At Enterprise Architects we are always thinking about what is important to business and how business and technology architecture can bring more value.  Right now we are focussing on some important trends that business and architecture practitioners should follow in 2013.

1) Disruptive innovation continues to change the shape of entire industries

  • In the postal industry we are seeing significant digital strategies emerge and a shift in focus from letters to parcels, largely due to online retailing;
  • Online retailing continues to threaten bricks and mortar businesses as does the growth in online business services through crowdsourcing models;
  • Energy and transport industries continue to respond to consumer demand for greater efficiency and reductions in greenhouse emissions;
  • Telecommunications and media industries are constantly reshaping value chains to find innovative ways to win new customers;
  • Banks are responding to customer take-up of mobile banking services and innovative point-of-sale payment technologies;
  • Pharmaceutical companies are reorienting their supply chain to access distributed R&D networks outside of their traditional enterprise boundaries;
  • The education sector is embracing online platforms to deliver massive open online courses (MOOCs), with universities like Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard and MIT participating.

2) Business architecture is going mainstream

The demand for business architecture increased considerably over the last year with many organisations in banking and insurance seeking greater visibility over their investment portfolios, risk and compliance obligations.  Business architecture can provide a cohesive and comprehensive representation of the organisation and the environment it operates within.  It describes the makeup of organisational capabilities as distinct building blocks that can be reassembled in ways that best deliver strategic outcomes or respond to market opportunities.

3) The emergence of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO)

The Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is one of the most exciting new roles to emerge on the scene.  The role of CDO is to take ownership of the organisation’s digital strategy, covering online channels, customer intelligence, product innovation, sales and service optimisation and a range of other innovation initiatives in the digital domain.  In recent months a number of CIOs have been elevated into this role and whole new business streams have emerged within organisations.

4) Push-back against the ever increasing torrent of information

Organisations, their employees and customers are awash with content gushing from social feeds, email, a multitude of publications, ever increasing information available online and increasingly inventive ways to gain mindshare by marketers.  People are looking for ways to edit the number of content streams and rapidly access the information they need through curated and bite-sized content.  This will see further take up of subscription-based services, infographics, data visualisation, microblogging, video and other speedily-consumed media formats.

5) Cloud and Big Data stoking demand for security, compliance and risk professionals 

The move toward the cloud and software-as-a-service is well documented and its emergence has had a profound effect on the way in which many businesses procure and manage their IT estates.  The sheer volume, storage, protection, regulatory requirements and handling issues will continue to accelerate the demand for security and risk professionals into 2013.

6) Ultra-personalisation and a greater focus on customer experience

Improvements in search technology, the increasing sophistication of online marketing applications and prosumer business models will see even more personalisation of content and product offerings for consumers.  Enterprises are increasingly looking at how they create a desired customer experience and many are choosing to use business architecture views as a key reference to chart the customer experience journey.

7) Design thinking to solve business problems

There are already many converts to the ideas around design thinking around the world. SAP founder Hasso Plattner has been one of the pioneers with the establishment of at Stanford University.  The school looks to design innovation by blending technology with human values and commercial imperatives.  You’ll see plenty of design thinking going on at EA these days.  We believe enterprise is increasingly looking to right-brain intuitive and creative types to solve tough business problems.

8) The arrival of ‘Generation Flux’

In the February 2012 issue of Fast Company editor Robert Safian used the term ‘Generation Flux’ to describe a community of business leaders who thrive in uncertainty and fast-paced change in the world of business.  We too subscribe to this view.  We see enterprise architecture as a key input to bridge the new, agile business thinking with the traditional, and very important, focus on business-as-usual, risk, compliance, legacy and governance concerns.

9) Business model innovation and an explosion in entrepreneurship

Economic downturns often produce flurries of entrepreneurship as it’s easier to make the decision to start a business when you can’t find a job.  However this time it’s different.  Greater accessibility to a spectrum of business outsourcing options will make it even easier for new businesses to get off the ground as service-based inputs to their value chains can now be accessed on a pay-per-use basis, reducing their working capital requirements.  For big business this means even more competition and leaner, fast-moving new businesses vying for the same consumer dollar.