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Architecture for digital world of ecosystems, platforms and the mesh

Author: Bora Uran, DPS, Senior Principal Consultant, Enterprise Architecture

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I have noticed new buzzwords mushrooming in business literature thanks to the surge of digital transformation programs - these include 'digital ecosystems', 'digital platforms', 'platform ecosystems', and 'platform economy' to name a few. Most of these terms refer to ways through which we can increase value by forging relationships between organizations, systems and connected things.


"The Mesh" is another one that has been added recently.  In the "Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017" research note, Gartner mentions "An intelligent digital mesh is emerging to support the future of digital business and its underlying technology platforms and IT practices. The mesh focuses on people and the Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints, as well as the information and services that these endpoints access".1


Depending on the business or technology context, each of these three words may have a different subjective meaning. However, one cannot argue that they all represent a common theme. Together, they symbolize a future of seamless connectivity where digital and physical worlds merge and traditional boundaries between organizations, systems and technologies are broken.


New architecture for new enterprise ecosystems


I am excited at the prospect of such a future and I am certain that successful digital transformation programs will help us get there. But first, enterprises need architecture that:


  •   Blends different technologies with varying levels of maturity
  •   Integrates diverse range of applications, services and devices
  •  Supports multiple client channels with optimized user experiences
  •  Enables continuous and agile delivery of new features
  •  Increases performance and scalability for high-volume and real-time interactions

 n  In order to satisfy these requirements, enterprise application architecture is evolving from monolithic to modular and flexible structures.There are new deployment models emerging with higher degrees of agility and scalability. From what I have observed, the two major shifts are happening in the areas of:


  •  Service-oriented architecture (SOA) - SOA is adopting new architecture styles, patterns and protocols such  as  web oriented architecture, microservices architecture and REST
  •  Application development - This is transforming to provide: 

o    Modern software application architecture and frameworks such as back-end and front-end Java or Java Script frameworks

o     Lightweight infrastructure with cloud-based and containerized workloads

o     Automation and agility with DevOps and agile development practices 


In the "Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017: Mesh App and Service Architecture" report, Gartner mentions the following: "Applications need a different architectural approach to support digital business ecosystems. That approach is mesh app and service architecture (MASA)". 2 Here, some of the key architecture styles are cloud-based, serverless, service-oriented, API-led, and event-driven. Implementing such architecture can be challenging. So, enterprises must focus on increasing the maturity of services-based computing and exploring new technologies such as containerization of workloads and serverless architecture. Most importantly, they should build new skills in areas of modern software frameworks, hybrid platforms and continuous delivery and integration.  


Infosys is a key partner with leaders in enterprise architecture and innovation. We help clients realize value from their transformation journey by offering services such as insights-driven enterprise transformation, digitization, ecosystem integration and management, and hybrid cloud enterprise transformation3. Our value proposition stems from our expertise in areas of microservices architecture, API-led connectivity, DevOps and Agile, open source, and cloud adoption.


References

 

  1. Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017 by David W. Cearley et al, Published 14 October 2016 ID: G00317560
  2. Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017: Mesh App and Service Architecture by David W. CearleyGartner Published: 21 March 2017 ID: G00319580
  3. Infosys Smart EA offering   
  4. Service Technology Architecture Guidance by Steven Schilders, Infosys    




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