Posts Tagged 'architecture'

 
Marketects: Delivering Good Enterprise Architecture

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 …

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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

 
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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 …

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Feb 222011
 
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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 …

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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 …

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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.

Dec 152009
 
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Enterprise architecture (EA) has become a mainstream activity in large or information-intensive organizations. Several years ago, Cutter IT Journal covered the emerging best practices in EA, and since then readers have requested that we check back to explore how things are evolving. What are EA programs focusing on in 2010 and beyond? Well, what has changed since then? In the past few years, the industry has seen a lot of flux: outsourcing, “the cloud,” Enterprise 2.0, Zachman Framework 2.0, TOGAF certification, a maturing definition of business architecture, the financial crisis, and new priorities. How have these affected EA in different organizations? What activities are they focused on now? What are the new issues? Not surprisingly, …

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I live in the state of New Hampshire. It’s a major pumpkin-growing region of the country, and October is harvest season. Truckloads of pumpkins head south and west, and local farm stands are bursting with the orange globes. But what do you do with all the misshaped or leftover pumpkins? Chuck ‘em, what else? A local farmer has turned this into an art with his World Champion ‘Yankee Siege’ Trebuchet. This is something you really must see to comprehend. The top of the mast rises to more than 60 feet, and when the 12,000 pounds of weight are let loose, pumpkins fly for about 2,000 feet. Now, it turns out that this farmer is not …

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Aug 122009
 
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A few weeks ago, I had a little electrical incident at my house. After the fire department left and the mess was cleaned up, we took stock of the damage. Except for the offending surge “protector” that caught fire, our UPCs pretty much did their job. No computers were damaged — just a dead scanner, a zapped paper shredder, fried cordless phone, and, most frustrating of all, an ex-coffee maker. I really like coffee … a hot cup of joe for breakfast, espresso in the afternoon, coffee to take in the car, iced coffee on a hot summer day, coffee for entertaining — you get the point. I had already been suffering coffee cravings because …

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A primary function of IT architecture is managing change. This change happens at varying rates in and between levels of abstraction (think of wind moving at different speeds at different altitudes). So we can think of “horizontal” change — change in time within a particular level — as well as “vertical change” — the relationship between one level and another. A robust IT architecture maximizes the potential for improvements in all levels while minimizing the negative impact of change between levels. Sometimes IT architecture emerges through acquisition. In the old days, vendors imposed architecture that was bundled with their software development products. (Why would anyone have otherwise considered something like systems application architecture [SAA]?) As …

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