Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

2016 has been a good year

So much has happened over the last year with our Enterprise Architecture practice that it's hard to write a succinct summary.  For my day-to-day experience as enterprise architect, the biggest change is that I now have a team to work with.  This time last year, I was in the middle of a 12-month secondment to create the EA practice, working mainly on my own.  Now my post has been made permanent and I have recruited two members of staff to help meet the University's architectural needs.

I have spent a lot of the year meeting people, listening to their concerns and explaining how architecture can help them.  This communication remains vital, the absolute core of what we do and we will continue to meet people in this way.  We also talk to people in other Universities in order to learn from what they are doing and to share our own experience back.  A highlight in this regard was my trip to the USA last January.

Our biggest deliverable for the past year was the design of the data wa…

A new EA Repository

One of my goals since starting this job two years ago has always been to create a repository for architecture documents.  The idea is to have a central store where people can find information about the University's applications, data sources, business processes, and other architectural information.  This store will make it easier for us to explain our plans, to show the current state of the University's information systems, and to explain what Enterprise Architecture is all about.

It's taken a long time to reach this goal, mainly because we're often had more pressing and immediate work to be done.  The creation of a repository is one of those tasks that is very important but never quite urgent.  So I'm now very happy to say that we are in the process of deploying a repository and modelling tool.


This is the culmination of a careful process to select the most appropriate tool for our needs.  We began by organising several workshops to gather requirements from a rang…

A brief summary of our major initiatives

I notice that in 2016 I wrote 34 posts on this blog.  This is only my fifth post in 2017 and we're already three-quarters of the way through the year.  Either I've suddenly got lazier, or else I've had less time to spend writing here.  As I'm not inclined to think of myself as especially lazy, I'm plumping for the latter explanation.

There really is a lot going on.  The University has several major initiatives under way, many of which need input from the Enterprise Architecture section.

The Service Excellence programme is overhauling (the buzzword is "transforming") our administrative processes for HR, Finance, and Student Administration.  Linked to this is a programme to procure an integrated ERP system to replace the adminstrative IT systems. 

Enabling Digital Transformation is a programme to put the middleware and architecture in place so that we can make our processes "digital first".  We're implementing an API framework, a notification…