Enterprise Architecture in a Digital World

Randy L. Blattner, SVP & Senior IT Director-Digital Banking & Enterprise Architecture, BOK Financial Corporation
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Randy L. Blattner, SVP & Senior IT Director-Digital Banking & Enterprise Architecture, BOK Financial Corporation

Digital Disruption has Impacted Everyone-How Do We Manage It?

Digital disruption is upon everyone! When have you last heard, I need it fast! It needs to be real-time! Our competition beat us to the market! Time to market is critical! These have become common business phrases and requirements that enable businesses to meet the growing and evolving competition. How do you manage digital disruption?

The Competitive Landscape has Changed

The competitive landscape has changed significantly. Customers are highly engaged and have forced change on how they interact with companies. Customers want to transact using their channel of preference and have increased expectations of the services provided. That channel may be traditional brick and mortar, or may be a combination of channels including brick and mortar, mobile, social media, call centers, internet and wearable devices. Customers expect a service that is always available, when they want it–24 x 7 x 365-with the features they want. If customers cannot get the services they need, they’ll simply go to another company that provides them. The competitors have also changed–they are no longer the traditional companies you commonly compete with. Banks now compete with PayPal, Venmo, and Square in addition to banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms. Fast and nimble companies with strong mobile capabilities are causing significant change in the traditional business model. They deploy changes to the app store frequently to implement new features and enhancements. The competition is no longer down the street and likely located outside of your primary footprint.

How does your company address digital disruption? How can you position your organization to meet the changing digital and competitive landscape? To what degree is your organization Enterprise Architecture in a Digital World By Randy L. Blattner, SVP & Senior IT Director-Digital Banking & Enterprise Architecture, BOK Financial Corporation digitally enabled and ready to compete in the “Digital World”?

The Traditional Role of Enterprise Architecture

The traditional role of the Enterprise Architecture team has been to develop a holistic company-wide model that aligns the IT strategic plan with the company’s business strategy, processes and information assets. The architecture team has a unique view of the organization that allows linking of existing capabilities to projects, identification of new components, reuse of existing components, and deployment of industry standard technologies.

The traditional Enterprise Architecture team also develops a strategic technology roadmap, manages technology hardware and software standards and assesses emerging technology to ensure the right technologies have been implemented for current and future state capabilities. The architecture team has been the bulwark of developing and driving technology strategy and managing technology governance.

These capabilities remain critical drivers to organizational success–but it’s time to rethink how the Enterprise Architecture team is positioned within the company for digital success. In many organizations, the Enterprise Architecture team is uniquely positioned to identify and solve business problems, design and implement digital platforms, and partner with development teams to drive business value and implement competitive business solutions. Need to create, enhance or expand your digital capabilities? Look no further than your Enterprise Architecture team.

" An Enterprise Architecture team has a unique view of the company; it knows the systems, the technical characteristics of a company and the technology needed for digital architecture"

The Evolved Role of Enterprise Architecture

The value of a good Enterprise Architecture program has never been more evident. The Enterprise Architecture team has a unique view of the company, knows the systems, the technical characteristics of a company, the available technology and the technology needed for digital architecture. It makes sense–Enterprise Architecture is comfortable implementing new technology and driving change. The Enterprise Architecture team is well positioned to evolve into design of digital architecture, has proven their ability to establish effective business relationships, and driving effective business and technology decisions.

To grow in the competitive advantage, the Enterprise Architecture team can evolve into a digital business problem solving unit, designing and developing digital platforms and applications, architecting integration with internal and third party system, and in some cases development of mobile applications. Many architects have a strong development background in conjunction with their technology and architecture skills. An effective digital architecture should allow design and support of multiple customer channels, interactions, and devices. This includes mobile devices, tablets and PC’s, internet sites, social media, wearable devices, call centers, and video. A strong partnership with the development and infrastructure organizations is essential to design a digital platform and infrastructure, design system integration components, and ensure operational effectiveness of the digital systems.

Many architecture teams have developed comprehensive Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) capabilities that maximize component reuse and accelerate time to market. Architecture teams are also skilled at developing system and process models, system architecture and system interfaces.

Conclusion

An effective Enterprise Architecture team is as vital to a company as plumbing and wiring in a home. It’s the foundation of systems, interfaces and information management. Having an effective Enterprise Architecture program is by no means, a silver bullet to solve all organizational digital problems. But, an effective architecture program can provide competitive advantage by ensuring alignment with corporate strategy, selection of software and capabilities that are extensible and reusable, and different approaches to solve organizational business problems. Interested in testing the digital capabilities of your EA team? Provide a real-life business problem, position the team for success and get out of the way! See what happens.

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