The Evolution of Enterprise Architecture

EA and technology innovation leaders should focus on customer-centric, design-driven architecture to support digital business.

An EA team at a hospital was asked to help the cardiology department manage patients in real time. The team started by shadowing the cardiology consultants — the customers — to learn what they did on a daily basis and to see how they interacted with doctors, nurses and other hospital staff. Based on their observations, they designed an iPad solution and piloted the program with 10 consultants. After revising the solution based on the consultants’ feedback, they introduced it to additional consultants, and then to other members of the hospital’s ecosystem, including medical departments, researchers and patients.

Digital business is spurring the evolution of enterprise architecture (EA) and inspiring EA and technology innovation leaders to focus on the customer, ecosystems and architectural design. These leaders are taking a holistic view of their organizations’ ecosystems and designing customer-centric innovative services, products and business models.

Are you ready to scale digital business?
Learn More

According to Gartner, by 2018, 40% of enterprise architects will focus on design-driven architecture. “Design thinking is about putting the customer at the center, designing a solution for them and then linking the solution to traditional architect pieces,” said Marcus Blosch, vice president of research at Gartner.

Focusing on the customer gives EA and technology innovation leaders the information required to design digital business models that support what customers value, want and need.

Build on the Customer Needs

Customer-centric, design-driven architecture builds on the traditional business-outcome-driven EA model. Focusing on the customer gives EA and technology innovation leaders the information required to design digital business models that support what customers value, want and need. “Design-driven architecture allows organizations to understand an ecosystem and its actors, gain insight into them and their behavior, and develop and evolve the services they need,” said Mr. Blosch.

Build Connections

Digital business emphasizes the importance of ecosystems, or the network of customers, partners and organizations that surround a business. The increasing interconnections of people and devices also reinforce the need for enterprise architects to consider all of their organization’s ecosystems. “EA and technology innovation leaders need a holistic view of internal and external ecosystems. For example, a hospital’s EA team should consider its core ecosystem — medical staff, administrators and patients — as well as families, support groups and other external influencers,” said Mr. Blosch.

Gartner estimates, by 2018, enterprise architects with business ecosystem modeling expertise will see their value inside the organization increase by 40%. “Enterprise architects should scan their environments, understand what is going on and how they overlap and identity what technologies influence these environments,” Mr. Blosch said.

Gartner clients can learn more about developing a customer-centric, design-driven architecture in Predicts 2017: Architect the Digital Business Platform by Marcus Blosch, et al.

Get Smarter

Gartner CIO Events

Learn more about CIO leadership and how to lead your enterprise through its digital journey.

Explore Gartner Events

Building a Digital Business Technology Platform

What are the technology building blocks an enterprise needs to support digital business? This report details how CIOs and IT leaders...

Read Free Research

Making Digital Business Transformation a Practical Reality

The executive ambition for growth from digital business is primed and it's now time to execute. Leaders responsible for IT and business...

Start Watching