Tag Archives: Enterprise Architecture

Why Enterprise Architects Need to Think About Data First

Enterprise Architects Need to Think About Data First

Enterprise Architects: Think “Data First”

Enterprise Architects (EAs) are increasingly being asked to think 3-5 years out.  This means that they need to take an even more active part in the strategy process, and to help drive business transformation.  A CIO that we talked to recently said;

 “Enterprise Architecture needs to be the forward, business facing component of IT.  Architects need to create a regular structure for IT based on the service and product line functions/capabilities. They need to be connected to their business counterparts. They need to be so tied to the product and service road map that they can tie changes directly to the IT roadmap. Often times, I like to pair a Chief Business Strategist with a Chief Enterprise Architect”.

To get there, Enterprise Architects are going to have to think differently about enterprise architecture. Specifically, they need think “data first” to break through the productivity barrier and deliver business value in the time frame that business requires it.

IT is Not Meeting the Needs of the Business

A study by McKinsey and Company has found that IT is not delivering in the time frame that business requires.  Even worse, the performance ratings have been dropping over the past three years.  And even worse than that, 20% of the survey respondents are calling for a change in IT leadership.

Our talks with CIOs and Enterprise Architects tell us that the ability to access, manage and deliver data on a timely basis is the biggest bottleneck in the process of delivering business initiatives.  Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than half the cost of implementing new large systems will be spent on integration.

The Causes: It’s Only Going to Get Worse

Data needs to be easily discoverable and sharable across multiple uses.  Today’s application-centric architectures do not provide that flexibility. This means any new business initiative is going to be slowed by issues relating to finding, accessing, and managing data.  Some of the causes of problems will include:

  • Data Silos: Decades of applications-focused architecture have left us with unconnected “silos of data.”
  • Lack of Data Management Standards: The fact is that most organizations do not manage data as a single system. This means that they are dealing with a classic “spaghetti diagram” of data integration and data management technologies that are difficult to manage and change.
  • Growth of Data Complexity: There is a coming explosion of data complexity: partner data, social data, mobile data, big data, Internet of Things data.
  • Growth of Data Users: There is also a coming explosion of new data users, who will be looking to self-service.
  • Increasing Technology Disruption:  Gartner predicts that we are entering a period of increased technology disruption.

Looking forward, organizations are increasingly running on the same few enterprise applications and those applications are rapidly commoditizing.  The point is that there is little competitive differentiation to be had from applications.  The only meaningful and sustainable competitive differentiation will come from your data and how you use it.

Recommendations for Enterprise Architects

  1. Think “data first” to accelerate business value delivery and to drive data as your competitive advantage. Designing data as a sharable resource will dramatically accelerate your organization’s ability to produce useful insights and deliver business initiatives.
  2. Think about enterprise data management as a single system.  It should not be a series of one-off, custom, “works of art.”  You will reduce complexity, save money, and most importantly speed the delivery of business initiatives.
  3. Design your data architecture for speed first.  Do not buy into the belief that you must accept trade-offs between speed, cost, or quality. It can be done, but you have to design your enterprise data architecture to accomplish that goal from the start.
  4. Design to know everything about your data. Specifically, gather and carefully manage all relevant metadata.  It will speed up data discovery, reduce errors, and provide critical business context.  A full compliment of business and technical metadata will enable recommendation #5.
  5. Design for machine-learning and automation. Your data platform should be able to automate routine tasks and intelligently accelerate more complex tasks with intelligent recommendations.  This is the only way you are going to be able to meet the demands of the business and deal with the growing data complexity and technology disruptions.

Technology disruption will bring challenges and opportunities.  For more on this subject, see the Informatica eBook, Think ‘Data First’ to Drive Business Value.

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Posted in Data Services, Enterprise Data Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

If you Want Business to “Own” the Data, You Need to Build An Architecture For the Business

If you build an IT Architecture, it will be a constant up-hill battle to get business users and executives engaged and take ownership of data governance and data quality. In short you will struggle to maximize the information potential in your enterprise. But if you develop and Enterprise Architecture that starts with a business and operational view, the dynamics change dramatically. To make this point, let’s take a look at a case study from Cisco. (more…)

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, CIO, Data Governance, Data Integration, Enterprise Data Management, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Integration Competency Centers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Remove the Restrictor Plate with High Performance Load Balancing

Similar to the way that a carburetor restrictor plate prevents NASCAR race cars from going as fast as possible by restricting maximum airflow, inefficient messaging middleware prevents IT organizations from processing vital business data as fast as possible.

(more…)

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Posted in Big Data, Business Impact / Benefits, Financial Services, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Operational Efficiency, Telecommunications, Ultra Messaging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Enterprise Architecture Add Value?

One of the debates that comes up every year among EA professionals is whether you can, or even should, create a financial justification for an EA program.  Opponents of a quantified ROI say that the benefits of EA are intuitively obvious but nonetheless intangible and difficult or impossible to measure – so a financial ROI is not necessary or practical.  Proponents say that any business function, including EA, must be able to articulate the business value of what it does in financial terms or risk being marginalized or eliminated. Here is one example of an EA program that added measurable enterprise value. (more…)

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Posted in Data Integration, Integration Competency Centers | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

SaaS And Enterprise Architecture: Key Enablers Of IT Innovation

I recently sat down with Informatica’s CIO Tony Young to discuss his organization’s adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications like Salesforce CRM. As always Tony, had a lot of wisdom to share on this topic as well as some thoughts on IT innovation and best practices in general. Here’s how he answered the question, “What’s the driver behind cloud computing / SaaS adoption at Informatica?” (more…)
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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, CIO, Cloud Computing, Data Services, PaaS, SaaS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Multimodal Data Provisioning – It All Starts With A Logical Data Object

A painting typically starts with broad brush strokes after which the artist painstakingly fills in each detail, until the masterpiece finally reveals itself. In my last post, Revive Enterprise Architecture With Transformational SOA Data Integration, I introduced you to the broad brush strokes of SOA-based Data Services, the daunting data-centric integration problems it can solve and a high-level summary of its transformational capabilities. As promised, in this short series of posts, we will take a look at each of these transformational capabilities, in detail. So, let’s start with the most logical and fundamental capability – Multimodal Data Provisioning Services. (more…)

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Posted in Data Integration, SOA | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What Is The Role Of Enterprise Architecture In Becoming Information Driven?

Informatica 9

Many of us are familiar with the role of IT Enterprise Architecture (EA)…how it defines the architectural blueprints for an organization. From my perspective, I’ve opted to use the analogy of city planning rather than the plans for a building.

I believe a city plan is much more analogous to how we build IT. How so? Buildings are like applications, each with plans for construction. To construct the building, you go through city planning and the building department. Those departments ensure the structure will be built to set standards. Although buildings may look different or have different functions, they fundamentally must follow the set guidelines. (more…)

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Posted in CIO, Data Integration | Tagged | 2 Comments