How our EAM Tool exemplifies the new generation of Enterprise Architects and their discipline
Word is already out that LeanIX has been included in Forrester’s latest power rankings of Enterprise Architecture Management Suites (EAMS). It’s a huge achievement—and it comes on the heels of an already complete year of similar victories for our company.
But for those who don’t have time to read the Q1 2019 Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Architecture Management Suites report, I thought I’d use this post to share personal observations on this year's EAMS trends as singled out by Forrester to help us understand why LeanIX’s distinct EAM tool is resonating so well with leaders of modern enterprises.
So here’s my take on it all. (As always, feel free to share your comments underneath or message me directly.)
Download the complimentary The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Architecture Management Suites, Q1 2019 right here.
Perhaps this isn’t at all surprising, but digital transformation has accelerated customer-centric business models at speeds equally marvellous and destabilizing. The problem? Governance, technology standardization, and any and all attempts to bind enterprises to a formal, overarching strategy is now a Sisyphean struggle—at the moment multi-disciplinary orders get finalized, the actual needs of the market and the best tools for the job change. And so begins the planning process again.
Some ways that organizations have begun countering this unpredictability is by not only strongly tethering IT and Business processes to one another but also by increasing their skills at selecting the most relevant emerging technology to best run these operations. Though this doesn’t signal a huge behavioural shift when compared to the findings in last year’s report, it is a clear sign that enterprises are choosing the benefits of disruptive technology and committing themselves to “Outside-In” programs shaped first and foremost by the wants of unconventional stakeholders.
- Businesses seek EA to help them diversify their fundamental offerings—from providing a “Program of Services” to a best-of-breed “Ecosystem of Services”—to create agile and varied business operations. It’s part and parcel, I suspect, to the greater patterns of quickening application development using DevOps strategies and presenting continually expanded software packages that boast new integrations.
- The perceived criticality of fully-enabled customer experience, while not displacing the Wave’s usual top EA drivers of basic IT improvement and technology cost reduction, has risen. This leads me to believe that more enterprises now accept that customers have the ability to disrupt businesses to their liking—and companies want to develop methods to listen to these difficult requests better than their competitors (or at least the ones that give them the appearance that they are).
- Further to the previous point, customer feedback is being approached for quantifiable business insights. It’s categorized in the report as “information management”, and while it is has only jumped one spot higher, I am confident that this topic will continue to rise on the priority list—especially given its undeniable link to the themes of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Two words: “Federated Models”.
It’s a term describing a version of EA that emphasizes interoperability and the wider sharing of information in enterprises as accomplished with techniques drawn from a variety of architectural subsets (e.g., Organization Architecture, Business Architecture, Process Architecture, and Information Architecture). In effect, a move towards Federated Architecture is also a move towards a better sharing of resources in order to reduce operational costs. After Centralized and Distributed Architectural Models, a Federated approach is built to unite organizational units to develop efficient working relationships between otherwise autonomous teams.
And based on this report, organizations the world over are moving their EA programs in this direction with an urgency as predicted by LeanIX several years ago.
Like the greater shift to customer-centric business habits, a Federated Model for IT and Business Architecture is indicative of how EA is democratizing in ways whereby influence is shifting to unlikely parties. No doubt large-scale enterprises are discovering that Application Portfolio Management is too monumental a project to be completed by individual task forces alone, and data collection and maintenance is now a responsibility commonly entrusted to all users happening to be a stone’s throw away from hidden details on an application or technical process.
That being said, the underlying logic of Federated Architecture’s “EA of the people” mandate dictates that application inventorying must be a two-way street, an exchange where knowledge donated by participants into an architectural database is likewise expected to solve, on-demand, very specific occupational challenges for those same individuals. I’m talking particularly about automated, accessible reports that create data-driven viewpoints applicable to numerous stakeholders. Forrester labels this “Insights Management”, and it is a criterion in its EAMS evaluation that seems to correspond very well to several of the ascending drivers for EA cited by participants in Forrester’s latest survey (namely, its ability to “[i]mprove information management for business insights” as well as “[i]mprove IT planning” to maximize IT investments).
Why LeanIX — And Why Now?
