The Nexus of Forces, the Third Platform and Digital Transformation
This is Gartner’s explanation of their term “the nexus of forces”, which we at Good e-Learning think is rather good.
“The Nexus of Forces is the convergence and mutual reinforcement of social, mobility, cloud and information patterns that drive new business scenarios.”
The analysts at IDC have a different term, “the third platform”, which is also rather good. This puts the concept neatly into historical context, the first platform representing the age of the mainframe, while the second platform describes the client/server environment.
What everyone agrees upon, however, is that there is now a stark imperative for every organisation to leverage cloud, Big Data, social and mobile technologies to remain competitive. We are all in a new country. It can be fast-changing and disruptive, but it is also full of potential. The competitive advantage found in leveraging the nexus of forces has been, and continues to be, profound. Think Uber. Think Airbnb. What competitive businesses are hoping to achieve is a successful “Digital Transformation”.
Businesses Face a Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation, then, is the process of leveraging Big Data, mobile, cloud and social technologies to escalate operational efficiency and business competitiveness. Digital Transformation also attempts to give the business the agility to respond to (or even drive and take advantage of) the modern disruptiveness innate in 21st century business.
There are significant consequences for EA practitioners, and especially for IT governance. Digital Transformation is likely to consume the discussion in every boardroom over the next several years.
It is likely that, for the foreseeable future, every EA professional you meet will be grappling in their own way with the impact of the third platform on operations, processes, decision-making and customer interactions. By 2018, the analysts at IDC predict that organisations pursuing Digital Transformation will more than double the size of their developer resources, focusing those developers almost entirely on Digital Transformation initiatives..
Digital Transformation, the move to the third platform, and to software methodologies such as DevOps, Agile, Lean and Kanban have left a space that it is essential for IT governance to fill, and the Open Group’s IT4IT initiative is doing just that. The IT4IT standard is very much part of the changing environment we’re facing.
Until the IT4IT initiative the IT function within a business, unlike HR or Finance (for example) had no prescriptive reference architecture. And that has been driving up cost. The important work we’ve done with standards such as COBIT and ITIL has contributed in a great way with process modeling, but has stopped short of offering anything prescriptive. This is where we start placing the Open Group’s IT4IT initiative into context. The IT4IT standard is a prescriptive reference architecture for managing the business of IT. It doesn’t replace ITIL, COBIT or any other framework or standard. It continues their journey.
 “Accelerating Digital Business with IT4IT” Carnelly & Thomson, IDC Jan 2016.