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Episode 33 - Autonomous Enterprises and EA

EA is just the first step in a long journey or perhaps a means to achieve autonomous enterprises. Today we introduce the concept of autonomous enterprises and how we can begin a journey to reach there.

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Hey, what's up everybody, you're listening to the enterprise architecture radio, if you're thinking about organizational complexity and agility, if you're concerned about operational efficiencies and thinking of taking it to the next level, if managing innovation is one of your priorities, you've come to the right place. On this podcast, we talk about all of that and more. It's a jungle out there. And we'll attempt to navigate this jungle of frameworks, methods, and most importantly, Enterprise Architecture in practice.

In my previous episode, I talked about classical EA and modern EA. Now, these are not terms that already exist in the industry. These are terms that I have coined that signify how you are doing EA. Classic classical EA is when there is a a capability within the organization whose primary job is to collect information about the organization different aspects of the organization, whether it's business data application or technology and then analyze it report overhead will dashboard provide business intelligence to take strategic decisions. Modern year is similar, it's just that the way of collecting information about the organization is not for the whole organization. The EA capability aligns well with various transformation program teams. So let's say that there is a merger or an acquisition or divestiture or organizational spin off or organization restructuring or or the organization is getting introduced into a new kind of business or getting introduced into a new kind of geography, a new country, or there is a large technological transformation. These are large programs that are going to transform the organization. So EA team goes and works with the transformation team and, and collects information about the organization about aspects about the organization that are relevant to that particular transformation. And then it continues to go from one transformation to the other and keeps collecting information into a single architectural repository. And the building blocks all connect with each other. And over a period of time you have information about most parts of the organization. Now, that sounds like a lot of work, collecting all the information about the organization analyzing it, reporting it, building dashboards over it, and providing business intelligence so that the leadership team could take strategic decisions about the organization, whatever the organization goals are, if it is a profit organization, it would be making the maximum amount of money while using minimum amount of resources, and so on and so forth. But then we are in the IT industry, and we automate everything that we need to do again and again. Let's talk about autonomous enterprise. An autonomous enterprise is an organization that does enterprise architecture work automatically. Well sounds a little far fetched and a bit too sexy for it to exist in the real life. But think about it. Is it really that far fetched, there was a time when imagining a smart home, the capabilities of a smart home would have been completely unbelievable. Something that is not really possible. But a home that listens to your voice commands and switches on switches off lights and manages thermostat automatically depending upon the weather looking at the weather information on the internet and, and a house that knows who you are and where you are within the house and based on that switches on and switches off the air conditioner and the lights and the and the other appliances in the house could have been completely out there and unimaginable. But smart homes do exist today. But smart homes are not really smart as one house, there are many components in a smart home that make the home smart. For example, there could be pressure sensors under the floor that would track the footsteps of a human being inside the house and know exactly where the human being is within the house. There could be sensors in rooms that constantly keep an eye on the temperature of the room. There could be cameras within the house that have facial recognition that could recognize who the human being are and provide biometric access to the house and so on and so forth. So, there are really multiple systems that are working together to make the house a smart home. Similarly, an organization is not really one enterprise from the point of view of an auto an autonomous enterprise The organization could have many, many autonomous parts, which ultimately could come together to become one autonomous enterprise. So how do we go about creating an autonomous enterprise? Now, I admit that autonomy, the concept of autonomous enterprises is a little far off, we're not there yet. In fact, I would say that majority of the organizations out there don't even have a fully capable enterprise architecture team, within the organization that is doing enterprise architecture that has a singular Enterprise Architecture repository, collecting information from transformation to transformation, or, you know, classically is completely far fetched. And the reason I say that classical AI is completely far fetched is because classical AI, when you introduce the concept to the senior leadership team, they don't see the return of investment immediately coming in. Modern enterprise architecture is still a little bit more viable considering that the cost of the enterprise architecture can be included into the program, budget, and so on, and so forth. And there are many financial aspects to this concept where that needs to be explored. But today, in the industry, most of the organizations don't even have a proper Enterprise Architecture organization. So yes, I agree. Autonomous enterprises are a little bit far fetched, but every major achievement starts with a vision starts with the dream. So how do we get to the concept of an autonomous enterprise? Well, we start introducing automation in different aspects of the organization in different parts of the organization, we there could be a ml ops that you know, where artificial intelligence and machine learning are looking at your operational costs, your operational activities and processes and, and constantly keeping an eye on, on things such as infrastructure and cost of the infrastructure and usage of the infrastructure and, and availability of the infrastructure, the performance metrics of various applications and how the infrastructure is performing. And whether it's meeting its performance requirements or not. And, and, and artificial intelligence could look at the security of the organization whether there are AI powered security capabilities that have already come that have already been introduced into the industry. We could look at artificial intelligence doing marketing, we could look at generative AI, we could look at customer support using capabilities, such as chat GPT, or, or bar that is going to be introduced by Google soon and and that could improve your customer experience. And all that information can go into one window into a larger data lake or a data repository that can be analyzed by AI. We have aI powered data analytics now that can take a look at all the data that exists mine the data and find, find a goldmine of information about the organization, and so on and so forth. And then ultimately, in a couple of years, we will have artificial intelligence in most parts of the organization, and then all of that can come together as one single autonomous enterprise. To summarize, I would like to introduce three points. First point, embed into artificial intelligence into most parts of the systems, especially customer experience, and marketing. Use generative AI use chat GPT use artificial intelligence to respond to customer requests to improve the customer experience overall. The second point is automate routine work. And we don't take this seriously enough, even today, in most organizations, the amount of automation that is potentially possible is huge. We forget how much automation can do for us, whether it's routine work, such as managing your infrastructure, managing the costs of your infrastructure, managing the capability, performance, availability, and security of your infrastructure, all of this can be automated to a great extent, even menial tasks can be automated using robotic process automation or what it cognitive automation and so on and so forth. And then finally, see how we can optimize processes using automation. Many times we see that within the organization, there are many business processes that that are manual in nature, we can use artificial intelligence and automation to automate these processes to to optimize these processes to eliminate inefficiencies.

