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The Future Of IT: The 3 Pillars Of Enterprise Architecture

Posted by Neil Sheppard on July 13, 2023

The Future Of IT The 3 Pillars Of Enterprise Architecture

The future of IT requires enterprise architects to gain oversight of three key pillars of their software portfolio. Discover how to manage all the applications your organization buys, borrows, and builds.

Information technology (IT) has seen a fundamental shift over the last few decades. Computing is no longer a technical function of certain parts of the business, but something that touches on everything an organization does.

Any change to your IT landscape will change the structure of your business, and vice versa. When you're looking at driving efficiency and supporting your business strategy, enterprise architecture is the overarching discipline that can marry the technical functions of IT with your organization's daily activities.

Enterprise architecture is a strategic framework that aligns an organization's business strategy, processes, information, and technology to achieve its goals. It's been around in some form since 1987, but in the modern age, it's become the driving force in the new status quo where business capabilities and software tools are completely intertwined.

There's been some question as to whether enterprise architecture is still relevant, but the truth is that its role has simply expanded. Rather than just your structural alignment, enterprise architecture now governs everything you:

  1. Buy
  2. Borrow
  3. Build

To find out more about what our trio of enterprise architecture platforms can do when they work together, visit our platform center:

LeanIX: An Enterprise-Ready, Secure And Trusted SaaS Solution

Meanwhile, let's look more closely at what we mean by these three 'pillars' of current enterprise architecture, and how you can succeed in these areas.

1 Buy - Enterprise Architecture Management

Enterprise architecture management is, of course, the focus of enterprise architects. So, first of all, let's consider how we can take the traditional enterprise architecture function - managing the software you've bought - into the fully digital age:

What Is Enterprise Architecture Management?

Enterprise architecture management (EAM) in the modern day means aligning an organization's application portfolio to its business capabilities. Essentially, enterprise architects are optimizing an organization's software toolset in order to support it in achieving its strategic goals.

This might involve:

  • transitioning the company to a cloud-hosted strategy
  • upgrading an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system
  • conducting an application rationalization exercise in removing outdated software systems

In the past, this involved a lot of extensive research, interviews, and occasional guesswork. However, as the pace of change is accelerating, there's a call for enterprise architects to provide live insights and manage a culture of continuous transformation.

To achieve this, enterprise architects need constant access to dynamic data and faster information-gathering tools. They need to see live dashboards offering oversight on the present condition of the IT landscape to make rapid recommendations for change.

What Tools Do You Need For EAM?

The LeanIX EAM empowers you to leverage technology, make decisions, and manage change. It offers real-time overviews of your IT landscape and business capabilities to enable you to make decisions that drive productivity and accelerate business transformation.

Our EAM connects with a range of enterprise architecture tools and all your APIs to give you a dashboard overview of your current IT landscape. Any gaps in the data can be filled by sending automated surveys to your team to gain their insights.

Once you have an overview of your current estate, you can also use the LeanIX EAM to build a view of your ideal application landscape. You can then create a roadmap from where you are to where you want to be.

To get hands on with the tool and see how it can support your enterprise architecture management initiatives, take a look at our product page:


2 Borrow - SaaS Contract Management

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) contract management is an expansion of traditional enterprise architecture that covers the rise of self-service tools that escape the control of traditional IT teams. One can say, since you're subscribing to these tools without needing to integrate them into your systems, you're just 'borrowing' them.

What Is SaaS Contact Management?

SaaS contract management is a reaction to the rise of cloud-based software applications. Leveraging these flexible, easy-to-access tools is empowering non-technical employees with self-service software, while reducing the burden on traditional IT to source and install applications.

However, since SaaS tools are self-service, IT teams are now lacking oversight on SaaS spend and contract management. SaaS contract management is restoring oversight of SaaS spend without the burden of maintaining these applications.

Since enterprise architects are already managing their organization's non-SaaS software portfolio, it makes sense for them to also manage oversight of the organization's other toolsets. According to Gartner, SaaS spending is expected to reach USD 195 billion in 2023, so getting on top of your SaaS spend is becoming an essential discipline.

