SAP Logo LeanIX is now part of SAP

Forbes' 5 Enterprise Architecture Principles For The Future

Posted by Neil Sheppard on May 6, 2024
Forbes' 5 Enterprise Architecture Principles For The Future

Forbes believes there are five key principles for enterprise architects to consider when working to future-proof their IT infrastructure. Let's explore these points and how LeanIX can support you in implementing them.

Shortly after the release of the revolutionary ChatGPT generative artificial intelligence (AI) platform, former CIO, Mark Schlesinger, published an article through Forbes documenting his Five Design Principles For Future-State Technology Architecture. This laid out Mark's thoughts on how enterprise architecture can become vital for driving forward the adoption of new technology, including AI.

The five principles cover a range of key points to bear in mind when designing and implementing your enterprise architecture to make it future-proof despite the rapidly changing market. Let's explore the points that Mark defined and how you can adopt them within your enterprise architecture function.

In the meantime, to find out how LeanIX can support you in readying your IT landscape for the future:

Request demo


1 Micro-Service Ecosystem

It was once normal to build a single, monolithic tech stack for your organization. This was necessary to ensure that your applications would be compatible with each other to enable collaboration.

However, as applications became more advanced, they were able to integrate with a variety of third-party systems. This enabled organizations to pick the best set of applications for their unique needs and budget, and not be tied into a set list of services.

Leveraging micro-services like these was even more effective as organizations transitioned to the cloud. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) models supported cloud-based, integrated micro-services in a way that would have been impossible twenty years ago.

User-friendly SaaS models could be leveraged without IT support, which led to the concept of business-led IT, whereby workers choose their own set of effective workplace tools without IT input. While this is all positive, it also led to IT landscapes becoming distributed and chaotic.

Now, it's key to leverage application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect these disparate systems into a flexible, interconnected network of stand-alone applications, rather than an inflexible monolith. To do that, you need those APIs to be standardized and effective.

When building your IT infrastructure, it's important to start with the APIs, just as you plan out the layout of a town before you move people into randomly distributed buildings. Connectivity-first is a key principle for future-proof enterprise architecture.


2 Cloud-First

The cloud isn't the right strategy for every business process. We've explored before how regulation and performance issues can sometimes necessitate keeping applications on-premise.

READ: Are The Benefits Of Application Migration Becoming Cloudy?

As such, a hybrid approach is best, with some applications kept on-site. However, the default position should be to host whatever is feasible in the cloud, unless there's a reason not to do so.

Cloud hosting has positives and negatives, but either way, it's essential for leveraging the connected, flexible technology you need to thrive in the modern market. It may be more comfortable to keep your IT landscape close and enclosed, but the future is out there and so your IT systems need to be as well.

Since the cloud must be the way forward in most cases, you should be aware of and able to manage its risks and disadvantages. From performance issues to cyber security, you need to be on top of this new reality.

The only way to do that is to build your architecture with a cloud-first mentality so that it can support cloud infrastructure by design. To find out more about what the best cloud strategy is for you, read Gartner's report:

GARTNER REPORT: How to Choose the Right Approach for Application Modernization and Cloud Migration


3 Data Stability

So, your new IT estate is made up of a selection of flexible, connected, cloud-based micro-services, how do you keep all those applications working in harmony? The key is to ground them in data.

Having a variety of disparate systems working from their own, siloed data makes it extremely difficult to synergize them. If all your applications are working from the exact, same dataset, then it's easy to keep them on the same page, collaborating together.

Creating a data warehouse where you organize all of your organization's data, then building your micro-services architecture around it, will ensure an efficient structure where all your applications work together. This gives you all the benefits of a monolithic tech stack, but with the flexibility and agility of a diverse application portfolio.

Yet, it isn't just data in your IT landscape that needs to be carefully curated and monitored, it's data about your IT landscape, as well. That's why you need LeanIX to help you log all the information about your application portfolio and data landscape, so you can ensure it's optimized.

To find out more about LeanIX solutions book a demo:

Request demo


4 Future Focused

We've already established that enterprise architecture is vital for preparing your organization for the future. To do that, enterprise architects must ensure they design infrastructure to be ready to leverage whatever new technology may come along, and to adapt to however the market changes.

Yet, how can you prepare for the future when you don't know what's to come? Your architecture simply needs to be flexible enough to accept any additions, subtractions, or changes, whenever they arise.

By building an infrastructure that's optimized to adopt new technology and adapt to support it, you can be ready to pivot your architecture to whatever the needs of the market will be in the future. What, however, does that actually look like?

Once again, if you begin by building a data warehouse at the foundation, then create stable, flexible application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect your applications, then your infrastructure is already most of the way there. All you need to do thereafter is to ensure you avoid any decisions that lock you into a set architecture and limit your agility.

As the modern market becomes ever more turbulent, the ability to adapt is vital. Having a flexible, adaptable IT landscape is therefore key.

For support in freeing yourself from legacy applications to keep your tech stack flexible and adaptable, use LeanIX to assess your portfolio:

USE CASE: Application Portfolio Assessment


5 Client First

The customer is always right and customer service has always been at the forefront of business success. In the digital age, that means that the customer experience of using your applications is paramount.

When it comes to IT, however, your customers aren't just the customers of your organization. Your internal users are just as important and their experience must also be optimized.

If your employee user experience is frustrating, your organization is less likely to be able to hold onto key talent. Adobe found that nearly half (49%) of employees would quit their job if their workplace didn't have sufficient technology.

Even if they stay with your organization, there will be a trickle-down effect where a lack of productivity will cause delays in fulfilling external customer expectations. Therefore, putting the UX of your applications at the heart of what you do, will ensure enterprise architecture success.

Of course, it's too easy to forget about the user's needs when you spend your time dealing with technical server issues. That's why it's important to stay in contact with users across your organization to ensure that you always have their perspective in mind.


How LeanIX Empowers Enterprise Architecture

LeanIX solutions are designed to support enterprise architects in optimizing their IT landscape to adapt to new technology. The key to this is their capability to offer clarity and understanding on your application portfolio and IT landscape.

The LeanIX Application Portfolio Management solution can map how your micro-services interact, as well as how your data flows through them. Once you have clarity on your current state, the LeanIX Architecture and Road Map Planning tool will enable you to plan your optimum landscape and a path to get there.

You'll also be able to stay in touch with your users by sending automated surveys and collating their feedback. This information can then inform live dashboards to give you a high-level view of your IT landscape.

To find out more about LeanIX, book a demo:

Request demo

Subscribe to the LeanIX Blog and never miss a post again!

Related Posts