The Modern Enterprise Model motivates IT to meet the needs of today’s technology and also anticipates future innovation. How do IT managers building modern enterprise platforms future-proof their organizations to cope with the needs of the fast changing technological revolution? This question should be on the minds of all CIOs and IT managers as they plot an IT modernization strategy. Future-proofing is not an afterthought in the Modern Enterprise Model. Instead it’s n the DNA organization itself. In this post, I will briefly talk about future-proofing your enterprise IT and show how the Modern Enterprise Model makes it much easier.
Can You Really Future-proof Your IT?
Before I talk about future-proofing your IT, let me clarify the term. No one can future-proof their platform for future innovations. When I talk about future-proofing, I’m referring to the friction associated with evoluting IT to meet the future innovations. Evolution always costs something, however this post is about minimizing the costs and evolving rapidly to meet the fast changing needs of business users. There’s no miracle pill for organization to make all future possibilities easy, however the right architectural decisions can make this evolution relatively painless.
Portability is the Key to Future-proofing Modern Enterprise Platforms
The key to future-proofing IT is portability. Even though portability is used in the context of moving applications across multiple cloud infrastructures, I prefer the approach where the application is decoupled from the underlying platform layer too. There’s nothing new in this thinking and people have tryied to do it for a long time. Today’s container technology help us achieve the portability nirvana we all dream about. Achieving portability doesn’t automatically future-proof IT but it reduces the friction in the IT platform evolution.
Modern Enterprise Model (which is based on the Composable Enterprise framework put forward by Jonathan Murray) has all the necessary ingredients to future-proof IT. The model requires:
- Componentizing services into least functionally dependent services (microservices) and encapsulating these services in containers (Containerization)
- Loosely coupled services
- Taking a layered approach to container environment
An IT architecture encompassing the above three characteristics makes it easy for organization to adopt newer technologies much faster than any platform that includes tight coupling with any of the layers used in the platform (foundational services or higher order services). All the three characteristics listed above make the platform more Lego-like and pluggable. This reduces the friction for removing/adding “blocks” from the platform or extending the platform anytime in the future. When the pluggable approach to platform is coupled with large scale automation and DevOps (which are also part of the Modern Enterprise Model), the platform evolution is more dynamic, even making it evolve autonomously based on environmental needs.
As I always do in my blog posts, these are my thoughts on the evolutionary path for enterprises in today’s fast moving technology landscape. Clearly, it is a bit futuristic for many organizations but we do have the necessary components available to start building such a Modern Enterprise platform. I also welcome feedback from the practitioners in the field as such feedback mechanisms are critical to tweak my model. If you are an enterprise IT manager planning on investing for the future, this should be part of your strategy. A few years from now, you don’t want to go back to the drawing board wondering what went wrong in the first place. #justsayin