As things continue to look bilk out there, many enterprises are doing what they can to alter the business to best work within the current economic turmoil. New product lines need to be added or deleted, core processes must change, and all this should be completed without additional cost or disruption.
The unfortunate truth is that the static and fragile nature of the enterprise architectures out there has left IT scrambling to adapt to the new needs of the business; and without the concept of agility, they are having a very rough time. As one enterprise architect friend of mine puts it: "It would be nice to have an agile architecture now. It would be nice to have leveraged the notions of SOA … too late now, Dave."
Indeed, businesses are suffering now from not having applications, databases, services, governance, and processes, that are changeable around the changing needs of the business, and many businesses are changing these days (e.g., the world of finance). It's no wonder why despite the downturn and turmoil, there are 5 SOA architect jobs chasing one qualified candidate out there. Enterprises now understand how much the limitations within their current information technology are hurting the business.
IT needs to react to the new business needs, however, they just don't have to tools to do it. The fixes needed to go in years ago. My phone is ringing off the hook around this issue, but there are no quick and tactical ways to achieve agility. It's a highly structured evolutionary process.
My best recommendation now is that get the smartest guys in the company on this issue, hire some good consultants, and put together a plan now, and get working on the most critical issues in priority order. Over time, things will get better, but perhaps this bit of a scare will provide enough incentive to get working on this stuff now. In truth, those businesses that are able to provide the most agility are the ones that will win their markets, in down and up economies.