Enterprise architecture: Less is more… still

Read about enterprise architecture-based application portfolio management & how today’s digital business demands require a clean IT landscape to deliver solutions.

Paula Ziehr Paula Ziehr

In summer 2021, Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) was reopened after six years of renovation.

The building was originally architected in the late 1960’s by German-American Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) and is the epitome of his modernist architecture style.

The refurbishment – mostly targeting safety concerns, construction weaknesses and structural damage – was trusted to David Chipperfield Architects, who painstakingly worked to keep as much of the original building intact, changing nothing in its appearance. They succeeded – visiting the museum was like seeing an old friend whose facelift is barely noticeable, except for reaffirmation of the strong character beneath.

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Enterprise architecture management

I wrote about the New National Gallery in a previous blog – comparing the minimalist architectural approach to the goal of application portfolio management. Back then I wrote, “Doesn’t the IT agility demanded for digitalization require ‘extreme clarity and simplicity… a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of unobstructed free-flowing open space?’ Isn’t that what enterprise architecture management in the digital era strives to provide to digital business solution architects: Clear structures and guidelines to build upon and an uncluttered space for information to move unhindered from system to system?”

Mies van der Rohe’s simple square glass pavilion – the entrance to the museum and space for exhibitions needing a wide-open space – demonstrates his ideas about flexible interior space. This is a flexibility craved by today’s Agile architects and Lean portfolio managers – yet within a strong, defining framework for structure and support.

Application portfolio management

And here we segue to enterprise architecture-based application portfolio management. Today’s digital business demands require a clean and optimized IT landscape to be able to deliver solutions quickly, and pivot on a dime if market realities render your company’s products and services inviable. You need to keep IT growth in check and fend off nonessential investments by closely aligning to business strategy and having a KPI-based decision framework.

To do this requires collaboration of all relevant stakeholders based on current and reliable information on the application portfolio and technologies supporting it, as well as rapid analytics on the impact of any change to the IT landscape to be able to rationalize smartly. Take a lesson from Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” approach and apply it to IT management to:

  • Lower costs through application rationalization
  • Get greater agility with a leaner portfolio
  • Reduce IT risk due to fewer moving parts

So that’s it – more or less.

Ah, no – I mean “less is more” – and that’s it – still.

Watch the video, Application Rationalization with Alfabet FastLane, here.