Organizational attempts to address the impacts of digital business are placing additional pressure on many architecture disciplines (for example, EA and AA) to deliver business outcomes. Because these architecture disciplines have evolved to address different perspectives of related problems, many organizations have discovered that gaps, overlaps and misunderstandings have prevented architecture disciplines from complementing each other and realizing their intended value (see the below image).
The challenge to enterprise and application architects is to optimize the coordination and effectiveness of their disciplines to respond to new business strategies. This research advises enterprise and application architects on how to effectively integrate the work they do so that both disciplines provide the required value for improved business outcomes. As noted in the companion research, there is a lack of clarity between these disciplines, which leads to overlaps and gaps when translating strategy to execution across architecture disciplines.
Gartner has identified four leading practices to improve the integration of EA and AA. They are focused on improving the line of sight from strategy to execution, and on ensuring that the overall environment is conducive to supporting solutions across the pace-layering1 perspective to better match business capability requirements.
Make Application Architecture a Recognized Function and a Formal Discipline
AA is a critical capability for organizations, because the applications that must be built over the next four to five years must overcome several new challenges presented by cloud, mobility, the Internet of Things, block chain, algorithmic business and other drivers of digital business. All these new capabilities will challenge application designers and developers to think differently about how applications can and should be built.
Implement Clear Governance between Application Architecture and EA
Unfortunately, in many organizations, EA often encompasses, rather than influences, all architectural activities, including the design of applications. This has been reinforced through the development of various EA approaches, whose primary function is to ensure that a comprehensive view of architecture is taken.
Require Application Architecture to Represent the Needs of the Development Community in Enterprise Architectural Decisions
There are many handoffs within the architecture disciplines. EA is responsible for organizing the technologies that address crosscutting concerns (that is, capabilities needed by majority of applications). AA provides input to EA by helping to define requirements for this shared infrastructure, especially regarding the application platforms and middleware that will be used to deploy and integrate applications and services.
Implement Complementary Outcome-Focused Performance Metrics
To ensure that the different disciplines share a common goal of supporting better business outcomes through faster, more-reliable delivery of new business capabilities, the disciplines should share some common performance metrics.