Linear Model of IT Planning & Target Architectures Must Change
Customer and employee expectations are forcing many large companies to radically increase digital touchpoints to their operations, while accelerating cloud migrations and rollouts of strategic IT platforms such as SAP S4/HANA. The critical factors for corporate and product IT are the exponentially growing speed of developments, and the resulting short-lived nature of new technologies.
As a result of these forces, the familiar linear structure of long-term IT planning may be doomed to failure. LeanIX CEO and co-founder, André Christ, claims the need to rethink the fundamentals of how we approach project planning in the future. Whereas the traditional transformation model saw IT envision a target architecture and execute upon a project until completed, this approach no longer holds true in times of exponential growths of new technologies.
Industry Shift Toward Continuous Transformation
Christ’s main vision for 2021 IT trends is the shift away from one-off digital transformation initiatives and the move toward architecting for continuous change.
“Digital transformation has become a buzzword in our industry. However, since the digital world is not static, there is no such thing as a company undergoing only one digital transformation. For companies to remain competitive, their goal should be continuous transformation,” said Christ.
Christ supports his main thesis with three core beliefs:
Transformation is continuous. In every company, there are already a number of different transformations happening. But market conditions and technological developments are constantly adding new requirements. The point is to create conditions for continuous change. The shift from a project-centric to a product-centric organization supports this change.
Great customer experience requires better Enterprise Architecture. Customers today expect a seamless experience with companies across all channels, leading to new demands on IT and new architecture requirements with complex IT landscapes, increasing data streams, and numerous APIs. Every company needs to become a technology company. Enterprise architects play a critical role in how quickly and successfully this can be accomplished. A key piece is to help their organization is to establish platforms, product ownership and assess how well the IT landscape supports the customer journeys.
Adoption of Cloud Native needs speed and control. It is no longer a discussion about the cloud strategy, but about the execution of the shift to the cloud. Many organizations have started to leverage cloud native technologies, but will become unattractive places for developers to work if they now restrict it with heavy governance and standards. Companies need solutions to take advantages of speed and scalability while still meeting governance and compliance requirements. A reactive governance, which highlights violations, will win over a restrictive governance, which prohibits the usage of services.
In addition, Enterprise Architecture will continue to make IT landscapes more modular, automated and measurable:
The IT landscapes will be even more modular and evolve in iterative steps. Modularity makes systems more resilient and brings a higher degree of flexibility to meet new requirements early and quickly. The use of microservices will continue to grow, bringing with it the challenge of understanding the interdependencies of components and quickly identifying the autonomous teams that own those microservices.
Data flows will be further automated. Communication and data exchange via APIs accelerate the necessity for reliable and accurate data to enable rapid decision-making for the business. This is also freeing up capacities for more innovation. IT can now evolve from a cost center to a profit center.
The value of architecture will become more measurable with new and more relevant quality assessment criteria. For example: measuring the number of APIs provided; the progress of cloud migration processes; and the rollout of strategic platforms such as SAP S4/HANA, Workday or Salesforce.
“Enterprise architecture has grown significantly in importance in recent years. For many companies, it is no longer a question of whether EA experts are needed but whether their IT architecture is good enough to support their continued business competitiveness and transformation,” added Christ.
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Strategic Expansion of LeanIX in 2021
With more than 350 customers worldwide, LeanIX hosts modern SaaS solutions for enterprise architecture (EA) and cloud governance on its platform. After a successful 2020 fiscal year with the closing of an $80 million financing round and 70% revenue growth, LeanIX plans to continue its dynamic development and invest in the further expansion of its platform in 2021.
LeanIX as a company will evolve significantly this year. Christ has a clear vision to expand the company beyond its EA and Cloud Governance roots to support customers on their Continuous Transformation journeys.
LeanIX platform updates for the first half of 2021 will include the automatic discovery and cataloguing of microservices, the launch of cloud tagging management and further integrations such as Jira, Kubernetes, Jenkins and GitLab, and the rollout of standardized KPI dashboards.
“We have gone beyond just being a data-driven EA tool and a solution for Cloud Governance. LeanIX is a platform for Continuous Transformation and a holistic and long-term companion for our customers on their journeys. This is how we will build a global technology company,” said Christ.
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