Monday 17 August 2009
On August 11th Gartner introduced the term Emergent Architecture. What's new?
First of all, let me quickly explain how Gartner works. Gartner is working for many clients globally. They provide advice on all parts of the IT industry. Their advise is based on research. Continuously Gartner interviews enterprise leaders and IT staff of a large amount of enterprises about all parts of the IT industry. Based on these interviews Gartner creates reports on which they base their advise and on which they organise large summits a few times a year.
One of these reports is about the recent changes in Enterprise Architecture (EA). Gartner claims Enterprise Architects must adopt a new style of enterprise architecture (EA) - called Emergent Architecture - to respond to the growing variety and complexity in markets, economies, nations, networks and companies. In my opinion Gartner came up with many open doors here that are business as usual for most enterprise architects. They identified the following 7 points:
- Non-deterministic - Architects must decentralise decision-making to enable innovation
- Autonomous actors - Architects must recognise the broader business ecosystem and devolve control to constituents
- Rule-bound actors - Architects must define a minimal set of rules and enable choice
- Goal-oriented actors - Each constituent in the enterprise is acting in their own best interests and architects should be open for that
- Local Influences - No individual actor has data about all of an emergent system. Architects must increasingly coordinate
- Dynamic or Adaptive Systems - Architects must design emergent systems sense and respond to changes in their environment
- Resource-Constrained Environment - The scarcity of resources drives emergence and architects must cope with that
All of these items basically cover one generic point: Enterprise Architects must come out of their ivory tower, talk to the business and stop trying to model the world in advance. It seems that Gartner suddenly woke up: Architects in real enterprises do not model the world at all. Instead they are very keen on having their architectures accepted and implemented. For this they must talk to the actors in the business and they must give the IT departments freedom to be successful. This is nothing new.
Maybe Gartner should come out of their own ivory tower a more often...