterday’s customers. To reach mobile customers in each moment of truth requires new methodologies for search, advertising, content engagement, sales and support.

6) The Consumerization of Work Turn Employees into Collaborators 

The consumerization of work goes beyond IT and devices; workflow, behavior and expectations mimic real-world apps like Snapchat, Uber, Tinder, etc.

Digital employees and customers think, act and expect differently. They want every business to feel, serve and work just like their favorite apps.

Enterprise software will start to mimic consumer apps and ultimately reshape the role of IT and the processes it manages to support employees. Slack is just the beginning of an enterprise renaissance that doesn’t just change tech – it changes how companies (and people) work.

7) Humans Need Not Apply for Old Jobs

The gap between expertise for the jobs of yesterday and tomorrow is widening. Everyone becomes students again. Yes – robots already are and will continue to automate workflow. Factories aside, intelligent devices are replacing people in front-line roles such as those at eateries, including Eatsa and McDonalds.

Traditional education no longer suffices as people are learning basic skillsets without understanding or knowing how they correlate to tomorrow’s careers. People will specialize in tasks that computers need humans to complete. Scholastic and workplace education will formalize computer-proof and computer-partnered careers and programs, and thus education becomes a constant.

8) The Age of Corporate Renaissance

Old ways give to new business models, processes and philosophies; disparate departments merge, uniting tech and complementary disciplines.

Marketing and IT work together rather than compete. CX, CRM and marketing form new experience teams.

CIOs realize the “I” stands for “innovation” and as such understand external/internal behavior to rethink how people and tech work together now and in the future.

Training and education become proactive to help modernize the workforce.

HR undergoes a renaissance to provide a workplace that is native to Millennials and up-and-coming Centennials.

9) Corporate Innovation Centers Displace or Complement R&D; The Maker Movement Becomes Threat or BFF to Incumbent Companies

Traditional R&D is no longer sufficient. Big companies invest in innovation centers: some aim to act like startups, others set out to partner with or acquire them, and some seek to lure people away from #startuplife.

Either way, innovation centers allow slow-moving, risk-averse companies to spark new ideas, experiment faster, fail faster and gain momentum to affect HQ and force change from the outside-in.

Some great innovation that cannot see the light of day within larger organizations will develop new markets, upset incumbents and either succeed solo or rollup into those companies that could not innovate.

The maker movement is “Shark Tank” for geeks and it doesn’t need judges to fund them; there’s Indiegogo, Gofundme, Kickstarter, et al. for that.

10) Culture Finally Gets Its Time in the Spotlight – Welcome to Culture 2.0

Culture is largely misunderstood and undervalued by the C-Suite today. It’s one of the reasons morale is at an all-time low. This will change because it has to. Employee engagement or the lack thereof creates a morale-busting “engagement gap”, giving way to an executive-level charter to invest in “culture 2.0”

11) Businesses Must Live by Radical Transparency to Gain Trust and Business of Customers

Businesses must also practice radical transparency or risk irrelevance. Customers want to do business with companies that match their beliefs and values. Customers are more aware and informed now. This means businesses must run counter to its normal practices, change and communicate this vision and changes in everything. With a more plugged-in understanding of human nature, businesses will not only create a happier and more productive culture: they will benefit from empowered employees, leading to an internal renaissance that yields new and innovative products, services, processes, and more.

12) Schools Pay Students to Learn and Become Agencies that Connect Companies with Expertise

The race for technical talent extends to Africa and other non-traditional establishments (such as prisons, etc.) to train qualified students computer and engineering sciences. Specialized schools will identify and teach students – even pay them to learn – and become an IP lab for companies to employ, similar to how outsourcing of other business functions works today.

13) Jarvis is Your New Chat Buddy and He Ushers in a Dawn of Conversational Commerce

Chatbots (and a dash of human interaction) turn messaging into concierge services (aka virtual assistants) and eventually predictive services that simplify everything from search to shopping to travel to customer service.

This sets the foundation for “conversational commerce.” The ability to buy products and order services without leaving the chat window becomes the new norm for everyday shopping, much like Amazon has become the standard for e-commerce.

