While many enterprise architecture teams are focussing on aligning technology with businesses, they should instead integrate the two to continuously deliver high performance, according to distinguished analyst Betsy Burton.

Burton, who has worked for over two decades at leading information technology research and advisory company Gartner, made the comments during the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit held in London in June. Burton is renowned within the enterprise architecture industry thanks to her research, including her involvement in ‘The Future of EA 2020’ project, which looks at integrating business and IT.

Burton spoke about the need to integrate business and technology instead of simply aligning technology to business.  This involves not just reading and reacting to business strategies and goals, but modifying those strategies based on technical knowledge.  Delegates were shown how to change traditional strategies to create attainable goals that meet expectations.

The conference isn’t the first time Burton has discussed how digital business is changing the way organisations architect their plans.  During an interview in September of 2015, she commented that enterprise architects have a significant opportunity to influence emerging technology and business trends.

In that interview, Burton emphasized the progression of Enterprise Architecture from an inside out focus to a focus that she labels “outside out”.  As EA matures, according to Burton, it will focus more on disruptions well beyond the immediate scope of the organization (be it new technologies or competitors, for example) that could drive change and innovation.

Other key topics discussed during the conference in London included maximizing the value of big data and analytics, driving lasting innovation and agility and the delivering of business outcomes within enterprise architecture.

The comments made during the conference reflect the hope that the whole enterprise architecture profession is moving towards a fully integrated model of business and technology derived from strategy.  To prepare for this future, practicing enterprise architects should ensure that they understand methods for integrating business strategy and technology insight.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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