Enterprise Architecture has been understood as a formal concept since before the turn of the millennium, emerging as a real-world discipline arguably with the publication of TOGAF 7 in 2001.
This provided a widely accepted basis for practice of EA and, as a result, we might imagine that it should by now be reaching a state of maturity and consistency. The case for EA is strong, and is becoming well accepted, at least in principle, across most large and medium sized organizations.
However, there remain significant concerns about its applicability and practicality, leading many inside IT and in the broader business community to question its long term value proposition.
A lot has been written about disruptors (and particularly digital disruptors) over the last couple of years. By necessity, many enterprises adopt a reactive approach to disruptors, but there are significant ways for enterprise business architecture (EBA) to underpin a stronger, more advantageous stance.
Enterprises tend to be considered as either digital predators or digital prey. Experience suggests that the major differentiator between these - those who take advantage of disruption and those who fall victim to it - is the extent that they understand and take account of the business architecture for their whole ecosystem.
In a previous post (Black Swans and Supermen), we discussed the role of so-called Horizon Scanning in dealing effectively with digital (and other) business disruption.
This post explores in more detail just what this activity might involve, the role played by the Business Architecture function, and some ideas about the frameworks and methods that can be employed to perform horizon scanning effectively.