Forrester’s ‘EA 2020’

Gettin’ there… the ‘big-name’ consultancies, yep, they are gettin’ there. Slowly…

Nice example today was an auto-notification from Forrester about their new enterprise-architecture report, ‘EA 2020 – The Transformation Of EA In The Age Of The Customer‘. It’s written by a whole slew of their better-known consultants, including folks like Brian Hopkins and Henry Peyret who I know personally and well, and whose work I greatly respect.

I can’t afford the $499 that Forrester charges for its reports, so the details of the content will have to go by the wayside here. But the abstract is certainly interesting enough:

Customers are the key to business success. And changes in how customers engage with your business are forcing changes to marketing, product, and business strategies. In the “age of the customer,” business leaders recognize that the landscape is changing as they rate customer acquisition, retention, and service as their top business priorities. Enterprise architecture (EA) should have always been about the business, but now EA has to engage in addressing these priorities — and that means a seismic shift in the practice of EA. This report describes what this means for EA leaders in terms of how practice, necessary competencies, and the scope of what is considered EA.

All well and good: no disagreement as such about any of that. Yet there’s a sentence in there that might slip by many folks attention, but really does need to be given a special highlight all of its own:

Enterprise architecture (EA) should have always been about the business, but now EA has to engage in addressing these priorities — and that means a seismic shift in the practice of EA.

Yes, indeed, it should have always have been about the business (or more than just the business, actually). Without any doubt whatsoever, it should certainly always have been about more than just the IT. Yet the bit that’s annoying here is that it was the big-consultancies who were so much at the forefront of purporting that it was only about the IT – as in this fiasco some eighteen months back – and it is kinda galling that they’re suddenly asserting otherwise.

So, just to set the record straight, about that general class of big-consultancies whose obsessions and with IT and the cult of IT-centrism have – bluntly – caused so damage over the past decade or so to the real cause of enterprise-architecture, here are a few of my now quite old posts on exactly this topic…

So yes, it’s good to see that a big-consultancy such as Forrester is more openly and explicitly stating that we need to think much broader about the nature and role of enterprise-architecture, and about a much broader scope.

But it’s worth noting if Forrester and Gartner and Microsoft and IBM and the like had not spent so much time and effort in pushing the entire industry so darn hard in the wrong darn direction for half a decade and more, that headline of Forrester’s above would read ‘EA 2015’, not ‘EA 2020’. In fact, we might already be there by now, with an EA industry that actually means something – rather than the IT-centric bad-joke that still currently purports to be ‘EA’. What a waste…


4 Comments on “Forrester’s ‘EA 2020’

  1. My own prediction is that this change will come well before 2020. The ongoing evolution and growth in the IaaS, PaaS, SaaS space is starting to have an impact. That will start to shift the demand for EA resources, moving ETA to service providers and leaving space for EBA to expand and to demonstrate value to the enterprise.

    At the same time, increasing market disruption will require Boards and Executives to get on the front foot, presenting the opportunity for EBA to deliver demonstrable value in challenging times.

    It will be interesting to revisit this topic in two years’ time!!

    • Peter – yes, I’d certainly hope that “this change will come well before 2020”. Yet given that several key players are still pulling ‘the trade’ backwards as hard as they can, I ain’t holding my breath… 🙁

      (But yes, will indeed “be interesting to revisit this topic in two years’ time”… 🙂 )

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