The Secret of Architecture
Do you want to know the biggest Secret of Architecture ? Let’s discover it. But first, do you already know what Architecture is ? Do you know what Enterprise Architecture is ? It is an Art ! And it is fun how easy questions like that imply many answers, from the simplest to the most complex and elaborated.
For sure, you can find definitions of Architecture in TOGAF. You will see a definition of Enterprise Architecture. But that’s not even exhaustive. And I guess each architect has his own answers to these simple questions. How is it possible that such simple questions are hard to answer by a unique easy answer ? Well it depends, what do you expect as an answer ?
Architecture is a set of great transversal or specialized roles and disciplines. If you rely on TOGAF, you will already overview the role of Enterprise Architect, plus one architect per architecture domain, specific to this framework. You can extend to additional and complementary layers, like security. And you can encounter many technology-related architects, with the ability to design solutions and more hands-on architects, in technology constrained environments. So you will find Cloud Architects, Azure, AWS, Google-architects, with even different possible sub-roles. You can find Solution Architects, or straight Technical Architects, or simple IT Architects roles as opened positions in the market.
How is it possible to have this numerous ways to see the Architecture function ? Are all these architect roles ? Can we explain in simple words what architects do ?
Picture a Financial Advisor. Can he explain his role, definitionq, discipline and outcomes to a five-year old child ? Or do you expect an answer in 360 seconds ? Or maybe a deeper understanding that will require you to exercise the role in many years to come ?
Can a doctor explain his role ? Easy answer : he cures and saves lives. Well what all Enterprise, Business or IT-related architects do : making your company winning money, saving your business, and guarding your Information System !
« Architects are kind of roles that require so much knowledge, background, experience and skills ! Let me keep it simple like that : Enterprise, Business and IT-Architects are Business and IT guardians ! Or heroes ? Which one do you prefer ? Guardians, heroes, Architecture is the must have function within your company ! »
Let try to answer the question of the outputs of architects job. Basically, the outputs of an architect mission are : architectures ! Architects design and build Architectures ! The nature of these architectures ? It really depends on the role, or set of roles : organizational, business, transformation, data, application, technology architects ? Many possibilities !
An architecture is a description of systems, their interactions, that will evolve over time. An architecture is not static, it’s dynamic. The architecture will be constrained, will have to support tensors, and to be reviewed.
« Talking about technology, it’s easy to picture a cloud architecture ! Whatever the domain is, every architecture is built over unitary elements, building blocks ! And you can describe any system with an architecture approach, with building blocks ! »
Where to start learning about architectures ? It depends. Do you want to learn to design architectures in cloud ? Do you want to build the best Services-Oriented Architecture ? Or Data Architecture ? Or Business Intelligence Architecture ? Do you want to define the standards patterns for a development team ?
Or do you want to manage an Architecture Team ? Do you want to see the whole picture of this discipline ? Because the journey is not the same. Do you want to increase your knowledge about the business of your company ?
« It is easy to be lost with architecture, scope, and ways of working ! Where do you want to go with your understanding of architecture ? Better to scope and be mentored by an experienced architect ! »
Benefits of Architecture
Here are some non exhaustive incredible benefits you can achieve with Enterprise Architecture, and its most powerful implementation :
- Cloud journey, migration, or design – could it be AWS, Azure, Google, ..
- Control over Technology Roadmap, and assets inventories
- Architecture design, on premise or in the cloud
- Enhanced collaboration between business and IT experts
- Defining a complete IT Strategy, aligned with business strategy
- Overview over business or IT landscapes
- Ability to take strong investment decisions
- Definition of IT standards
- Unlocked collaboration and synergies
- Rationalization of the Information Systems
- Risks controlled over implementation
- Correct selection of solutions
- Review of business processes
- Fine-tuned implementation of IT processes and the firm’s governance
- Trigger for innovation programs
- Definition of standards, could it be solution catalog or development standards
- End-to-end solution design
- Culture change, maturity improvement
- Project Portfolio alignment with the strategy
- Integration of solution within Information Systems
- Highlight of cost and benefits over initiatives
- And many more..
The Secret Revealed
Architects are highly skilled subject matter experts of great experience over their discipline, could it be transversal and generic, or specialized in their domains. It could be business-domains, technology-related domains, organizational, strategical. They all have great talents, skills, and all rely on collaboration.
All of this complexity, can be hidden by a simple thing ! So many terms and disciplines gathered in a single strength and powerful Architecture implementation : EA in a Box, EA for IT, and EA for Biz. The Best of Architecture !
When implemented as a Service, Enterprise Architecture becomes the powerful bridge between all experts that unlocks an incredible collaboration. A single point of contact for the business, that will hide all this complexity, and will allow to find in Enterprise Architecture the best IT-business partnering, the greatest internal consulting function within the company. Architecture integrated in any process, methodology, or way of working !