The IT architecture of an Enterprise is effectively a system of systems. The intent or goal of the system is to either achieve the mission of the organization or drive to profitability (make money) for the business.
IT Architects align technology with the mission of the organization. They live in many disciplines within the organization and spend time looking not only at how to better achieve the goals of the organization but also how to make things work better.
The standards against which IT Architects deliver are fairly straight forward. Matching the requirements of the solution (technology) to the needs of the organization (be it mission or market). In all cases referring back to the larger enterprise view of the organization to deliver solutions that Compromise a holistic enterprise view.
A holistic enterprise IT Architecture approach takes into account not only the impact of the single solution but the impact on the overall enterprise. Deploying a great ERP solution that requires significant network bandwidth may work, as long as your entire organization has the bandwidth required. There are many more ripples than bandwidth that IT Architects deal with. Bandwidth is just the first of many.
If only the decisions were this simple. Go left or go right. IT Architects have to balance the needs of any specific problem against the goals of the organization and the abilities and capabilities of the solution. There are fiduciary and roadmap responsibilities as well. A solution that fixes the problem of today, but will cost 10x its initial cost in two or three years isn’t a good solution. The IT Architect has to balance the standards of the IT Organization, The competitive stance and competitive value of the solution and the market, long term technology roadmaps and the specific needs of the business.
Now, also take into account time. IT Architects are asked to create solutions for the mission and business of an organization. Sometimes they are asked to reduce or remove the competitive advantage another organization has gained. In these cases the reality of time enters the picture. When your organization cannot preform at the level of a competitor you lose customers and market share. Or in the case of government or social agencies you end up with an overloaded system, If I can’t use your web site because it doesn’t function the way I expect, I call your telephone number.
IT Architect Standards.
- The role IT Architect does not have to be technology focused.
- IT Architects have loosely defined roles. Only loosely as we continue to add new roles to the overall definition. Business, Information, Infrastructure, Solution, Enterprise, Operations and Security are all disciplines within IT Architecture today.
- IT Architects build solutions that benefit the delivery of the mission or function of an organization or business.
- IT Architects must consider the impact of their solution on the enterprise, potential future markets, potential future costs and on the end users and customers of the system.