Intelligent attendants such as Microsoft Cortana, Google Now, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri will become staples in how people navigate life and work. Very soon, the complicated and often silly questions you ask of Alexa and Siri, will be answered.

You’ll be taken aback for a split second and then you’ll go on as if you couldn’t have lived without it.

14) Mobile-first Behavior Transforms the Web

The entire Web will be re-imagined for a mobile-first and mobile-only world that is screen, location, context and intention-aware. This radically transforms the purpose of the web to become more dynamic, personal and useful at a time when people are forcing the end of a traditional information-broadcast, page/form-based, keyword world. Everything from websites to apps to commerce will require overhaul or complete innovation to cater to the EGOsystem, or the demand for real-time personalized engagement.

15) The New @Machine Age Discovers the Fountain of Sleuth

Quantum computing dramatically accelerates the artificial intelligence race, applying machine calculations that are 100 million times as fast as today’s machines. IBM’s Watson is being applied to healthcare, finance and even cooking, to explore new solutions in cognitive computing. AI can sort through and assess information that humans may have missed or never considered. This type of work is already leading to new treatments, products, services, and yes, recipes. You can bet it will also be applied to call center technology and may or may not make you want to use counter services such as @service in response.

Artificial intelligence is just one area that will benefit from experimentation. Machine learning will also yield innovation in pattern recognition, predictive analysis, mimicked common sense, and even new ways to compute and solve problems.

More immediately though, breakthroughs in programming will eventually iterate and innovate existing engineering issues, air traffic control, curing diseases, etc.

16) Reactive Medicine Gets Proactive

Regenerative medicine cuts through the ethics debate by helping everyone gain access to cloneable organs.

Nanobots will be able to assess and fix us from within. Those made from our own DNA will eventually help cure us from deadly diseases ranging from blocked arteries to cancer.

Healthcare and athletic brands will also learn from Disney’s massive Magicband investment to bring big data insights to improve health and life experiences as part of a Human Operating System (Human OS). A human operating system becomes a platform for innovation that mimics the Apple product and iCloud universe. A Magicband-like device and other products designed to work in its ecosystem are constantly plugged into personal clouds accessible by healthcare providers. Blood, oxygen, vitals and more will shift the practice of medicine from reactive to proactive care.

17) The Sh#tshow that is The Internet of Things Finally Plugs into the Human OS

The Internet of Things becomes the Internet of Sh#t because it’s a mess with too many products and apps competing for consumer attention. This creates confusion and chaos as devices are proprietary, capabilities are too narrow and not reflective of everyday life and only a few companies such as Google’s Nest and Apple’s Homekit are designing plug-and-play smart ecosystems. Even still, technology must be invisible and interoperable.

Developers must plug into the Human Algorithm and the Human OS, envisioning the body and critical activities as an ecosystem/platform rather than technology and device-first products.

On the immediate horizon, smart connected products (The Internet of Things) will help consumers in transparent means, such as in-product communication, where products communicate to manufacturers, users and suppliers about state, maintenance needs and updates. This will be done in-home and also onsite where locations become smart about visitors to better guide experiences.

18) Live! Streaming! Mobile! Video! Now!

Live streaming (video) continues to bring niche moments to life, interrupting streams everywhere, making conversations on demand a form of engagement and entertainment. This makes everyday activities such as gaming, sports, concerts, events, TV, discussions, etc., become content and its hosts and participants the new weblebrities. This puts pressure on Youtube, Vine, Facebook, Snapchat to rethink video algorithms and subsequently monetization/advertising platforms. With streaming services forcing the unbundling of traditional subscription channels and the democratization of content production and distribution, consumers re-define programmatic content and reshape the definition of “TV.”

19) Say Hello To My Little Mends; Drones Join the Workforce

Drones will continue to revolutionize photography and videography but real innovation will derive from utility in vertical applications such as delivery, care, exploration, etc.

20) Ctrl-P: Print Solutions at Will

The proliferation of 3D printing solves problems and creates solutions in vertical industries (healthcare, aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, etc.), disrupting supply chains as it matures.

Personal applications will initially be served by brick and mortar establishments such as home improvement, auto repair, and other services where parts take time, are too expensive or unobtainable.

