Gartner’s concept Nexus of Forces
The boundaries between “IT” and “business” are more and more pragmatic, possibly because other boundaries have weakened. For example, mobile technologies such as iPads and cloud services such as Salesforce have made IT services much more available, accessible and attractive. The “Nexus of Forces” as Gartner calls the combination of mobility, cloud, information (Big Data) and social media, is in many ways a “boundary meltdown” and opens many doors for the diligent enterprise architects. Cloud services is an example of a domain that enterprise architects should embrace. The hype about cloud services has turned away from pure technology, and now focuses on the business side, the economics and the governance aspects, all of which enterprise architects have a lot to contribute to. The information area is already a traditional EA territory. Mobility has proven to be an area where enterprise architects can help the enterprise realise benefits. Unfortunately, many enterprises still choose to embark on unarchitected tactical initiatives, for example by asking an ad agency to create an app for a campaign. This may work for a single effort, but is bound to create problems in the long run, for example with integration. Some, more mature, enterprises instead look for more complete mobility platforms and frameworks. The market for such is still very immature, but highly dynamic with new players entering every day. The enterprise architects are the most obvious players inside the enterprise to review and assess the market offerings, and should strive for spearheading the enterprise’s mobility roadmap, which is rapidly turning into an all-important architecture domain. And if Gartner is right, all the forces in the nexus will become enterprise architect territory: On April 2, 2013, Gartner announced that new research show that social collaboration efforts are a big challenge to many enterprises, and only has a 10% success rate. Gartner suggests that “social collaboration is a challenge for which enterprise architects are well suited”, as they “are able to work with social initiative leaders to define community purposes and condense these purposes into a strategy or roadmap which they can use to guide project teams during implementation”. Incidentally, social collaboration has already become an issue within enterprise architecture itself, and more and more EA tools and repositories have added “social features”.