Don’t we in the world of IT just love abbreviations? It’s crawling with them, and it’s not unusual for them to collide with one another. I’ve sat in meetings expounding on the subject of MDM (in the belief that everyone in the room understands that I’m talking about Master Data Management), but after a while someone gives me a strange look and wonder what on earth my ramblings have to do with MDM (Mobile Device Management).
So it may be foolhardy to use abbreviations as two of the three words in the title of this article, but bear with me and I’ll explain what they mean so that no one thinks I’m talking about Electronic Arts, for example, who develop games.
In my job I’m always meeting representatives of “EA”. The perception of EA is changing quite a lot, but we can listen to what Gartner has to say. It is what you might call a detailed description:
“Enterprise architecture (EA) is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analysing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes. EA delivers value by presenting business and IT leaders with signature-ready recommendations for adjusting policies and projects to achieve target business outcomes that capitalise on relevant business disruptions.” – Phew!
So what does this mean? Well, if you dig a little deeper, EA is about matching a company’s vision and goals with the abilities required to achieve them. As Gartner clearly emphasises, it is important to be able to adjust your strategies and projects in order to deal with “disruptive forces”. There are plenty of disruptive forces around nowadays. The whole area of digitisation is presumably at least as disruptive as the Internet was in its time, so companies and organisations must be able to make the switch quickly in order to “capitalise on these disruptions”.
So what does EA have to do with ICC (and I’m not talking about the International Criminal Court, but an Integration Competence Center)? Well, it appears that the opportunity to capitalise on disruptions is to a very great extent based on being able to integrate. Partners, customers, authorities, things, suppliers, etc. are reached through the explosive increase in opportunities offered by the Internet, public APIs, mobile devices, etc. My colleague John Torgersson wrote the other week about the importance of having your business processes in place in order to be able to capitalise on the opportunities provided by digitisation. The other key ability is being able quickly and securely to integrate your business-critical systems into all of the innovative interactions made possible by digitisation. This is obviously where an ICC comes into the picture. In reality it often emerges that a large part of the practical difference that an EA function can contribute arises precisely in issues relating to integration in a broad sense. An effective ICC can help the business to gain access to the right information, to the right person, at the right time, and at a reasonable cost. Without an ICC, different projects will connect completely randomly with different systems, and neither secure access nor the quality of information can be guaranteed.
So if you’re thinking about EA, link arms with your ICC. And if you don’t have an ICC, we can help you put one into place. And if you need help to get started with EA, we’re good at that too. We are currently helping customers to achieve synergies in practice between their EA function and their ICC.
Martin Rydman, Business Area Manager Integration, Enfo Zystems