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You know when you've been Gartnered

I spent an intense two days this week attending Gartner’s Enterprise Architecture Summit in London.  The event covered quite a range of topics; indeed, it is only now that I am looking back over my notes that I realise just how much ground was covered.  What follows is a brief overview of some key messages and highlights.

The keynote speakers were keen to emphasise that digital transformation requires EA to move even further out of the IT department and to partner the business in technology-led business innovation.  If the business leaders don’t see this, we need to get our foot in door and insist on coming into the conversation.

The internet of things was mentioned several times, along with analytics from sensors, wearables and smart devices.  “Smart machines” were one thread that Gartner has identified from emerging technologies, including autonomous personal assistants and virtual advisers.


The need to focus on human behaviour was another theme, especially how we interact with the smart devices all around us.  Hamish Taylor gave an excellent guest keynote presentation on this topic.

Several speakers recommended that we drop the phrase “shadow IT” and replace it with “citizen developers”.  I don’t think the two terms mean the same thing, although I agree with the underlying intent of incorporating local innovation into the overall strategy.

There were some case study sessions, including the successful use of EA at Aalto University in Finland, and Heineken’s targeting of EA at supporting innovation.

Several vendors of EA tools were displaying their wares.  Gartner offered some analysis of the marketplace, which I found useful.  There are some very impressive tools with large scope, intended for use across the organisation, that are probably better for more mature EA practices than ours.  Fortunately, there are more focussed tools for modelling or creating roadmaps.

I attended a round table discussion about the future or ERP, which Gartner say is moving to “post-modern ERP”.  They mean a move away from monolithic solutions to a range of cloud vendors, highlighting the need for an integration strategy.

One of the most useful sessions for me was about practical advice on writing effective reference models and roadmaps.  I will put this advice to good use on documents that I am currently writing.

I haven’t done justice to any of these topics.  Any of them would be worth a blog post on their own, and if I have time I may return to them in the future.

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