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Gartner's Enterprise Architecture Hype Cycle Reveals Two Generations of Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture Enters Trough of Disillusionment

Gartner, Inc.'s 2010 Hype Cycle for enterprise architecture (EA) reveals that two generations of EA, one currently focusing on IT-oriented practices and the other rising to focus on integrating and engaging with the business. The Hype Cycle also shows how EA will further evolve and how enterprise architects will utilise and govern EA within the business in the next 10 years.

Gartner defines EA as the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective organizational change by creating, communicating and improving the key requirements, principles and models that describe the organization's future state and enable its evolution.

"The artificial walls between business and IT are crashing down, and EA is the bridge to integrate business and IT," said Philip Allega, research vice president at Gartner. "EA's original promise was its ability to provide future safe guidance given the desires and vision of an organization's senior leadership team. As IT roles shift away from technology management to enterprise management, EA is suited to bring clarity to these blurred boundaries, and, by 2015, increased adoption of EA processes and uses by business will further IT's alignment with the organization's culture, future-state vision and delivery of business value outcomes."

This year's EA Hype Cycle examines the maturity of 23 EA disciplines, practices and technologies (View the hype cycle click  here ). It targets the market of both practitioners and technology vendors who share the concepts of, support the efforts of or provide technologies for organizations engaged in EA in all its forms.

Early-generation EA, situated on the right side of the Hype Cycle, is marked by long-standing and well-practiced approaches such as enterprise technology architecture (ETA) and architecture assurance
that have been supported by traditional and federated approaches to EA. While these practices help to direct tactical IT operations, they are often supported without a business future-state vision and, as such, limit the ability for organizations to achieve and demonstrate significant business value.

"Overall, EA slipped into the Trough of Disillusionment, along with EA tools, because EA practitioners couldn't or wouldn't push EA efforts to become integrated with the business, drawing an invisible wall between the business and IT," said Mr. Allega.

Gartner analysts have highlighted two main reasons why they don't believe that EA will fall permanently into the Trough of Disillusionment. First, an increasing number of organizations are seeking to support a more business-vision-focused EA effort. Second, several emerging and evolving practices and disciplines are likely to aid in the continued maturity and evolution of EA toward the Plateau of Productivity.

As EA practitioners have become more business-focused and organizations have become more hyperconnected, new approaches of managed diversity and middle-out have emerged on the Trigger slope, forming the latest generation of EA. These disciplines are employed by end-users to try to integrate and engage with the business as a partner. One of the emerging disciplines includes a middle-out EA approach, which according to Gartner will have a transformational impact on business in the next two to five years.

"The middle-out approach enables the creation of an adaptable architecture that can help manage rapid change and enable innovation by focusing on coordination through interfaces, rather than on control through top-down standards," Mr. Allega said.

In a recent client survey*, Gartner found that 73 percent of clients aspired to support "mature enterprise architecture" during the next three to five years, demonstrating that business strategy will be pervasively understood and supported within EA and across business and IT. "We predict that by 2015, the marketplace of EA practitioners will find a landscape very different from today's environment," said Betsy Burton, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "To prepare for 2015, EA practitioners need to ensure that EA practices are driven by a clear business vision and defined business context, and that their EA program has stabilized the practices and disciplines that are less than two years to mainstream adoption."

Gartner introduced the idea of the Hype Cycle in 1995 as a commentary on the common pattern of human response to technology. Since then, the use of Hype Cycles has expanded both within Gartner and by its clients, as a graphical way to track multiple technologies within an IT domain or technology portfolio. Gartner's Hype Cycle characterizes the typical progression of an emerging technology, from overenthusiasm through a period of disillusionment to an eventual understanding of the technology's relevance and role in a market or domain. Each phase is characterized by distinct indicators of market, investment and adoption activities (see Gartner's research methodology).

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Gartner's Hype Cycle for Enterprise Architecture, 2010."The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1402513. The hype cycle is also available on SlideShare at http://www.slideshare.net/Gartner/gartner-hype-cycle-for-enterprise-architecture-2010-4905726.

Notes to Editors

*In late February 2010, Gartner hosted a webinar with more than 100 clients, primarily from Europe and the Americas. The goal of the webinar was to explore how clients are supporting EA, and provide actionable advice on how clients could determine an EA approach that works best for their business.

 

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