In what feels like eons ago, I wrote the following (excerpt) in 2004. The architectural strategies I refer to are SOA, event-driven architecture, process-based architecture (BPM), Grid (morphs to Cloud and IoT) and real-time, right-time (morphs to fast data, operational analytics).
I was thinking about this today as I contemplate (circle) my technology infusion work and current industry hype and practices.
From below, the ideas of architectural blends, business interaction patterns, fluid enterprise attainment, multi-use assets and architecture for execution hold firm.
“…Organizations shouldn’t be looking at these strategies in isolation; the strategies need to be considered collectively. The strategies should be mixed, as part of an architectural portfolio. Then we can select the right architectural strategy in each situation. But we shouldn’t stop there. With merely a menu of strategies to use, we need to take the next step.
We need to blend the strategies to work together, so we can seamlessly use different architectural strategies within the course of a business interaction. Now when our most important customer places an order, using our service-oriented Web site, the notable event not only informs us, but also invokes a promotions service, which tailors a special offer for that customer. We can send the customer this offer via email, or it can be available to her as a business-process-in-waiting, activated when she makes her next contact with us—in person, on the Web, or on the phone.
This is the true promise of the architecture strategies, used together to create what we call a “fluid enterprise.” In a fluid enterprise, lag time is squeezed, traditional organizational boundaries are dissolved, supply chains are optimized, information delivery is sped up, and attention is focused at the edges—where the customers are.
While this blended approach can bring great power to our businesses, it won’t help us one iota if it is executed poorly. We can’t take on this enterprise architectural blending activity with a traditional enterprise architecture mindset. We need more than a blueprint to make this happen—we need a realized architecture that can be easily used by projects. We need our architecture to be actionable.
But it isn’t just our architecture practices that need adjustment. We also need to think differently about our portfolios: business solution, information, and infrastructure. These new architecture strategies augment what is in place. Their power is in connecting and altering the behavior of existing assets. For example, as inventory is received in a warehouse, a content management system can be automatically reposting the product page for the received product that had been out of stock. The assets in our portfolios are no longer sole-purposed applications or databases; they are also potential multiuse components and triggers to be exploited in the new architecture.”