The New Drivers of IT Architecture

Posted on April 18, 2013

The IT architecture of the future is here. But it was not engineered by CIOs, CTOs or Chief Architects of major corporate enterprises—in fact, quite the opposite. The IT architecture of the future has been imposed upon major enterprises by outside forces of change and innovation beyond the control of the IT organizations. The IT architecture of today is being driven by customers, by innovations in the commercial technology world, and by forces of IT innovation and change. These new drivers of IT architecture are varied and diverse, but powerful. In this blog series, we will explore the many changes in IT architecture, beginning with who and what is driving change today.

Forces of Change: Trends and Drivers of the New IT Architecture

A wide range of forces brought us to the brink of the new IT architecture. The following trends and drivers are causing a revolution in the consumption, delivery, architecture, and most importantly, the expectations of Information Technology (IT) organizations.

  • BYOD:  Enabling your employees to “bring your own device” (mobile phone, smart phone, tablet or PC) from home, and securely connect into the enterprise to perform their job duties.
  • Sunday to Monday Experience is identical (Home to Work)[i]: Employees want to carry their at-home technology and rich user experience with them to work. Why should the Sunday-to-Monday experience be rich and social on Sunday, only to be constrained, disconnected and limited by corporate IT police at work?
  • Democratization of IT: Employees want more control over the technologies they can use, how they use them, when they use them, and when they can upgrade or change them. Democratization of IT means that anyone, from an end-user associate to a senior business executive, can access IT capabilities and govern how they use them without excessive oversight and over-control.
  • Consumerization of IT:  IT innovation and technology architecture is being driven by consumer electronics, social networking sites, search engines and other consumer technologies, rather than by Enterprise IT solution providers that traditionally were the sources of IT innovation.
  • Self-Governance of IT and Trust-based Consumption: Democratization of IT also means that anyone, from an end-user associate to a senior business executive, can access IT capabilities they need, and govern how they use them, without excessive oversight. Democratization of IT pushes decision making and governance deeper into the enterprise, which empowers the workforce while managing risks and security.
  • Millennial Work Force and Millennial Customers: Millennials are the generation of individuals between the ages of 15 and 35 years old. They are the first generation of Digital Natives, and they are increasingly responsible for new IT innovations, new technology consumption patterns, and the rapid adoption of mobile technologies, social media, and the demand for these technologies in commercial and public sector enterprises. We must learn to treat Millennials as prospective customers, prospective employees, and prospective business partners, while embracing the energy, collaborative thinking and creativity they are bringing to the table.
  • Rise of the RDACs[ii]: Millennials work, think, collaborate, and view technology differently than previous generations of technology users. They can be characterized as Remote, Distributed Anonymous Collaborators, or RDACs. RDACs will accelerate the trend toward working remotely, and collaborating via Skype, social media and mobile. The question is, will corporate work patterns evolve to exploit the technology attitudes and emerging skill sets of Millennial RDACs?
  • Appification of IT: The onslaught of smartphones and tablet computers has tilted the IT landscape to one where the expectation of instant gratification and real-time IT fulfillment is the norm, not the exception. The App Store model, and the plethora of new applications available is putting incredible pressure on Enterprise IT organizations to be able to deliver cutting edge user capabilities quickly, cheaply and to any device that we happen to be using that day.
  • Radical Self-Provisioning and Self-Governance: Today’s age of self-service access to App Stores, and self-governance of the applications we use, the data we expose and consume, and the friends and networks we partake in reinforces the behavior patterns of Millennials who trust themselves, and their social networks more than they trust corporate IT organizations.
  • IT-tainment (IT as entertainment): Information Technology is increasingly being leveraged as an entertainment platform for movies, music, photos, and of course, social media as the “social media services bus” that connects users to their network of relationships. Innovative enterprises are using gaming technologies, competition-based work models, entertainment-based information technology to improve productivity, while creating more “engagement” with our work force and customers.

This post is adapted and condensed from the AgilePath whitepaper “The IT Platform of the Future,” which is available for download here.  Eric Marks, President and CEO, will be discussing next gen IT architecture in AgilePath’s upcoming webinar, “Next Generation IT Architecture” on May 16 at 12 p.m. To join us for the webinar, register here.


[i] The Future of Work, 2011, by Malcom Frank and Geoffrey Moore.

[ii] Marks, Eric and Bob Lozano:  Executives Guide to Cloud Computing (2010), Wiley & Sons.