21) Siri, Take The Wheel

You may already own your last car. Autonomous vehicles will start to make their way onto public roads as laws rapidly iterate to make way for the inevitable. v1.0 will be very beta, with initial cars shipping with steering wheels and requiring drivers to “take a back seat” but be ready to take over at a moment’s notice. Fully autonomous, self-driving cars will be on the road by 2025. Cars will learn not only how to drive, but also how to limit or strategically consider accidents, injuries and even death of passengers, drivers and pedestrians.

Intelligent transportation not only changes how people, goods, etc., get from point A to point B, but also how vehicles and technology talk to one another to create safer passage ways. Each will also transform regulation to expedite a connected grid where transportation engineering and infrastructures as well as vehicles, gear, components, etc. work together.

22) Experiences Get Real Virtual

Oculus, Hololens, MagicLeap are bringing the virtual world to life. Immersive computing will find its niche beyond industrial design and start to permeate high-end gaming and other experiential sectors. It will open up an entirely new world that truly brings VR/AR alive…or closer to lifelike.

VR/AR are already a given. As gear becomes increasingly portable (think something like Google Glass), though, experience architects and next-gen imaging equipment will design immersive 360-degree experiences that don’t just replicate everyday life, but instead enhance and even challenge it. Think about shopping with products and attendants that appear out of nowhere, or information about products that come to life as you pick them up. When you visit Hawaii and the land where Jurassic Park was filmed, you will have the opportunity to actually visit Jurassic Park. Playing games where the field of play is your physical environment with challenges greeting you in your own space. Total Recall and Minority Report are just around the corner.

23) Power On…ward

In-home battery systems provide an entry-level solar solution to those with electric cars. Systems such as Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerpack lead to a battery innovation race that benefits households, devices/appliances and other goods powered by less eco-friendly means and the greater power sector.

24) Fashion Sense Gets Smart, Darlings

Intelligent or smart fabrics (E-textiles) make clothes more than fashionable or useful: they become part of a new genre in the wearable movement. Working together, many types of sensors integrated into one larger garment can tell different stories and unlock new possibilities.

Clothes will have beacon-like technology to control/inform surroundings. Clothing articles will transform based on environment and activities, and also sustain desired body temperatures.

Through Bluetooth technology, clothing will communicate body status to core devices that track performance, state, etc. for you and your healthcare provider.

25) Finance Gets a Makeover Inside and Out

The blockchain allows you to create a public ledger system that’s accessible for all, and secure. Blockchain technology will influence global financial organizations to rethink banking infrastructures. Rather than transacting based on the individual, currency and ultimately goods become individual assets. Each transaction becomes a micro-purchase around your account, but it doesn’t actually involve your personal authentication. Authentication is performed by your assets. All of this is recorded on your bank’s open blockchain ledger in real-time, easily and inexpensively.

Speaking of banks…based on the rise of the “selfish economy” and the consumerization of all tech, the idea of what a bank is and how people interact with it creates new micro-banks that look, act and perform banking functions for a digital/mobile generation.

26) The Cloud Takes Over Business

Critical ERP systems beyond CRM, marketing, etc. move to the cloud. Businesses cannot compete at the speed of digital Darwinism if they don’t change how they “do” business.

Nearly a third of all enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in the world will attempt the migration to the cloud in the next two years.


I found a number of these very interesting due to personal experience as well observation of some of these trends first hand.

3. Digital Detox Improves Digital Productivity – I have observed a greater number of friends & acquaintances who have started regularly disconnecting from digital media.  For myself, I have actively used a couple of the “life hacks” mentioned such as “Spending 10 minutes a day on Headspace” & “Listening to music without lyrics”.  Both of these actions appear to have increased my concentration level while I am engaged in either work or study.

14. Mobile-first Behavior Transforms the Web – The trend towards “Mobile-first” behavior on the web has been rapidly growing since the time this article was written.  At times, this can be unfortunate for the end user as many companies have attempted to migrate to a “mobile-first” approach without real consideration if there was an actual need.

24. Fashion Sense Gets Smart, Darlings – As existing types of wearables have gotten more and more popular, there are new types of wearbles rapidly being developed in the market as well.  I am expecting to see sensors integrated into clothing within the next year due to collaboration between a fitness wearable maker and a sports clothing manufacturer.

