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Emergence of Social Media in EA

By CIOReview | Friday, March 17, 2017

The Role of Enterprise Architects

Though the enterprise architects possess a complete knowledge of how every piece of an organization is designed and connected, they are however on the brink of responding to the prevailing disruptive forces in this new era. In this context, disruptive forces include digital business, consumer expectations, regulatory demands, new technologies, and social media. Enterprise Architecture (EA) in lead role must aid organizations to steer these disruptors while keenly focusing on the strategic goals and vision and budget decisions. They must have a thorough understanding and must be able to predict how a new investment or the change implemented will give hand to corporate outcomes and transform their business.

Social Media Influencing EA

Social media—although is not only been considered as a windfall for any business, their legacy approaches are at the same time becoming a challenge to enterprise architecture, which is changing the landscape.

By going in line with social media, business organizations can obtain the benefits of real-time communication among their workforces and also with customers. As a vindication of the note that ‘the right mix of business savvy and inventive technology makes reimagination happen’, websites such as Twitter and Facebook allows  enterprises to deliver information about products and services to customers and drive in more traffic to their Internet platforms, streamline sales processes and eventually, build loyalty. It is to be pointed out that this advantage is not a promising one. A guaranteed framework should be raised to house social media along with software, IT systems and business processes. Becoming social means, remodeling the company’s EA and to think of EA as an outline/ plan of all the parts of a company. This blueprint supports data, process and technology components to meet an organization’s present and future goals. Now, social media opening up its umbrella and spreads throughout the blueprint.

According to Tom Nolle, president of CIMI, an IT consultancy, “Most enterprise architectures depict a fairly predictable workflow and social media can be disruptive where the applications have been designed to depend on very linear process flows.”

Social media communication is hardly linear; organizations do not share or post a message on social networking sites such as Twitter and look ahead to to get a response from a certain person at a certain time. Alternatively, this message/post goes out to a large community, and a number of people react and also pass it around to other groups. Of course there is a little control over this flow of message, but still not the like the one that has been typically in business communications or mapped out in an architecture. For organizations to involve in a healthy competition there needs to be a marriage of EA and social media as customers are highly demanding real-time interactive communication.

This association brings in lots of advantages for businesses in meaningful and convenient communications with customers. To its dismay there is one challenge that social media makes it hard to control business and customer information. Paraphrasing Michael Ogrinz, author of Mashup Patterns, ‘Designs and Examples for the Modern Enterprise’, “EA's job is to make sure that social media tools have the necessary technical controls to comply with the appropriate policies and mitigate risk.” To illustrate an example, few companies use a Facebook-like application for efficient communication between sales people and sales managers. In this case, their messages could quote pricing or the customer’s financial status that must not get to the public. Hence, controls are needed to reduce risks, such as any sales rep sharing that information. Experts refer to complexity and lack of a tangible return on investment among social media monitoring program challenges. Furthermore, because social media listening does not include offline conversations among consumers, it might not probably offer an entire picture of sentiment about a company or its products.

Ogrinz said, “The task for businesses is clear: They need to make social media part of most business processes if they are going to cash in. That calls for big changes in the enterprise architecture blueprint.” If an organization is placing social media analysis plan in place, or they are calculating a possible deployment, they must make certain that they are constantly keeping in place with the ebb and flow of new technologies and getting them in the first place.