Fifteen years ago — and in many cases, significantly less than that — IT organizations struggled to create effective local EA initiatives. Today, EA groups still do not live in a perfect world with fine-tuned organizational structures, impeccable processes, supportive corporate cultures, and software developers that embrace EA guidelines and deliverables. Meanwhile, the world continues to change — and the pace of change continues to accelerate.
The flat world has brought about global businesses preparing for fast entry into new markets, shifting resources and tasks from one region to another, distributing business processes across multiple countries, and delivering new products globally ahead of the competition. And global businesses need to accomplish this while minimizing cost, dealing with security and compliance issues, and addressing different national infrastructures. IT organizations need to support these efforts while carefully trying to establish a balance among agility, cost, complexity, and risk. Instead of working with multiple purely local or regional EA groups, more and more firms extend the "big picture" perspective for their EA groups to a global level, thus creating the notion of global EA. These global — and even large regional — firms see the need for global EA approaches and best practices to avoid completely reinventing the IT wheel each time they want to enter a new national market.
Forrester defines global EA as:
"An extension and modification of local and regional architectures and EA practices to encompass a broader set of requirements and challenges related to pursuing IT strategy on a global scale."