26.  The Cloud Takes Over Business – As cloud hosting has come down in costs, it’s only natural that businesses will start looking at it more seriously.  Even though the economy has recovered somewhat in the last few years, this has not stopped companies from looking for additional ways to reduce local costs and outsourcing the physical IT hardware resources is a very attractive opportunity. In all reality, most companies have nothing to really lose from such a transition.

It will be interesting to see over the next year, how many more of these trends continue to progress and become mainstream.

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The Wheels on the Technology Bus Go Round and Round

Emerging Technologies, Innovations & Trends, Part 1


We started roughly 11 weeks ago with the topic of digital disruptions due to the fast pace of innovation and technology adoption.  As we slowly are coming to the end up the semester, the last topic for discussion is Emerging Technologies, Innovations & Trends.  Innovations bring about change, which in turn brings about disruption.  We have gone full-circle and are back at the beginning…

We talked about the Fast Pace of Technology Adoption, the meaning of Disruptive Technology, and discussed How People Adopt Technology Innovations, but we haven’t really focused on the actual nature of the innovations and trends we are currently facing.

To explore some of those innovations and trends in depth, lets review some of the material of author Brian Solis, a well-known author on the subject of Digital Disruptions.  On his website, Solis refers to himself as a “digital analyst, anthropologist and futurist.”  In his own words:

I study disruptive technology, specifically innovative technology that gains so much momentum that it disrupts markets and ultimately businesses. In the past several years, disruptive technology has become so pervasive that I’ve had to further focus my work on studying only disruptive technologies that are impacting customer and employee behavior, expectations and values and affecting customer and employee experiences. I can hardly keep up with today let alone consider the potential disruption that looms ahead in every sector imaginable including new areas that will emerge and displace laggard perspectives, models and processes.

Starting back in 2009, Solis started creating the below graphic which he calls the “Wheel of Disruption.” Every few years he would update it to add new trends or technologies.  The below image is his 2015 version.  The main intent of the graphic is to show the “Golden Triangle” of real-time, mobile and social, surrounded by the cloud, which as Solis says is “inspiring incredible innovation and thus producing new and disruptive apps, tools and services.”

Image Source: Brian Solis


In Part 2, We will look in more detail and some of the predictions that Solis has made regarding upcoming technology and trends.


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Architecture of the Future

The Enterprise Business Architecture, Part 3

So what will the Architecture of the Future look like?  As much as it would be fun to explore futuristic architectural designs of buildings, that’s not what we are talking about.  We know that over the last 10 years, the make-up of Enterprise Architecture has changed from process-oriented to business-outcome driven.  This week’s topic has been specifically about the Enterprise Business Architecture, so what is the anticipation of change coming to this specific view of EA?

Gordon Barnett of Forrester wrote an article entitled “Business Architecture 2020 – Extending Beyond Organizational Boundaries” back in 2013.  In 2016, he updated this article and it was renamed  “Business Architecture 2020 – Evolving to Influence Business Strategy”.  In this updated report, Barnett briefly summarizes a perspective of the future of Business Architecture, based on current trends in business and EA.  The report includes 2 main takeaways (Barnett, 2016):

  • Business Architecture will expand beyond Organizational Boundaries
  • By 2020, Organizations will need different types of Business Architects

Let’s dig a little deeper into each of those topics.

Business Architecture will expand beyond Organizational Boundaries

As organizations have changed to be more global in nature, Business Architecture will need to reflect this shift as well.  It is more common for organizations to have more dealings with external contractors, third-party vendors, partners, etc.  Today’s Business Architect is focused on the internal organizational environment.  However, tomorrows Business Architect will need need to shift their focus to the external environment which incorporates a much larger business ecosystem (Barnett, 2016).   Barnett points out 2 key changes in this shift of focus:

External influence on strategic decisions will increase.
“Today, business strategy determines the market in which to compete and how the organization will win. External influence on business strategy is very limited.  By 2020, as consumer and partner behaviors shift, organizations will need to extend their focus to the complete value-creation networks. External influence, particularly from customers, employees, and partners, will increase, and executive committees will need to react accordingly. BA focus will extend beyond the existing organization boundaries to include collaborating third parties, i.e., partners and customers. Organizations and BA leaders must understand the impact of these third parties on the agility of an organization’s strategy and on the delivery of value and experience to customers.”

