This paper describes "The Network Effect" as "Organizations cross traditional boundaries; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts." This brave new world of agile, interconnected businesses without clearly defined boundaries presents unprecedented opportunities if - and only if - one were to overcome the architectural challenge of gluing these businesses together.
"Think of business as being fundamentally based on the network and integrated with it (e.g., Amazon.com’s Web Services program) rather than merely enabled by it (e.g., a link to Amazon.com’s site) or connected to it (e.g., remote database access). As business rethinks itself in terms of the network, so must architecture. Truly networked business requires a much deeper commitment to multi-enterprise architecture that embraces many enterprises “outside the box” and emphasizes flexibility and reuse, in contrast to conventional “inside the box” single-enterprise architecture, which might have a controlled interface to a single system outside the box."
This architecture revolution - as the authors describe it - has implications for each level of the architecture stack, namely, infrastructure, applications and business processes.
This report explores the drivers, strategies, technologies and standards at each level and presents a set of principles for how to architect for the networked business.