Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit 2006-Day 1


Today is the first day of the conference. Some statistics:

  • over 500 attendees
  • 87 percent are end users
  • 8 percent are vendors
  • 13 sponsors:
  • theme: taking the next steps with EA

No word on what the remaining 5% are.


The future of Innovation and Value Creation: Coimbatore Krishnan Prahalad (aka CK)
CK Prahalad’s message was IT has an important role to play in the execution of strategy, to the extent he claimed we are entering a golden age of IT. He cited several examples of business strategies not possible without IT. Certainly, working in the Banking industry, I need no convincing as we would have few products without an IT infrastructure.

CK offered an interesting perspective on best practices, downgrading them as looking to the past. He further fanned the flame by saying that if everyone is benchmarking everyone else and adopting each other’s best practices, then all that can lead to is mediocrity. Rather, he proposes Next Practices: look at what’s coming; the future of value provisioning. Such a statement is logical in the context of his strategic bent.

To identify Future Practices requires a true partnership with the business at a strategic level, where business strategies are coupled with IT capability.

He spoke of changing from a firm-centric focus to a customer focus. He described this in the context of a product development example. Historically, the process of product development involved customer surveys, market research, focus groups etc. All driven by the firms to develop mass-market products. This involves a great deal of overhead (time to develop) and risk as the product may miss the mark. He noted the trend towards customer’s defining their own products, which are then manufactured on demand. Essentially, this is an extension to what was in the ’90’s referred to as one-to-one marketing, however the emphasis is on customer involvement in the design process.

He spoke of global resourcing, not so much in the sense of outsourcing, but in the sense of forming partnerships to develop new value-add product offerings, or as he called them, solutions. He cited the example of a pacemaker company that is able to remotely monitor a patent’s heart rate, and should it elevate, they are able to notify the user. More than that, if it is serious, they can advise him of nearby hospitals (if out of town) and further they are able to provide medical data to the the local doctors.

CK noted that many of these ideas have been around for a number of years, however, the availability of the Internet has broadened the customer base, removing locality; braking the physical boundaries.

This leads to his next message: build from the bottom of the pyramid. In Web 2.0 parlance, this is referred to as focusing on the tail. Certainly, such a strategy requires effectiveness and efficiencies that can likely only be feasible and profitable with the use of IT.

His final advice: while so many are looking at outsourcing to low-cost areas around the world, focus on building an enterprise (business) foundation. Not too different from what others may suggest.

New Roles and Competencies, blurring boundaries between business and IT
The speaker observed that most organizations are organized around crucial assets. However, those assets deemed crucial are changing from hardware and applications to processes, IT services and relationships.

As a result, the roles and competencies need to change. Gartner’s working strategic assumptions are by 2010:

  • 40% of people in IT will have business/non-IT experience
  • demand for process and relationship management skills will double
  • demand for infrastructure and service will reduce 30%
  • there will be more balance between “versatilists” and specialists

Value is moving to the interface: the connection point between IT and business. Not only being able to properly leverage existing assets, but understanding the potential.


The four key skills cited are: business process engineering, technology, information and relationship management.

Enterprise Architecture: What’s changed: Richard Buchanan
The role of an Enterprise Architecture group has evolved from dealing with hardware, then software issues to a role that turns vague strategies into terms understood by IT, and then govern progress to that plan.

In the past, EA Groups measured applications against an exhaustive set of technology standards. However, defining an exhaustive list of standards is no longer practical. Rather defining the minimum set is more practical and achievable.

Reporting relationships have evolved with the role, starting from an operational reporting relationship then to applications groups and/or to the CIO. Some EA groups now have a reporting relationship with the business. Gartner research indicates EA programs that report outside of IT are more effective.

Traditional architectures focused on internal systems. However as business partnerships evolve and co-opetition becomes more a part of business as usual, outsourced systems need to be factored into the architecture, though less their implementation and more their interface.

The value of an Enterprise Architecture group is largely defined by the stakeholder. As a result, EA groups aligned within an IT area will be measured more on their IT value contribution, while those aligned with business groups will be more likely measured by the business value they offer.


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