It’s the end of the first full year of operation for Essential and ‘every day and in every way, it’s getting better and better’ – sorry, couldn’t resist a bit of plagiarism from the Pink Panther film I watched last night!
Back to the review of 2010…..
For Essential, 2010 built on the success of 2009 with almost 3,500 downloads of the toolkit, some 17,500 unique visitors from across a wide range of geographic locations from the UK and Europe across the US and Canada to Australia and India, really a worldwide reach. The total number of times the toolkit has been downloaded since launch is now around the 6,000 mark. We are delighted that the community is now really starting to take off; with around 1200 members we are beginning to see an active forum with ideas and suggestions as well as queries, and members starting to post answers to queries from other members, which is great. Essential has also been noticed by all the major analyst firms with positive written reviews and mentions at various conferences, again, all good news.
Away from Essential, and looking at EA in general, the year has been a mixed one. Obviously the recession had taken its toll on budgets and whilst some forward thinking organisations were looking to their EA teams to lead the way into the future, others had followed the more traditional route of cuts. However, although it looked like 2010 might just be the year of the recovery – the squeezing of government spend, particularly across Europe, will surely have a significant effect on the public sector and their EA initiatives. This is possibly one of the reasons that Essential has been so successful, organisations around the world are really needing to make the most of the budget they have available and a decent, free tool is too good an opportunity to ignore.
In the more general world of Enterprise Architecture we have noticed a number of areas being discussed, perhaps more than others. In terms of activities, there have been two that have been mentioned many times, one looking at application portfolio rationalisation and cost savings and one looking at the role of business architecture in EA.
The first is always a popular route in for an organisation new to EA – display some decent cost savings in a short time period and you will get people’s attention and, hopefully, the buy-in and visibility to move onwards and upwards with your EA; especially applicable in these times.
The second, music to my ears! As a business architect I have long been frustrated by the IT tag that EA has had and the prominence of the application and technology layers. It has always been my belief that the business has to be an integral part of the EA and so I was delighted to see so much discussion at conferences and in blogs and discussion threads about the importance of business capabilities, understanding the business strategy and ensuring this is linked into the EA. This has to be a good thing and I will be happy when all EA teams are sitting under the CIO and not the CTO – although I accept this may not be in 2011?
Looking at EA trends, it has been suggested that specific frameworks will become less important as organisations become more fluid. That is not to say that EA does not need structure, just that there will be less reliance on being aligned to one particular framework. We also noticed that TOGAF seems to be rising in prominence since the launch of TOGAF9, partly, I suspect, as it focuses more on the business than the previous versions – although it is still not business focused enough in my opinion…
In terms of tools, there was much discussion about a ‘new generation of tools’ that would support more mature EA objectives such as strategic planning, IT road mapping and risk management. This would be a move away from the objective of some of the current tools, which is simply to provide documentation support. There was also some discussion about the use of ontology’s in EA Tools. Both of these are areas of particular interest to us. We think we have the most advanced use of an EA ontology in an available tool at present – and thanks to all those who have championed us in various blogs! From our perspective, the main value of an EA tool is not purely in modelling but of being able to interrogate the information that has been captured in the model to aid decision-making.
All in all an interesting year, and one that leaves us looking forward to 2011 when we have a number of exiting events planned. Our first training course will take place in January, to enlarge the EAS network of Essential trained affiliates, and we have two major releases planned. Firstly the Strategy Management piece has just been released in late December and secondly a complete update to the information and data layer is nearing completion and will be released early in the New Year. Keep your eye on the site for these as they move the capabilities of Essential Architecture Manager on a good deal. And finally an apology for all those that signed up for the webinar last year, we had to move this down our list of priorities as we simply ran out of available bandwidth to complete it in time. We hope to be able to pick this up in 2011 once the training and the release of the update packs are completed.
All that’s left to say is thank you all for your support, have a very Happy Christmas and we look forward to collaborating with you in 2011!