Early on in my EA career, I was very fortunate to become involved in a pioneering EA initiative at Westpac. My introduction to Westpac came when I helped its Group Data Resource Management team develop tool and repository support for its enterprise business model. During this engagement, I kept hearing people refer to an exciting but very hush-hush project that went under the code name “CS90.” I was intrigued and determined to find out more. That proved very difficult because the project was so leading-edge and innovative that all its documentation was marked at the highest level of secrecy. To make it even harder for competitors to find out what Westpac was doing, CS90 was divided Read more
Posts Tagged 'architecture'
Digital transformation is at the top of many executive agendas and organizations are investing substantial resources to make it happen. While there may be internal benefits such as efficiency gains, the primary driver for digital transformation is the customer. Customers are now in the driver’s seat with high expectations demanding what they want, when they want it, and how they want it – and they will go elsewhere to find it if not satisfied. Years of growth and change have created tremendous complexity and redundancy in large enterprises. This complexity has become more transparent to the customer and so improving the customer experience and achieving true digital transformation requires significant changes to the business and Read more
Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better. — Edsger W. Dijkstra Architecture’s raison d’être is to manage complexity and enable value generation for the enterprise that rests on it. But does the enterprise of architecture always produce the architecture for the enterprise? My experience tells me that it often does not. Sometimes, though, in our finest moments, we manage to architect things of elegance that push our enterprises and industry to much higher levels. It may not all be by design; emergence may be a better explanation for some of our architectural accomplishments. So, what would Read more
There are many theories about what Enterprise Architecture is, and there should be. But ultimately, it is not the theory that matters. The make-up of the people, the organizational structure and the circumstances of the enterprise drive what people end up doing, and what architecture looks and feels like. Prefixes are free: The “x” Architect EA practices within different enterprises look and feel very different. For example, one enterprise may have a Content Architect but not a Security Architect. A different enterprise may have a Payments Architect, reflecting a specific domain within that company. Just imagine if medical professionals were as free with prefixes and specialization tags as we have been in architecture! I get Read more
Good architects also need to be good “marketects”: they must be able to sell and promote their cause as well as publicize their achievements, outcomes, and results. But how do they do this? What tips and guidelines from the world of marketing can architects adopt to their advantage? First of all, what do we mean by “marketecture”? With a cynical hat on, some might argue that marketecture is about selling something that you don’t really need. In a Dilbert cartoon from 2009, the Director of Marketecture says that “it is better to seem good than to be good. A misleading benchmark test can accomplish in minutes what years of good engineering can never do.” In Read more
In the past year, business architecture crossed a major threshold in terms of industry awareness and acceptance. Business architecture is now viewed as an important business discipline that executives should pursue and is being used to enable a variety of business solutions that range from ongoing operational improvements to major transformation scenarios. What about you? Do you have a business architecture story to share? The November 2011 Cutter IT Journal, with Guest Editor William Ulrich, will examine business architecture experiences from the trenches. Proposals of interest are due 9 September 2011. To respond, please visit http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cutter-it-journal/callforpapers03.html
Agile software development and agile project management have shown considerable success in helping organizations develop better software and better manage development projects in the face of changing requirements and evolving technologies. In one sense, agile is about managing rapidly changing project factors and requirements. But enterprises face many other factors that must also be accounted for in project management and development. For example, enterprises need to manage quality, reduce technical debt, and control the total cost of ownership for each individual project. In addition, they need to manage overall IT costs, complexity, and consistency across all projects. These are factors that architecture is in place to address but, unfortunately, these aspects of software engineering and Read more
Architects face many challenges in their jobs. Among them are creating architecture and applying architecture. I’ve said many times that creating architecture alone does not create value. Rather, the value from architecture comes when it is applied. In other words, value is delivered when architecture is used to influence the outcome of decision making, analysis, design, or implementation. Yet another challenge is that architects are often not the people who are responsible for doing the applying. So we face a conundrum: we don’t create value until someone else uses the architecture. That begs the obvious question of how to get other people to use the architecture. The equation itself is really quite simple: if you Read more
Starting in 2011, look to a gradual shift away from constraining or contrived architectures, based on outdated analogies with building architecture or the traditional business, application, data/information, technology architecture EA “stack”. Tomorrow’s IT architectures may be more like the analogy where a building is architected in Zero-G (gravity). In such an environment, would we really pour the foundation first, and then establish the support beams and framing to be pre-requisite, dependant, and therefore locked in, for the life of the system? IT architectures — especially application and information architectures based upon emerging Semantic Web-based technologies — are far less constrained, allowing for refactoring, growth, and evolution in a real-time manner. There is no lock-in to Read more
When EA originally emerged, it was a thin layer of technology and methodology sandwiched between two large buns: business applications on the top and infrastructure on the bottom. The bulk of the headcount and budget of an IT department would be devoted to the acquisition or development and support of applications and to the investments in data centers, user PCs, network connections, and security.