Thoughts on reorienting Enterprise Architecture

By Raghuraman Krishnamurthy, Cognizant Technology Solutions

My last post generated an interesting comment from Tom, who found resonance in one of the thoughts (“EA should be a wider discipline”) that I had mentioned: the need to look at the world and learn from the leaner supply chain efficiencies realized by the manufacturing segment. In an interesting post on securing global technology supply chains, Andras Szakal of IBM talks about taking cues from industry associations. An effort like this that attempts to learn from the established efficiencies of other supply chains will be a great step forward.

In the flat world, innovations can occur anywhere and enterprises must look at how to take best advantage of that. The emergence of the Internet and richer channels of communication have created new fundamental forces that any enterprise needs to contend with:

  • Getting closer to your customer
  • Innovations in service/product offerings
  • Achieve high operational efficiency
  • Building of brand perception: Regulatory/social/environmental consciousness

Taking the case of the pharmaceutical industry, one can see how all the above forces have resulted in dramatic transformations. For pharmaceuticals, where the earlier customer segments were the prescribing physician and the payers, a new brand segment has emerged: the patients. Technology advances have enabled formation of virtual communities where the efficacies of drugs are debated by patients, and this has created powerful brand perception that pharmaceuticals cannot afford to ignore. Pharmaceuticals and providers are coming together to create innovative service offerings and are beginning to experiment with outcome-based payment plans. Regulators and the public demand more transparency in the clinical trial processes and sharing of safety data. The need for higher operational efficiency has resulted in more and more outsourcing of business processes. This has created a fluxed enterprise boundary as many competencies are outside the traditional realm of the enterprise.

Successful EA needs to demonstrate a deep understanding of these fundamental forces. Whatever modeling or tools or methodologies one may adapt for EA, there should be a connect to these fundamental forces that shape the thinking of the enterprise. I think it is very important that we be aware of the forces of influence of our enterprises and position EA to help manage these forces. Of course, it is a long call to have practical demonstrations of this, but an effort in this direction demonstrates staying relevant and contributing in a powerful way. EA is truly at the cusp of transformation.

Enterprise Architecture will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group India Conference next week in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Raghuraman Krishnamurthy works as a Principal Architect at Cognizant Technology Solutions and is based in India. He can be reached at


  1. community members who go through the auditing process–which can be anxiety inducing–but you make a great point about how strong systems and dedication to continuous improvement are what management systems are all about. Thanks for sharing.
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