Top 10 enterprise architecture trends, identified by Forrester

Pervasive business intelligence, policy-based SOA, and cloud emerge as top three challenges for EA over the next three years.

Forrester's Gene Leganza queried his compatriots at Forrester Research, compiled a list of the hottest trends enterprise architects and IT managers need to watch over the next two to three years. Forrester identified 15 trends; here are the top 10 trends on the list:

  1. Next-gen BI takes shape, combining real-time access with pervasiveness, agility, and self-service: "Firms will increase their use of analytics to improve their speed of response to changing market conditions.... IT needs to enable successful end user BI self-service to keep runaway BI costs in check."
  2. Business rules processing and policy-based SOA move to the mainstream: "Business rules processing automates highly conditional transactions that staff members perform manually.... Both business rules and policy based SOA will be important for applications that are 'built for change.'”
  3. SaaS and cloud-based platforms become standard: "Even if IT mostly uses IaaS and PaaS options, the business will benefit from rapid deployment.... IT execs must triage where they invest their resources as well adopt new application support practices for SaaS, while completely re-evaluating capacity issues as well as architecture standards for applications developed or hosted in the cloud."
  4. System management enables continued virtualization (new trend): "IT must acquire and deploy comprehensive management tools, obtain training, and gain some experience in these tools before coming anywhere near mastery. Utilization of vendors’ service offerings will spike."
  5. Collaboration platforms become people-centric: "Communication and collaboration technologies converge, leading to greater organizational responsiveness to business changes."
  6. Event-driven patterns demand attention (new trend): Event processing has the potential for significant business impact; complexity and IT’s lack of experience in this area will somewhat limit progress.... Architects and developers will need to understand when to handle events with custom code, business rules, or CEP platforms and adapt event processing mindsets to their SOA environments."
  7. Customer community platforms integrate with business apps: "Some firms and functions within the firms will take advantage of this and learn how to use the insights from customer communities to produce better products and services, heighten market visibility, and lower costs."
  8. Apps and business processes go mobile on powerful devices and faster networks: "Business processes will be extended to the mobile workforce, bringing greater efficiency and compliance.... IT must add mobile support to applications and will be challenged to manage and secure mobile devices and networks."
  9. Analytics target text and social networks (new trend): "These new technologies bring powerful analytics to bear on rich areas as yet untapped for intelligence about customers and products.... They will provide a challenge for information architects and tax the semantic capabilities of existing investments."
  10. IaaS finds a broader audience (new trend): "IaaS provides agility and flexibility for enabling high-impact areas such as MDM and BI.... IaaS can significantly alter IT’s approach to its data management strategy."