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This week I had the pleasure of being on an Enterprise Architecture twitter chat with other industry luminaries such as Guy Shone (@GuyShone) who is CEO of Explain the Market and a regular on the BBC, and Major Hayden (@MajorHayden) who is Principal Architect at Rackspace.  These sessions are always lively and wide ranging but this was particularly interesting, we ranged from how to design a cognitive enterprise architecture to the relevance of mainframes in a cloud deployment model. For more details and to sign up for future chats click here.

The discussion got me to thinking of the challenges that face the C-Suite and Line of Business executives as they embark on deploying new business driven applications.  Gone are the days where the choice facing the IT department is which box do we buy to run this new app?  Today an Enterprise Architect has to weigh the relative merits of whether to deploy the workload on or off premises, then which architecture best suits the workload characteristics. Further, how do you architect for performance, scalability and increasingly the security required in a world where hacking and data privacy is front page news.  The situation gets more complex if the new app has to access existing systems of record for core client data…

In this new world where the rate and pace of change is driven by the likes of DevOps, agile projects, sprints and a general ripping up of the traditional playbook the type of decision has changed but also the pace at which that decision must be made.

Let’s take an example like Blockchain and how this immutable distributed ledger technology is disrupting not only traditional IT platforms but also who business transactions based on trust between parties are conducted.  This albeit fledgling technology will rapidly mature with all major banks rushing to sign up to the industry body under the Linux Foundation called Hyperledger and bring increasing pressure on traditional IT delivery and deployment models.

IBM is living at the forefront of these changes not only with how to deliver modern cutting edge business driven applications but also with technologies such as Blockchain.  The IBM Services business is typically a key stakeholder in these IBM wide driven discussions, with our IT-as-a-Service strategy normally the rallying point.  Take for instance one area that is dear to my own heart the mainframe space.  This enterprise workload beast is typically at the core of any new project that requires access to ‘systems of record’ and as such needs to be accessed in ways that fit with modern RESTful API’s an allow seamless access to the core client data.  In an API economy the mainframe is a key player, not only driven by where the data resides today but also through its inherent security and availability play a part.

However, to fully play in a cloud first strategy when it comes to new application deployment the mainframe needs to be able to adapt to new operational CapEx driven consumption based models.  Well of course IBM has an answer for that… and this area is the key focus for the forthcoming IBM Interconnect conference.  This session is the perfect place for any aspiring Enterprise Architect or business leader for that matter to build their own agenda form the sessions available to cross the spectrum from IT delivery models to ideas for that next cool app… For more details on IBM Interconnect and how to register click here and for more from me follow me on Twitter @StevenDickens3