Partner influence on the strength of an organizations capabilities will grow.
For an organization to realize its mission requires a set of business capabilities: what an organization needs to satisfy its mission. Unless the organization undertakes a diversification strategy, the organization’s business capability needs will remain static. However, over time, the howwhere, and who (the processes, information, technology, and people) will change to reflect the economic requirements and strategy of the organization.
In the future, the advancement of technology and innovation in business practices will broaden the ways in which partners influence the structure of an organization. Many organizations will focus only on their core business capabilities, with the noncore business capabilities provided by third parties; for example, an entity like ADP may provide payroll. This restructuring of the operating model will force BA to understand the maturity of these externally provided business capabilities and how they hinder or support the organization’s strategic intent.

Organizations will need Different Types of Business Architects

As the scope of Business Architecture widens, the individual skills of business architects will also need to grow.  As more and more business architects become part of the normal business environment, there will be a need for business architects with varying skills, including many specializations.  This may include focuses in specific business domains, corporate strategy or even analysis of industry trends. According to Barnett, this new breed of business analyst will have skills focused on (Barnett, 2016):

Strategic management. Many BA leaders state that their primary focus is strategic alignment or strategic direction/choice. However, very few BA leaders are actually at the table when firms are making strategic decisions. As 2020 approaches, the need for a deep understanding of an organization’s industry or market ecosystem will grow. Firms will need to answer a variety of questions, including determining the types of strategic relations needed to support business objectives. Ecosystem business architects will have opportunities to move into this space and join the strategic management group reporting directly to the CEO.

Analysis techniques and methods. Today, business architects have developed a core set of competencies to build internal blueprints of the organization. By 2020, as the scope of business architecture extends from a purely internal view of the organization to one that includes the organization’s operating environment, BA leaders will need to develop additional strategic and ecosystem analysis skills. This will involve mastering techniques such as political, economic, social, and technological (PEST) and customer-centric PEST (cPEST) analysis; Porter’s five forces; scenario analysis; persona analysis; journey maps; and other ecosystem analysis techniques.
Also, because the performance of an organization’s partners will help determine its performance, BA leaders will need to acquire skills to assess performance and dependency analysis, a form of systems thinking. In particular, business architects will need to answer questions such as these: What areas of the business performed outside of expectations? Why did this happen? Was this a one-off, or is it a trend?

External relationship management. Today’s BA practices are recruiting business architects that have demonstrated mastery in soft skills, including communication, negotiation, facilitation, and diplomacy skills. In a world where business architecture extends beyond the boundaries of the organization, some stakeholders of business architecture will be external to the organization. Thus, business architects will need not only these soft skills but also external relationship management skills to address the different motivations and cultures of the external stakeholders.

Business model transformation and innovation. In the age of the customer and the world of digital business, executives will need the assistance of subject matter experts (SMEs) in the fields of customer life cycles and digital businesses.  In particular, SME business architects will guide and influence strategy decisions that focus on delivering digitally enhanced experiences that add value in the context of their customers’ needs rather than purely on channel strategies. Firms will then be in a better position to combine digitally connected products and services to meet customer needs and deliver more value than the sum of their parts.

Barnett concludes his article with a few recommendations, of which they all primarily can be summarized as “start preparing your business architects now for the future.”  If his predictions are accurate, then the investment now of additional training, organizational change, and the general extending of the business architecture practice will clearly pay off down the road.



Barnett, Gordon. (2016). Business Architecture 2020 – Evolving to Influence Business Strategy.  Forrester.  Retrieved November 5, 2017 from


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Architectural Challenges

The Enterprise Business Architecture, Part 2

Image Source: DesignBoom


Architectural Photographer and Artist, Filip Dujardin, has a special talent.  He can create images such as the photo above, which, at first glance, appear unusual yet somewhat plausible. Upon careful inspection, though, these buildings are actually impossible.  He is able to take multiple digital elements and create these surreal buildings.  According to Dujardin, “the building becomes real if the shadows are well done.”