What Tools Do You Need For SaaS Contact Management?

The LeanIX SaaS Management Platform (SMP) integrates with all leading financial, contract management, and single sign-on systems to discover all the SaaS applications in use across your organization. This allows you to create a complete inventory that can track usage, manage contracts, right-size licenses, and generate actionable insights to maximize return on investment (ROI).

Simply connecting the LeanIX SMP will surface all of the SaaS applications your team has acquired through self service. With full oversight and analytics on this, you can actually encourage your team to make full use of these tools and improve productivity.

The SMP can also be used to optimize SaaS spend, eliminating unneeded applications and upgrading important tools, much like the EAM. Between the two platforms, our toolset enables you to optimize your application ROI.


3 Build - Value Stream Management

Enterprise architecture is no longer just an internal-facing discipline. It now has a role to play in maintaining the software supply chain security (SSCS) of the software you build for yourself and your customers.

What Is Value Stream Management?

Value stream management is the discipline of controlling the software creation efforts of your engineers. While the end product supplied to your customers is an external output, the process of their creation is a business function and, therefore, falls under the jurisdiction of enterprise architects.

Whether you're building software for customers, or for your employees to use internally, you need to ensure those applications are secure by design. This means confirming the library code your engineers are leveraging to build applications is free from open-source software risk.

This discipline allows enterprise architects to support engineers in software vulnerability remediation and license compliance. It's is a new role for enterprise architects, but it remains within their remit, due to their oversight on software analytics.

What Tools Do You Need For Value Stream Management?

The LeanIX VSM acts as a library for all the software bills of materials (SBOMs) you need to store and analyze to maintain software supply chain security, as is now required for vendors to the US, UK, and EU governments. The tool can ingest SBOMs and then instantly search them for open-source software risk.

With powerful out-of-the-box integrations and easy-to-use APIs, VSM gives you a real-time inventory of your Services and the teams responsible for them. This makes it easy to:

  • create complete transparency across your software supply chain
  • identify known vulnerabilities
  • improve collaboration with the business

Automate end-to-end transparency for your software supply chain, and make relevant technical information immediately available to product owners, enterprise architects and business leaders. You can even leverage an integration with the LeanIX EAM to seamlessly aggregate service and product catalogs.

Combining the EAM, SMP, and VSM, enterprise architects can get a full oversight of all the software their organization buys, borrows, and builds, as well as what code it's made up from.


Bonus - Artificial Intelligence

Recently announced at our LeanIX Connect summit in Frankfurt, our LeanIX AI Assistant is empowering enterprise architects using our EAM with a secure, private instance of ChatGPT to support them in completing day-to-day tasks. As our CEO and founder, André Christ, explained:

Slider-image-Andre-Keynote"ChatGPT is a moment like the introduction of the iPhone. It's a seismic shift for our industry, and for businesses in general. While it might not be applicable to all use cases, at least it's crucial to explore it, to think about it, to deal with it, and this is what I'd like to do."

Our LeanIX EAM AI Assistant has already supported enterprise architects with more than 65,000 requests. The Assistant is helping to:

  • automate documentation tasks
  • speed up report creation
  • research successor technologies
  • provide architecture recommendations
  • simplify access to EA tools for business users
  • and much more

The beta program is currently only available to existing LeanIX Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) admins. If you qualify, you can register for the beta program now:


Empower Your Enterprise Architecture

In this article, we've briefly covered three very different tools that enterprise architecture can leverage in their work. Yet, the real power of these tools is what they can do together.

Leveraging all of these three platforms enterprise architects can gain the insight they need to properly build an enterprise architecture framework. Understanding all the software your organization buys, borrows, and builds is absolutely crucial for modern enterprise architecture management.

To find out more about what our trio of enterprise architecture platforms can do when they work together, visit our platform center:

LeanIX: An Enterprise-Ready, Secure And Trusted SaaS Solution

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