Two of our core tenets at Long View are Competence and Value, and this is why I recently found myself representing our company at the world’s leading event on the topic of Enterprise Architecture (EA), the Gartner Summit, held in National Harbor, Maryland. Ensuring competence and delivering value in Information Technology (IT) requires that we are engaged in the conversations taking place at the leading edge of our industry.

IT is often seen to be reactive, a connector or safety net for business. We link everything together; ensure its security, performance, and permanence, and then work to help businesses deliver to their goals.

But the true value IT can deliver comes in much earlier than this, in the business planning.

Enterprise Architecture starts with the observation that, at a base level, any modern business is a system of processes that work together to achieve goals. The larger the business, the larger and more complex the systems involved.

Take something like Amazon, for example. Ordering a book online is a minor miracle of process interaction. You make a click of your mouse and a series of events occur, rippling down a long line of systems that eventually ends in you receiving whatever it is you bought. EA is the thinking that proactively optimizes the process of that purchase, and looks out for ways to safeguard it as well as optimize it in the future.

At Gartner I was able to attend two jammed packed days of keynotes, tutorials, interactive workshops, and roundtables with a who’s-who of IT and EA professionals. The EA discipline is evolving and exists in a bit of a grey area, loosely defined, still often seen as just part of the infrastructure connecting business together.

However, what the Gartner Summit was best able to demonstrate is a strong clarity of what Enterprise Architecture can do to proactively drive value, introducing the idea of business outcome oriented Enterprise Architecture. By bringing IT to the planning table at the earliest stage possible, businesses can avoid a common cycle where IT is playing catch up to strategy. Instead, we should be looking to help shape and define that strategy from the onset, road-mapping and setting direction, not following. This is what’s next. The business rockstars of the future are an emerging hybrid of business acumen and IT know-how, able to integrate technology with business requirements.

At Long View we want to stay at the leading edge by continuing to provide this EA exposure to our people and by helping our clients recognize where EA can optimize their business.