Innovation - Incubator for "rogue" applications

We, Architects, always have heartburns whenever we talk/think of a system that does not exactly fit into Enterprise Architect and it’s standards. I always struggled with such systems mostly because every time we talk about integration and information/data consistency across the systems this so called “rogue” application becomes yet another system to deal with. And that potentially makes it very difficult because it is not built based on the same Enterprise Architecture Standards rest of the Enterprise subscribes. What’s interesting is, often, business loves such systems.

Few months ago I read a paper (I will try and find the bookmark again) on Gartner that talked about the same topic but had a different spin on it. That got me thinking whether the cause of “heard burn” is simply a matter of being on the same page with business in terms of their expectations from such “rogue” systems. I think these “rogues” are probably an area where Enterprise Architecture should start showing more leadership. When I look around actually many successful & large software corporations such as Microsoft, IBM et al. are taking this approach already under the umbrella of “Technology Innovation”. And I know many IBM Distinguished Architects are behind such successful Technology Innovation Programs.

These so called “rogue” or “innovative” applications may do some of these things, when there is quick “business value/gain”

- How about building few quick PHP based applications in a Java shop
- How about leveraging open source at an Oracle or Microsoft or IBM shop for certain capabilities in a not-so-open-source-friendly corporation
- How about leveraging some of the controversial technologies
- How about introducing web services for a batch-friendly shop
- How about deploying “cloud” for a got-to-be-my-own-data-center friendly infrastructure team
- etc etc

How about a segment of our Enterprise Architecture teams or a Technology Innovation teams (could be partly virtual team) drive such things?

How about using these as opportunities to challenge in-place Enterprise Standards and use as “evolution” for these standards, especially because, we, EAs usually are focused so much on Governance and Consistency we ignore the opportunities to improve.

In short,

Rogue ideas –> Architecture Incubator Platform for these rogue apps –> Technology Innovation Platform that business sees value in –> Force these apps out of incubator once they prove it’s business value into Enterprise Architecture platform –> I believe that’d result in better Business & Technology alignment


  1. Mahi - I am glad to see you blog on this concept. You have n fact ratified something that I am doing at my current company. In leading the EA Group one of the key goals I established for my team was to avoid being the "governance body of nay-sayers" and an "ivory tower". My group has routinely invested in and investigated innovative technologies and has sought to insure the viability of this technology in meeting our business goals.

    In any case, I have taken the liberty to post my detailed comments in another blog post.

    Surekha -


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