So what does that have to do with Business Architecture?

The fact is that many organizations claim to have setup an Enterprise Architecture including the Business Architecture viewpoint, but in reality it’s just on paper.  It’s not real..!!!  Even if the organization claims to have been successful, there is no tangible benefit that is being realized.  In fact, roughly 2/3 of all EA initiatives are considered to have failed.

Specifically in the Business Architecture arena, only a small percentage of programs are actually delivering value back to the organization.  Forrester published a report in 2010 listing the top 14 Business Architecture Challenges and some recommendations on how to overcome those challenges.  Instead of regurgitating what author Jeff Scott wrote, I think his article stands on it’s own (Scott, 2010):

Fourteen Business Architecture Challenges And How To Overcome Them

EAs Are Challenged By Their Own Business Architecture Capabilities

Though business architecture has been part of the basic EA model from its inception, only in recent years have EAs focused there. Business architecture knowledge, skills, and methodology are all lagging general EA by a decade or more, and because business architecture is fundamentally different from technology architecture, the learning curve is very steep. The good news is that EA teams can overcome these challenges without much help or support from the rest of the organization. The following challenges are within EA’s scope to resolve:

  1. Weak EA business skills. Most EA teams are composed of some of the organization’s strongest technologists. Their past experience, interest, and current EA roles keep them overly focused on technology topics with little time — and often little inclination — to improve their business and business architecture knowledge. Successful business architects are allocating time to read business books, interact with business mentors, and learn about the fundamentals of their company’s business model. Non-IT-based business architects come to the table with M.B.A.s and business-specific experience.
  2. A low level of EA credibility in the business. Fifty-four percent of EA teams report to a senior-level executive such as a CIO or CTO, while the rest report lower in the IT organization. With little business visibility, many aspiring business architects are virtually unknown to business leaders. In addition, many EA teams have unintentionally created a negative impression through their efforts to hold project teams to architectural standards. Successful EA teams position the EA practice as a project resource as opposed to a controlling function, thereby turning their IT peers into business architecture (BA) advocates who promote them to the business.
  3. A lack of industry-standard business architecture methodology. Business architecture is still in its infancy. While there are a number of “meta methodologies” in the public domain, they are neither comprehensive nor robust. Business architects are still experimenting with which approaches work best. For the foreseeable future, business architects will have to craft their methodology from what is available and continue to evolve it over time.
  4. Poorly articulated business strategy. Many architects might disagree that this is an EA team issue, but Forrester believes it is a core responsibility of the business architect to identify, clarify, and document business intent. Business leaders are skeptical of the value of a documented business strategy because they have rarely seen a good one. Often architects address this challenge informally, gaining small wins with the business before tackling an enterprise view. Architects that create a well-articulated view of business strategy report an “aha” reaction from their business executives.
  5. Weak business-IT alignment. Contributing to many EA teams’ lack of business credibility is the fact that they reside in an IT organization that is poorly aligned with business goals. Architects take one of two opposing strategies to overcome this challenge. One is to meet it head-on and apply EA and business architecture specifically to helping improve alignment. The other is to distance EA from the IT culture to present a different viewpoint to the business.

EAs Are Challenged By The Business Culture That Surrounds Them

While BAs are still trying to figure out what a really great business architecture looks like, they are facing an even bigger challenge in connecting with organizations that are not designed or predisposed to work in a coordinated, strategic fashion. The organization and cultural challenges BAs face are:

  1. IT gatekeepers who prevent EA’s interaction with the business. Most IT organizations have established business relationship managers as a formal or informal role. Whether they are project managers or senior IT executives, they play an important role in managing the business relationship by providing a single point of contact and by isolating the business from many of the day-to-day nuances of managing IT. Strong gatekeepers create a formidable challenge to EA, and successful architects most often partner with them as opposed to try to circumvent them.
  2. Organizational silos that make it difficult to get the big picture. Business unit independence is the norm and is a natural occurrence spawned by dealing with span of control challenges. Successful business architects use this to their advantage by cultivating a relationship with one business unit and leveraging success there to gain access to others.
  3. A tactical business focus. Quarterly financial reporting, a lack of corporate strategic thinking, and the fast pace of business environment change drive short-term business thinking. Convincing business leaders to explore a strategic viewpoint is challenging. Successful approaches to this challenge usually begin with finding a specific problem business architecture can solve as opposed to trying to sell the larger concept.
  4. A culture of change resistance. Almost all organizations resist change unless their business model is based on product innovation. Resistance to change is a very powerful force, as it is usually rooted within each individual’s perspective of what he or she has to do to be successful. Resistance to change can rarely be “solved” but instead must be managed. Architects who manage change well first develop a plan to understand the factors that are creating resistance and then attack those issues by lowering the perceived risk of doing something different.

EAs Are Challenged By Lack Of Support And Resources

Architects can’t build business architecture in a vacuum.  They need the support, or at least the attention, of a number of businesspeople at various levels of the organization. Most business architecture efforts are small and only require minimal funding; however, like any other initiative, they do need money — and the more they have, the faster they can proceed. Developing a clear value proposition can be the most challenging aspect of building business architecture. The resource and support challenges BAs face are:

  1. Business architecture has yet to establish a compelling value proposition. Business architecture is still relatively new; few companies are far enough along the path to report the value they are receiving. As with other EA domains, BA value is hard to specify until architects do enough work to show results. Current BA approaches that are showing results typically focus on specific problems or a single business unit.
  2. Business architecture rarely has executive sponsorship. Though many architects list executive sponsorship as a critical success factor (CSF), few are reporting that they have it. Securing sponsorship is somewhat of a “chicken and the egg” problem. Architects want sponsorship to drive support for BA but generally have to make enough progress to demonstrate value to gain sponsorship. Architects that do gain executive sponsorship typically first show results at a project or departmental level.
  3. EA teams rarely have specific business architecture funding. Without a clear and compelling value proposition, most EA teams find that BA funding is limited. Many have made the case to hire a single business architect to round out the EA team, but few have established funding for specific BA initiatives. Successful BA startup efforts leverage a small number of resources to manage a larger number of non-EA participants.
  4. Availability of business resources is low. Business executive and senior management time is a scarce commodity. Most business managers are overworked, often finding themselves with a full calendar of meetings most days. Consequently, they are very careful about committing the little free time they have. Executive sponsorship can overcome this challenge, but most BAs are forced to work at a lower level with the intent to move up in the organization as they produce results.
  5. Strategic activities have low priority. Most organizations are tactically focused with little appreciation of the strategic value of architecture and strategy. Most business managers are accustomed to seeing strategy efforts as a waste-of-time planning exercise. BAs report making headway when they judiciously apply strategic tools to help solve current problems.

The Solution is in the Connection of the Challenges

Taken individually, these challenges can seem overwhelming, but this is a problem of not seeing the forest for the trees. Putting the challenges in context creates a clear picture of how to proceed (see figure below). To tame these BA challenges:

  • Assess the challenges you face. Not all business architects will face all 14 challenges, nor will each challenge present the same level of difficulty. Lay out the challenges in road map form that clarifies your business architecture effort’s current position and indicates future steps. Focus your attention and energy on the next challenge you need to address.
  • Build foundational success first. Though the solutions are not completely as sequential as Figure 3 indicates, building a strong foundation is crucial to achieving long-term success. In general, executive sponsorship and funding can only be solved when you have a compelling value proposition, which you can only create once you have demonstrated value in some way, which you can only do when you have the right skills and capabilities. Attempting to skip steps will only lead to frustration and additional work to recover lost ground.
  • Demonstrate value to overcome organizational challenges. Organizations will rarely get behind a BA initiative because it is the right thing to do. Everyone wants to know “what’s in it for me?” Find opportunities to add value to build up credibility. Typical places business architects are getting early traction are in business transformation projects, business-IT alignment initiatives, annual IT and business planning exercises, merger and acquisition activities, and large process improvement initiatives.



Scott, Jeff. (2010). Fourteen Business Architecture Challenges And How To Overcome Them.  Forrester.  Retrieved October 30, 2017 from


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