Welcome to Future Enterprise Systems Africa (FESA 2019), our new conference born out of the DigiCon series of events. The slight shift in focus is to hone in on the practical steps of digital transformation the nuts and bolts of what the next generation business requires in order to survive. Two key areas were identified – the architecture teams and the innovation teams. New leadership roles are emerging in each, some of merging, whereas others a finding they’re still working in isolation. One thing remains though, in order for business to move forward it requires a solid IT backbone; likewise, the two cannot survive independent from each other.
During my research, the best analogy I heard was the organisation being a garden, with the IT department, in general, tends to the garden, whereas the enterprise architect (EA) is the landscaper, the designing, shaping it for future growth and allowing it to flourish.
As an essential cog between technology and business strategy, the EA straddles both worlds being able to interpret the structure of the organisation and identify how to take it forward. On the flipside of the coin are the innovation teams, finding ways to introduce new bits of tech to make things faster, more measurable, more attractive. As mentioned, sometimes these world collide, sometimes they work in isolation. The aim of the conference however is to find the point of convergence for surely one cannot survive without the other.
We discovered that some organisations don’t have a stand-alone EA team, that in some cases it’s the Head of IT (or similar) who have this role (along with innovation) lumped together. But as businesses grow, as companies become more tech savvy, as different business units start requiring similar tech solutions, the more likely you are to need an EA team or at least an individual to undertake part of this workload.
In larger organisations, the EA is considered the internal management consultant to the CIO, a trusted confidant who will enable digital change. One of the many reasons we have noticed a strong decline in the Chief Digital Officer role, is that with the combination of a strong CIO/EA relationship, the critical factors of rolling out technology is managed; cultural change however remains a challenge that the entire organisation needs to lead with.
FESA 2019, is the start of a new series of events that will be based on case studies and discussions looking at the growing role and prominence of the EA, the strategies around IT transition and business transformation, identification and adoption of innovative technology and the introduction of common company-wide principles and standards that align strategy with modernisation, business improvement, managed outsourcing,
Transformational change cannot happen without taking decisive action, but only with the suppose of precise planning and process alignment. If different parts of the enterprise are at odds with one another, don’t share the same vision or operate off the same platforms, then change will only be hampered. Unfortunately, what I’ve heard anecdotally is that we find business units still running rogue or clinging to their independence, where collaboration is an after-thought, where decision-making is wholly decentralised.
However, the question remains – how to you find the right EA or build the right team; is this person one-size fits all? Do you need to have an innovation lead or is that built into going digital? When will emerging technologies no longer be emerging? What makes this fascinating, and why events like FESA exist is that the answer is never clear cut. We aim to be a support mechanism for the IT sector as it continues to grow and evolve, that we remain on the cutting edge of technology and strategic trends, and deliver the best possible environment for our community to thrive.
We look forward to welcoming you to Future Enterprise Systems Africa, in Cape Town this October.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE CONFERENCE:
FESA Cape Town offers a peer-to-peer driven platform based on open discussion and shared insights. This is the conference for Chief Architects, Heads of Innovation, their teams, and colleagues from business. You will take home practical knowledge on how to best align, interpret and engineer technology and business strategies.
What are some of the items to be covered at the conference?
- Affirming the importance of Enterprise Architecture to the organisation and examining relationship between CIOs, EAs and the rest of the business.
- You will learn from case studies depicting varying maturity levels of EA programmes, integration into IT and non-IT roles, and the ability to impact culture through internal feedback mechanisms
- Find out which cloud solution/format will best suit your business needs; we’ll uncover the good, the bad and the ugly of hybrid, native and multiple clouds
- Discover how different enterprise wide systems are designed and aligned to corporate strategy; analysis, planning and implementation
- Gain insight into how customer and employee experiences are optimised and enriched by well architected platforms creating synergy with business strategy
- Learn why the data centre is the beating heart of the enterprise
- Share with colleagues on how you can cultivate a culture of innovation that pushes the boundaries and delivers real business value
- Use your time wisely to network with IT executives, passionate Enterprise Architects and heads of innovation, as well leaders in holistic organisational transformation