Call for entries: The 2017 Enterprise Architecture Awards

Has your organization rolled out an enterprise architecture initiative that resulted in substantial business benefit? Then enter to win!

Call for entries: The 2017 Enterprise Architecture Awards

Now in its eighth year, the InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards has become a proud tradition. Each year we choose five organizations with EA practitioners who have successfully led IT and business to a successful reorganization, a major boost in efficiency, a new digital business initiative, or changes of similar magnitude. Often winning EA projects have multiple, complementary benefits.

You’ll find that this year’s entry form offers plenty of room to describe the objectives, implementation details, and effects of your EA initiative. The deadline for submitting entries is June 30, 2017; award winners will be announced in September. There is no cost to enter. If in the process of filing an entry you have questions, feel free to contact me for clarification.

I've found that the winners’ stories can provide a rough template for transformational change. For example, in last year’s Enterprise Architecture Awards, we described Humana’s efforts to create a future-state architecture with processes and services that were shared across the organization as the business diversified. The shared services model is a common thread running through many transformational initiatives today.

In my own experience over the past couple of years, I’m struck by the way enterprises of all stripes have effectively become software development houses. It’s no longer revelatory to observe that internally developed software has become vital across most organizations, from customer-facing web and mobile apps to specialized line-of-business applications.

This trend has two parts: product development and product manufacturing. The former is benefiting more than ever before from a new crop of collaboration tools, such as Slack or HipChat, that helps organizations break down silos—an essential aspect of agile development, where constant feedback and faster iterations demand frictionless communication among far-flung groups.

"Product manufacturing" as it relates to software really amounts to another name for devops. Contrary to popular belief, devops is not about developers and operations people getting along. It’s about automating every phase of software delivery as effectively as possible—from testing to packaging to provisioning to securing to deploying to monitoring. The last of those, monitoring, has become especially important. Gathering application performance data and analyzing it has become crucial to determining how applications should be improved or replaced.

As my counterpart at Forrester, vice president and executive director Alex Cullen, says, some of the best of today's EA initiatives are "customer obsessed." For one thing, this gives EA (and IT in general) the opportunity to help generate new revenue, exploring fresh opportunities rather than merely focusing on running operations more effectively. EA practices are often in a position to lead such initiatives, given their mandate to integrate IT and business.

Does that sound like your practice? Or has your initiative reaped substantial benefits in areas you believe are equally important? If so, we invite you to submit your entry. Remember, June 30 may seem like a long way off, but the approvals and sign-offs required to publicly reveal details take a while in most enterprises. So start soon—we look forward to reading and evaluating your story.