7 Future Trends in Enterprise Architecture

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The world of Enterprise Architecture is constantly changing. As our business practices and IT systems evolve, so must our methods of managing them.

Looking ahead is key to a successful EA practice, so Dr. Tim O’Neill, founder of Avolution, outlined seven key trends that are likely to impact the work of enterprise architects through the 2020s.

The “Megatrends”

1) Continual Transformation and Remodeling

Digital transformation is an incremental, continual process. According to a recent survey from Harvard Business School, companies “who had been working on their digital transformation for more than 5 years reported the most headway”[i]. It is important to consider that wholesale “digitization” is a cultural change.

It’s also now becoming clear that data-driven decision making is key to the long game of transformation success.

2) Cost Management

Cost is regularly listed as the greatest concern for stakeholders when analyzing IT infrastructure. A robust EA practice can increase cost predictability, allowing organizations to make informed decisions.

A key skill for Enterprise Architects is communicating the benefits and upside of change or investments: providing stakeholders with information that speaks the language of business and financial goals. For instance:

  • Explaining how a project will impact sales, market share, competitive advantage
  • Outlining how a transformation or migration will contribute to revenue improvements or product pricing
  • Explain how infrastructure investment can improve customer experience or productivity metrics (uptime, disaster response improvements)

3) Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks are on the rise across all industries. ABACUS provides support for cybersecurity frameworks like NIST and SABSA plus standards such as TOGAF out of the box. Architects can use these frameworks to capture and monitor risks and mitigation measures.

Example of interactive Graph view - drill down into different applications to find discoverable data

NIST Cybersecurity Framework in ABACUS

Enterprise Architecture Trends

4) Industry-specific Clouds and Knowledge

Different industries have different demands and uses for cloud services. Cloud providers already offer purpose-built industry-based clouds which address requirements or regulations unique to healthcare, manufacturing, retail or financial services.

Enterprise architects have used industry-specific frameworks for years, so this is not new to us, but EAs will be key to selecting and managing the best cloud options for their organizations.

Using capability maps in ABACUS, Architects can drill down into their technology infrastructure, including cloud providers to see how they are supporting the organization.

5) Automation

With new advancements in AI and machine learning, calculations of EA metrics like lifecycle analysis and cost forecasts and trends can be automated, saving Architects time and allowing them to provide cost updates to the business on demand.

Example of interactive Graph view - drill down into different applications to find discoverable data

ABACUS diagram auto-layout options for an AWS cloud architecture


6) Visibility and Discoverability

Just capturing your organization’s data isn’t enough. As an Enterprise Architect, visualizing data in a way that is familiar and engaging for technical and business stakeholders is key.

Architects shouldn’t have to wrestle with their architecture. With ABACUS, the repository and diagrams are adaptable and customizable. Users can make the most of standard diagramming approaches such as AWS and Azure, or business strategy frameworks like Balanced Scorecard or PESTLE.

In addition, our open API also allows you to make the most of your existing data.

7) “Death of Spreadsheets”

Smart catalogs in ABACUS provide architects with a better alternative to standard spreadsheets.

Data can be auto-populated, with machine learning filling in any gaps and giving a more complete view of an organization’s technology and architecture.

Looking forward, these smart catalogs will be able to accelerate the management of data portfolios and avoid constant manual updates to stagnant spreadsheets.

[i] https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/leading-in-the-digital-era-where-can-digital-transformation-take-you

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