Call for entries: The 2014 Enterprise Architecture Awards

InfoWorld, Forrester Research, and the Penn State University Center for Enterprise Architecture invite you to tell us about your successful enterprise architecture initiatives

Back in 2009, when InfoWorld and Forrester Researcher got together to develop the Enterprise Architecture Awards, the obsession of the day was the enterprise architect as lynchpin in aligning the interests of business and IT. Today, we've gone well beyond that operational role to the point where a growing number of enterprise architects are important partners in moving the businesses forward. The bar has been raised.

That's one reason why, this year, I'm more pleased than ever to ask for submissions to the InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture awards, which recognize organizations whose practice of enterprise architecture has delivered substantial business benefit. To enter, go directly to our nomination form and its associated FAQ. The deadline for this year's nominations is June 15.

[ Does your company have an enterprise architecture initiative worth celebrating? Then submit your nomination for the 2013 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards. See an index of the past award winners. ]

I have a feeling a number of you are itching to tell us about creative initiatives that demonstrate the increasing importance of enterprise architecture in exploiting new opportunities. Yes, it's vitally important that enterprise architects understand strategic business objectives and provide a bridge to IT to help meet those goals -- to be clear, we continue to welcome entries that celebrate that classic function. But enterprise architecture initiatives that further business development and customer interaction offer an exciting new horizon.

The precursor to this trend is the rise of the business architect, whose job is to provide strategic business counsel to management, to optimize the processes associated with business functions, and to help ensure that the IT organization responds accordingly. Triumphs in business architecture have been a running theme among our award winners for the past few years, where the enterprise architecture practice plays a key role in creating road maps and strategic business plans.

The added twist is that, today, an explosion in new enterprise technology offers an unprecedented array of business opportunities, opened mainly by new mobile, social, cloud, and big data platforms.

For a while now, the focus of enterprise technology has been shifting from improving efficiency in internal operations to enhancing engagement with customers -- by adding new interactive channels, and by gathering and analyzing huge quantities of data, from Web clickstreams to social media chatter. The infrastructure underlying these systems of engagement must be agile and highly scalable, whether deployed in the enterprise data center, in the public cloud, or both.

That expanded landscape presents a challenge for enterprise architects, whose initiatives must embrace these new platforms, some not entirely under enterprise control. But the opportunity is obvious. Rather than focusing on efficiency and cost reduction, enterprise architects have a slew of new tools to help grow the top line of the business and increase their value to the organization.

Whether or not your enterprise architecture program is in line with this new trend, we welcome your nominations. Our objective, as in previous years, is to honor initiatives that have significant business impact and demonstrate the successful practice of enterprise architecture at its best. Does that sound like the story you have to tell? Then fill out our nomination form and submit your entry before June 15. Good luck!

This article, "Call for entries: The 2014 Enterprise Architecture Awards," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog. And for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

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