Engineering the Future of Software
Feb 25–26, 2018: Training
Feb 26–28, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Enterprise architecting for digital disruption

Joel Crabb (Target)
4:50pm–5:40pm Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Enterprise architecture, Leadership skills
Location: Sutton North Level: Intermediate
Secondary topics:  Best Practice, Overview

Who is this presentation for?

  • Architects, executives, engineering managers, and engineers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with traditional enterprise architecture

What you'll learn

  • Explore an alternative direction for enterprise architecture (EA) that has evolved out of real-world architects and engineers striving to make EA a relevant function in traditional companies that are working on becoming digital technology companies


Traditional enterprise architecture is officially dead in companies such as Target or Best Buy that have seen their markets trampled by digital interlopers. The traditional processes are too slow and irrelevant in a fast-changing world, where keeping up is virtually impossible and getting ahead is seen as irresponsible daydreaming. The only answer is ditching the traditional EA frameworks and everything generally considered EA (e.g., business architecture, infrastructure architecture, application architecture, and data architecture) and instead turn back the clock and focus on the core fundamental idea underpinning EA’s initial invention: business-aligning technology strategy.

This shift back to strategy and holistic company-wide (enterprise) architecture has been made possible by the rapid evolution of product management, infrastructure, applications, and data, where product management replaces business architecture; infrastructure is now either an internal or external cloud; applications are being reduced to microservices or serverless architectures; and data is highly available and decentralized.

Joel Crabb walks you through how to restructure EA and explains where to focus its efforts to add maximum value to a business while supporting a software engineering culture. Although there are still areas where full enterprise alignment is necessary to multiply the impact of technology decisions, we must decide on a new name for this function, since enterprise architects need no longer apply.

Photo of Joel Crabb

Joel Crabb


Joel Crabb is the vice president of architecture and the chief architect at Target, where he has brought a platform mindset to the company’s software engineering teams and created a platform architecture wherein data and business processes are presented through platform APIs that serve the entire enterprise. Joel has over 20 years of experience building large-scale applications, both business and consumer facing. Previously, he was the chief architect at Best Buy, where he replatformed the company’s digital channel into a cloud-based distributed system to support growth from $1.8B to $5.1B in revenue over four years.

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