"We can change the behavior of an enterprise by changing the technology, or by changing human behavior -- or some combination of both. Our challenge, then, is architecting the enterprise in order to achieve business agility."
It's up to enteprise architects and IT professionals to drive the movement to agility, while putting vendors' feet to the fire to deliver more elegant, interoperable solutions. In his latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution: How Cloud Computing, REST-Based SOA, and Mobile Computing Are Changing Enterprise IT, Jason Bloomberg says we are entering an era when agile architectural practices are reshaping the way we think about enterprise IT. Behind this shift are what Jason refers to as five "supertrends" that are are elavating the roles and visibility of technology managers and professionals:
- Location independence: Abstraction of services, forged within service oriented architectural practices, now has taken on an added dimension with mobile computing. "Think global buddy list, tied together with your mobile device, your instant messaging, and other indicators of your personal availability," Jason says. In addition, with the rise of cloud -- built on SOA -- "what we're really looking for are services that are available whenever, wherever we are, independent of what kind of technology we happen to be using at the time."
- Global cubicle: "Any two people anywhere can work together, communicate, and socialize as though they were in the same room, or even the same cubicle... Gone are the days that IT workers are little more than cogs in big wheels (wheels made up of legacy technology, no less)," Jason writes. "Instead, we are members of many communities, covering the continuum from purely personal to entirely career-centric." Also, rather than captive employees of organizations, IT professionals are owners of their own individual brands, "and sometimes we lend out brand to a large organization." (I like the way Jason puts that.)
- Democratization of technology: IT acqusitions are increasingly being done via app stores, credit cards and downloads, versus big-budget request for proposals.
- Deep interoperability: "What we really want is for any two pieces of software to autmatically negotiate with each other to establish seamless interoperability." We have the technology now to achieve this goal -- think REST and web services, "but the only way vendors will put in the effort to make deep interoperability a reality is if we stop buying software that doesn't offer this capability." And that's exactly what's happening.
- Complex systems engineering: "Governance now becomes the new mantra instead of integration. Chief information officers become chief governance officers. Static enterprise architecture frameworks give way to continuous busienss transformation best practices. Business provess management finally leaves the realm of the integration vendors (who never got it right anyway)."