Dec 072010

Starting in 2011, look to a gradual shift away from constraining or contrived architectures, based on outdated analogies with building architecture or the traditional business, application, data/information, technology architecture EA “stack”.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 any but the most basic and simple of architectural constructs. They are based on what will become eventually widely recognized as Semantic Enterprise Architecture (SEA).

[Editor’s Note: This post is part of the annual “Cutter Predicts …” series, compiled at the Cutter Consortium website.]


Mitchell Ummel

Mitchell Ummel is Director of Cutter's Government & Public Sector practice and a Senior Consultant with Cutter's Business & Enterprise Architecture practice.


  2 Responses to “Are We Moving Towards a More Architecture-less IT?”

  1. avatar

    Mitchell, I understand where Cutter is coming from, but there are a couple of points that don’t sit well with me.

    My prediciton for 2011 is that there will be a resurgance of architectural work in the IT domains. When teams adopted “agile” methodologies, many thought that this meant that architectural issues could be avoid, and they could “just do the code”.

    Time has shown that this is not true (nor was it ever the intention of Agile). Rather a transformation of architecture from an “initial” task to an on-going effort [avoiding BRUF] is what is required.

    When teams do not consider architecture they will almost invaraibly “reinvent the wheel”. Additionally when (not if) technology changes they will find that many of their artifacts are useless (or at least require much rework to be made relevant); this also is avoided by using proper architectural abstractions.

    The other item is the mixing of IT Architecture and EA architecture. While IT is definately an enabler of many EA initiatives, they are distinct domains. It is possible (but unlikely) to set of the overall structure of an enterprise [the definition of EA] without the use of any (computer)technology. Of course, the use of IT technology without an overall EA plan is already rampant.

  2. Thanks kindly for weighing in on my blog post. I definitely concur with your statement that there will be a resurgence in architectural work in the IT domains in 2011.

    I’m arguing that these future architectures must necessarily shift to become less constraining (more flexible) and less contrived (implying, that which are asserted without regard to standards, or to tightly bound to a specific or proprietary technology).

    I believe your thoughts on Agile are also “right on”, in that (in my opinion) we often confuse what is promoted as “software design patterns” in Agile, as a surrogate for EA… we know that cannot be successful.

    I asserted some of the challenges with from another angle in an Executive Update entitled “Project Management Confidential…”

    I stand by my assertion that we will, in 2011, begin to shift to a far less constraining or contrived form of architecture, and that architecture will be driven by emerging (and rapidly maturing) standards in the Semantic Web space (Semantic Enterprise Architecture).

    Agree or disagree? I’d like to hear your opinions…

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>