August 12, 2009 – Gartner analysts say a new style of enterprise architecture is required to respond to increased complexities in today’s markets, economies, nations, networks and companies. Analysts are advising companies to adopt emergent architecture, also known as middle-out and light enterprise architecture, as business units demand more autonomy. “Emergent is one of a set of approaches that organizations should be taking as they move forward,” Bruce Robertson, research vice president at Gartner said. The idea behind it is that organizations have very little control over what individuals within the enterprise are doing, and it emphasizes the innovation that can happen throughout a business from the bottom up. “Many organizations operate under the assumption that everything can be standardized, but that is far from true,” said Robertson. By adding and emergent aspect to enterprise architecture, you remove the top-down approach of central thinkers and, instead, let the innovation emerge among those doing the work. “Our job is to facilitate a process of planning,” Robertson said. “Watch what people do, learn what might be useful that others can use, generalize, and get people to leverage it.” Gartner identified seven properties that differentiate emergent architecture from traditional enterprise architecture:

Gartner analysts will further examine emergent enterprise architecture at the upcoming Enterprise Architecture Summit 2009.

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