Regardless if you label this evolution of EA as merely just “co-operative”, “collaborative”, or “shared”, it’s fairly obvious that a Federated Model is well-suited to the agile ethos of our times. Not only is the role of EA changing to match new corporate interests, it’s a discipline regularly performed by disparate teams across departments—and LeanIX is being directly praised for accommodating this diversification by giving all groups of users reports that can be customized to as many configurations as required.
So, put simply, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that LeanIX’s sudden and strong debut on the Forrester list has occurred at the same time that enterprises are desiring architectural programs either identical to, or a strong reflection of, the Federated model. Our product was designed to support as many users as possible, and given that we're a young company, our market presence is expanding at a speed that suggests our fundamentally collaborative framework has anticipated this now-prevailing belief that EA programs can be instituted in bespoke ways by organizations of all sizes.
But let me back my theory up by proposing explanations for why Forrester gave us perfect scores in categories so closely connected to this popular new conceptualization of EA:
1. Insights Management
“Simplicity and Customization”
- LeanIX’s customizable templates allow users to configure any report and chart using filters based on either public or private environments.
- Our automated, out-of-the-box reports can be inspected and tweaked for insights into a variety of concerns.
- The availability of predefined, customizable views to generate specific business insights.
- All inventorying and ongoing maintenance of digital assets is based on an integrated network of data repositories made according “RACI-defined” (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed) organizational relationships.
- Data Flow Diagrams promote fact-driven exploration and insight generation thanks to models built in near-automated ways with algorithms that quickly populate layouts.
2. Content Management
“Personalization and Visibility”
- LeanIX users have the flexibility to build UI dashboards and set bookmarks according to their own needs—all of which can be interacted with using alterable storage, filter, and table settings.
- Report types are clustered into Application Portfolio, Project Portfolio, Provider Portfolio, Lifecycle & Age, Business Capability Cost, Provider Cost, Application Landscape, Interface Circle Map, Application Usage, Application Sourcing, IT Component Landscape, IT Component Location, Project Landscape, Application Matrix, IT Component Matrix, Application Roadmap, IT Component Roadmap, Project Roadmap, Data Flow, and Free Drawing.
- Every Report holds several pre-defined views to unlock specific insights that can be further shaped to individual needs.
- All users, no matter their role and location, have access to infrastructure data that is always kept current thanks to synchronously-linked content from sources like Technopedia.
3. Standards Management
- LeanIX’s integration with ServiceNow offers immediate and automated analysis of standards violations.
- IT landscape views like the Application and IT Component Landscape Reports group information to enable quick comparisons between applications and business capabilities and technologies.
- LeanIX Surveys can validate all information from within and outside an enterprise in very efficient manners. The results of surveys arrive directly inside data sheets, and all qualitative information can be calculated to specific aims.
- All defined standards and risks associated to roadmaps can be critically evaluated via reports tied to Functional & Technical relevance and discussed within communication channels directly embedded to documents.
We've indeed come out looking good in this report, but at no disrespect to Forrester, the EA community has known this about LeanIX for quite some time already. And it's all pretty much connected to what André Christ, CEO and co-founder of LeanIX, had in mind for this company from its very beginning.
Said Christ in summary of the Forrester report: "The need to provide better support for business outcomes and deliver actionable insights to business leaders is crucial for Enterprise Architects wishing to stay relevant in an ever-changing world, and this is where LeanIX excels. By focusing on the 'Management' in EAM, we help architects elevate their thinking to where they can make the biggest difference.”
One particular thing that I wish the Wave would have made more mention of is LeanIX's practical pricing model—something which, in addition to the product itself, makes architectural collaboration for IT organizations more feasible than ever before. To be specific, its affordability is a clear departure from the dominant pay-per-user cost packages used by traditional EA Management vendors. Since every edition of LeanIX allows access to unlimited numbers of both internal and external stakeholders, administrators can fortify their enterprise systems with as much diverse knowledge as possible. Pricing is instead based according to the complexity of architecture, a model that means regular savings of 50% or more when compared to other vendors.
Our EAM Tool offers functionality that is consistently being expanded upon, and its ease-of-access is re-inventing the discipline of EA while attracting adherents from new professions. More than 80 worldwide leading brands such as Adidas, DHL, Merck, Vodafone, and Zalando use it to navigate daily architectural complexities.
And it can be tested (for free*) at a time of your choosing in a 30-minute demo structured entirely to the needs most applicable to your organization.
Just reach out below!