The Evolution of Enterprise Architecture to Digital Enterprise Architecture

The Evolution of Enterprise Architecture to Digital Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture (EA) professionals and solutions are constantly adjusting their focus to meet the evolving demands of organisations that are dealing with regulatory and compliance obligations as well as financial difficulties. The focus has also shifted to organisations that are affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enterprise Architecture Evolving Focus

Figure 1: Organisational Culture with EA

Today’s EA is focusing on customising and optimising business capabilities in order to achieve a goal or to deliver the outcome. EA is now perceived as a strategic portfolio of business capabilities that configure assets, and enterprise architects are able to transform organisations to invest in the right capabilities development. The outcome-based architecture has resulted in the emergence of a new wave of enterprise architects and novel approaches that recognises the effects of digital transformation and strives to retain organisations ahead of digital curve. These novel approaches have shifted traditional EA into Digital EA.

There is also a shift in EA trend to create a community of domain experts rather than a designated team to do EA. As the world evolves, the best way to accomplish EA is to have a platform where various business and IT teams within an organization gather, collaborate and engage in discussions and consider a variety of architecture views and approaches. As depicted in figure 1, EA adoption model should be accepted as an organisation culture that will drive leadership development, improve team dynamics and strategic planning.

These days, people are being more agile and that has caused for the role of EA to change where governance plays an important part of EA. The traditional EA would have opted for architecture review board and only be used in project teams and solutioning. A Digital EA promotes collaboration through flexible governance models because now EA has become a key part of the organisation’s culture.

Traditional EA deliverables were used to appear in the form of static documentation that was hard to keep track and update because there is a possibility for the documentation to become obsolete. Digital EA has shifted to live digital repository that can be updated and maintained with ease as a single-source-of-truth that can realise the enterprise agility.

Digital EA is also shifting towards innovation management that strives to foster a sustainable innovation culture within an organisation. This focuses on disruptive or iterative changes that have a substantial impact on the business. In order to establish Digital EA as a driver for digital change, it needs to have a well-managed innovation.   

Meeting the Digital EA Needs

Organisations believe that one of the most pressing issues at the moment is the development of digital skills of the employees. In traditional EA, most organisations typically just move their people from one place to another when deciding to start an EA implementation without realising that not everyone can think and act like an architect. Not everyone has the interpersonal understanding of EA. It is difficult to achieve a concrete understanding of what the architect role is about. Even though EA is not new and now evolving, it still brings a set of concepts that are challenging to grasp for the stakeholders. In order for the EA effort to gain thrust, there is a need for a mutual understanding within the organisations. When business people have become tech savvy, they will question the need for EA because it is being constrained in the value that they can deliver. Gartner believes 80% of digital organisations will involve participants across the whole organisations as an approach to EA by 2022.

Another barrier for traditional EA today is the poor communication that can lead to active resistance towards new initiative in organisations. It’s critical that all stakeholders understand the concepts and terminology and it is critical for architects to communicate and articulate the EA message in their words and eventually expanding the discussion. 

As organisations moving towards Digital EA adoption, they should consider investing in the Digital EA Tools and Repository to manage the artefacts lifecycle and relationship among all entities in the organization. The Digital EA dashboard will provide insight on the enterprise map and model of digitally connected organization that can be used for impact analysis during the transformation towards the target state.

Digital EA through Crisis

Organizations that adopt Digital EA are able to focus on adjusting and growing when there is a need to survive during a crisis as they can make a quick strategic decision in hours instead in days, weeks or months. The organisation’s strategy will revise the digital EA’s direction that will result in cost optimisation and process efficiencies through the right technology adoption. Digital EA can help organisations to focus on reprioritising investments and driving innovation through the crisis and emerge as winner.

Digital EA is crucial and essential in today era, and that a modern approach of EA through Digital Enterprise Architecture appreciates the impacts of digital transformation and thrives to keep the organisation ahead of the digital curve. Digital EA differs from the Traditional EA not just in technology, but in the culture, practices, platforms and domains are also differed fundamentally.

Join ATD Webinar: Traditional Enterprise Architecture vs Digital Enterprise Architecture to learn what differentiates Traditional Enterprise Architecture from Digital Enterprise Architecture and the best practices of Digital EA in driving end-to-end digital transformation.

Author: Aaron Tan Dani

President of Singapore Computer Society EA-Chapter
Founder and Chairman of Iasa Asia Pacific
Aaron Tan Dani, Chief Architect of ATD Solution  

Related websites:

Join the EA activities in Singapore and learn how you can implement Digital-Business-driven EA in your organisation.
Computer Society EA-Chapter: Home - Singapore Computer Society ( and

Learn more about ITABoK (IT Architecture Body of Knowledge) skillsets and about the roles, scopes and impacts of EA Specializations.

Acquire successful Digital Transformation adoption with ATD Enterprise Architecture consulting and training services.
ATD Solution:


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