The emergence of digital business introduces new opportunities for enterprise architects to lead business innovations, according to Gartner, Inc. The key for enterprise architecture (EA) practitioners is to shift their focus to their business ecosystem and to sense and respond to changes from people, business and things.
"While the concept of a business ecosystem is not new, what is dramatically new, however, is the rate and scope of our ecosystem, and the introduction of people, business and things as equal players in the world of digital business," said Betsy Burton, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The emergence of a 'business moment' is the result of the emergence of digital business. A business moment exploits the connection of people, business and things and allows companies to innovate for entirely new scenarios. The challenge for enterprise architects and other business executives is to recognize when a business moment is about to happen and respond appropriately when it occurs."
Enterprise architects who do not dramatically rethink their traditional view of partners, customers and competitors to include known and unknown people, business and things will prevent their organization being able to create and respond to business moments.
"It is critical that enterprise architects recognize who and what comprises their organization's ecosystem," said Ms. Burton. "Know your business partners and customers, which could be people, businesses or things. Understand how they currently and potentially could work together. Reach beyond your organization's known ecosystem to understand potential customers and business partners and how they might work together."
Once the details about the entities across the digital ecosystem are understood, it is essential to sense specific disruptive changes, or patterns of changes, within and across the ecosystem. Recognize any person, business and things that could be fulfilling and initiating a business moment. These changes could be a change in how an entity initiates or processes a request. The changes could be an external disruption, such as new technology, economic changes, environmental changes, a financial shift or social upheaval. Or, the business might proactively cause a change that would ripple through by changing a business need or business model or by introducing a new disruptive product or service.
Gartner believes that the majority of enterprise architects should spend at least 30 percent of their time exploring, understanding and responding to disruptive trends that affect their ecosystem and on augmenting their ecosystem to turn the event into a business moment. Time is of the essence in the digital business era and a critical capability of leading enterprise architects is their ability to quickly respond to disruptive opportunities and threats and integrate these opportunities into their business, as needed.
"By proactively determining and classifying your business ecosystem's potential partners, you have put your organization in a better position to respond rapidly and with a competitive response," explained Ms. Burton. "The internal and external services needed to respond to a business moment can be rapidly garnered together, thus gaining a competitive advantage. Understand that you may not have previously known all the potential partners for services, and you may need to expand your current ecosystem. However, by understanding and classifying your business ecosystem, you reduce the response time."
More detailed analysis is available in the Gartner report "Architect Your Business to Sense, Respond and Create Business Moments."
Gartner analysts will explore how enterprise architects can recognize a business moment at the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summits 2015 in London, U.K. and Grapevine, Texas. You can follow updates from both Summits and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #GartnerEA.