3 Enterprise Architecture Trends to Help Navigate Enterprise Change

24 Mar 2022

by Rebecca Harrisson

If change came with a future roadmap, everyone would have an easier job. 

Unfortunately, change is a constant companion in this ever-shifting business market. In order to adapt, organizations have to find better ways to navigate enterprise change.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) provides a connected map of the enterprise and its applications, enabling business needs, aligning goals and protecting long-term interest. Given the strategic importance of EA, it’s essential to be aware of what is happening in the domain. At Ardoq, we continually track industry trends as they emerge and grow, and have noted that many of these trends include adding people into your architecture. Armed with information gathered from domain experts, you can help your business resolve bottlenecks and improve the decision-making process.

Whether you’re an Enterprise Architect, CIO or COO, everyone wants to navigate change smoothly by making smarter decisions. Follow these EA trends to keep one step ahead and  deliver more change and innovation faster, give greater value to the market, and complete and achieve objectives.

enterprise change

1. Always Adapting Your Way-of-Working

Most Enterprise Architects endlessly tweak their systems to improve change delivery. As with all things in life, the changes aren't perfect the first time around. This is when your ability to adapt becomes essential. Each round of change, however small, ultimately improves the system. (Yes, some of the tweaks will prove to be negative or useless. But, remember, knowing what doesn’t work helps you understand what does work.)

Tracking Your Way-of-Working Changes

Make change work best for you by tracking the history of change initiatives. Seeing the applications, processes, and information impacted over time gives you vital information to make decisions.

Keep in mind that output depends on the input, so don’t forget to add the people, teams, and departments. The architecture of a company is reflected in its organization and communication pathways. Without mapping people and teams, you’ll lose vital information.

Crucial to any roadmap is your location. Over time, the tracking shows clear patterns of where change occurs. Those patterns can guide you to reorganize teams. When it’s clear where change is happening and where it’s failing, teams can work as independently as possible and improve cross-team coordination and prioritization.

2. The Social Aspects of Technical Architecture

The social aspects of architecture are becoming increasingly important as all organizations - not just those with significant IT development - embrace digitalization, develop and grow. When combining people with traditional architecture components, the organization’s design becomes apparent, showing social interactions, autonomy, mastery, and purpose of the people.

It’s beneficial for teams to see their organization and where, when, and how handoffs occur between teams. In addition, understanding the social aspects allows you to identify and fix pain points between teams and processes.

Changing Mindset to Use Enterprise Architecture in New Ways

Using Open Socio-Technical Architecture means moving away from thinking about Enterprise Architecture as a way to view systems such as the enterprise's applications, processes, and information.

Now EA takes on a new role by facilitating the understanding that people are vital actors in the enterprise. In addition, those people are happier and perform better for the organization when they have a stronger sense of purpose and mastery over solutions. Using EA can help a company treat people as people, not machines.

Benefits of Seeing the Social Technical Picture

The workflow map shows how people interact. The overview can help adjust and optimize the best workflows while identifying areas that create bottlenecks or problems. As problems are alleviated, it’s possible to deliver successful and continuous change.

It’s vital to have people who enjoy their jobs. Once you have a big picture view of your company’s social and technical architecture, you can help organize teams' workflows and help them work more independently. With additional independence, teams can decide faster and own their work - making them happier and more productive.

If you’re interested in seeing even more of the big picture of mixing social aspects into technical architectures, check out 5 Trends in Enterprise Architecture. 



3. Teams Built Around a Product-Focus 

Traditionally, organizations build teams around projects, with the focus being on pulling talent into a temporary team on a fixed budget. Then, when the project ends, the team sometimes dissolves before receiving any feedback on the project’s results.

Successful IT-intensive organizations recognize the need for continuous change and have shifted their mindset towards continuous value delivery. As a result, teams are organized along product boundaries rather than functions or projects. The goal is to have long-lived, agile, semi-independent teams continuously deliver for one product area or value stream.

Two Sides of Product-Focused Teams

As with every way of doing business, product-focused teams have advantages and disadvantages. 

For example:

  • + When teams are designed around semi-independent product areas, there’s less need for centralized control and decision-making. With increased independence, teams have an improved rate of production or processing
  • - In a perfect world, team units would work independently, needing less direction and not competing with each other. However, there are always issues across the company. To solve these problems, teams need to coordinate and prioritize different teams

The Benefit of Teams Built With a Product Focus

Mindset plays a vital role in any change initiative. Agile companies in today’s changing business environment require a product mindset. Focusing on the product rather than a specific project makes teams better meet customer needs or adapt when the business context changes.

These teams also have longevity and work towards gradual delivery of features rather than a fixed scope. By assessing the success or failure of small steps along the way, teams can receive feedback and adjust who they are working with. In addition, their work is measured by the benefit to the company rather than project milestones. Overall, their flexibility lowers the risk of failing to deliver on investments.

Ways to Navigate Enterprise Change

Keep in mind the positive outcomes of using Enterprise Architecture trends to better prepare your organization for the future.

1. Always Adapt Your Way-of-Working

When you adapt your way-of-working based on the success or failure of past projects, you’ll have the ability to change with the business context quickly. Adapting makes the company more agile when reacting to changes in the external business environment.

2. Consider the Social Aspects of Technical Architecture

Including people in your Enterprise Architecture empowers people to improve how change is delivered. You can deliver successful and continuous change and give people a more prominent, active role in delivering it.

3. Build Teams Around a Product-Focus 

Instead of having business and IT in separate project silos, you can build teams with a product focus. These teams have better delivery based on long-term investments and smaller milestones. In addition, they can adjust their goals based on feedback from these milestones.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to navigating change. These three points are a few of the many present in Enterprise Architecture today. We’ve recently outlined these three and two more in our new Guide.

Read more about these trends and how they can help your company navigate an ever-shifting market landscape in 5 Trends in Enterprise Architecture

enterprise architecture trends

Rebecca Harrisson Rebecca Harrisson Rebecca loves to play with words, constructing clear and concise stories. A Michigan native, she has lived in Europe working in Communications for over 20 years. Enterprise Architecture is restructuring her life, as it can your company’s.
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