Digital Enterprise Architecture: Empowering Business Innovation

Digital Enterprise Architecture: Empowering Business Innovation

Innovation is increasingly becoming a cornerstone of operations for organisations, regardless of industry, size, or reputation. For many organisations, innovation is considered as the way of the future and a guarantee of stability in the years ahead. Many predict that the importance of innovation will grow over the next three years.

Innovation creates new opportunities, generates new revenue streams, and has the ability to lower operating expenses. It forces organisations to become nimbler in an ever-changing world by challenging the way they function.

While plenty of businesses are not strangers to innovation, the rising pace of change, as well as the cost and complexity of new technology, is driving them to reconsider their strategies in order to stay afloat.

This year has brought unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organisations to seriously consider their current strategies and ways of working, with innovation increasingly at the forefront of future strategy focusing on digitalisation.

Primarily, we know that everyone can innovate. However, this may appear to be an overwhelming challenge for organisations that see their competitors reaping market advantages they could only dream of due to lack of innovative culture. Any individual or organisation, however, can become more innovative with the correct culture and mentality that need to be fostered.

However, it is crucial to remember that innovation does not happen by chance, and that there are simple steps that can be taken to foster an innovative culture. All great innovation leaders will understand that by putting a long-term roadmap in place, planning the strategy and making use of limited resources effectively can lead them to noticeable results. Having leadership that believe in innovation, drive it themselves as well as encourage ideas and entrepreneurial spirit throughout their organisation creates a culture where innovation can thrive. What’s more this attitude is contagious and can see significant efficiencies appearing where they are least expected.

Enterprise Architecture in Relation to Innovation

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Figure 1: The Drivers for Business Innovation

In this context, the Enterprise Architecture (EA) is most needed in large to create the innovative organisations culture, where it will serve as the "skeleton" for all internal creative business operations. In some ways, EA formalisation is more of a business ‘art’ than a ‘technology’ or a collection of knowledge; it is the capacity to foresee the long-term evolution of an innovation business. In the next 2 years, 60% of the organisations will depend on EA to lead innovation. The EA must be capable of implementing viable innovation projects as well as recognising business strategies that could alter the organisations. While both innovation and EA can be managed on their own, the organisations can reap better benefits and develop synergies if the two are integrated. When EA is seen as the key enabler, it is possible to reduce the organisation’s complexity. In order to do this, EA should be seen as the centre connecting various changes in what I called this EA as the ‘command and control’ in an organisation. EA can help organisations to empower innovation by creating autonomous connected business and technology capabilities and yet with minimal dependencies.

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Innovation requires EA and vice versa. Without innovation, architects are only planners who are putting the same pieces together in the same order to get the same results time after time and this should not be considered typical to architects of every domain and specialty. Organisations with successful EA practices are able to manage the metrics of innovation and nurture the innovative culture within the organisation by churning out new capabilities. Successful architects of every domain must innovate and focus to further their skills, better their environment, and help the organisations realise their business dreams and ambitions.

The 10th edition Business IT Architecture Series (BITAS) Conference will uncover the digital strategies, competencies, tools and techniques for Digital EA development—and learn how to apply these insights onto your own organisation’s goals and needs. This year, we will bring the conference virtually to gather industry thought leaders, EA practitioners and communities from Asia Pacific and share on the best practices to drive continuous, cross-functional growth and innovation for digital business.

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