And one last point is that when we are doing all this, we must keep in mind that ultimately all of these automations and artificial intelligence components are going to come together as a single All entity. So we must be cognizant about how we are collecting all this information, how all these different components are contributing to a single, although fragmented, but conceptually single data repository. Because when we bring all these components together, in the end, it would be good if we could have a single data repository or a single concept of a data repository, even though physically fragmented, so that we can analyze all this data and build a singular, autonomous enterprise. That's where we begin in our long journey of autonomous enterprises, it's going to take some time. And we haven't even been able to convince the senior leadership team that an EA organization makes a lot of sense. And, of course, autonomous enterprises are a bit far fetched. But then there was a time when the concept of an airplane would have sounded ridiculous and impossible. And today, we haul hundreds and hundreds of people across continents within the matter of hours. So an autonomous enterprise is not really that far fetched. All you need is a vision. That's all I have for you today, folks, I hope you enjoy the show. More about organizational agility, innovation, and enterprise architecture in the practical world, in the business right here on the show. But before I end the show, I want you to help me out with this one little thing. Pause the show, and share this podcast via WhatsApp, or text message with at least one person who might be interested in the show. It could be anyone, your colleague or boss or someone in your team. That's all I ask just one share with one message via text or WhatsApp, or any social media of your choice. And it would go a long way in supporting this podcast and growing this listener base. Also, please don't forget to follow the podcast. That way. You'll get notified when we publish a new episode. If you want to find out more about us. You can find us at Enterprise Architecture If you have ideas, thoughts, disagreements, please feel free to write to me directly. We also have a telegram group if you would like to contribute to the discussions or what have you. Just search for Enterprise Architecture radio on telegram or the URL to join the group is https colon slash slash architecture radio. While our contact details are there in the shownotes we're very easy to find just search for Enterprise Architecture radio anywhere. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, even discord once again. I hope you had fun and I'll see you in the next one.

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