The Architect & The Matrix

It was about 17 years ago, I was a C++ developer in Malaysia, after a long work day, me and my roommates (who were my fellow co-coders as well) were longing for a break after a wicked release. We rented “The Matrix” movie from local store, and headed back to the paradise of couch. [Note: If you don’t know the movie I am talking about here, please close the browser immediately, remove all content that may have downloaded on your computer from this site. You are utterly unqualified to read my blog further.]

We watched the movie for 4 times in a row, just because, I was dumbfounded by the sheer concept and my inability to grasp that in first, second or even third run. Two long years later came, Matrix Reloaded, and that introduced “The Architect” portrayed by Helmut Baiktis, unbelievably powerful and know-it-all character in series. Although later parts were disappointing, question was why did he know so much more than his wife Oracle about The Matrix.

The Architect is a visionary, a integral member of the team who knows how the entire ecosystem inside unit works. He is the mastermind behind any successful software. Softwares are written to support business needs, Architect makes sure these needs can and will be addressed in a cost effective, futuristic manner derived from Business’ needs of future. The vision part comes naturally to some, and by experience to others, but the implementation of that vision in a systematic manner requires a thorough discipline. A discipline that allows architect(s) to master the “know-it-all” signature. An Architect is a leader, master coder but for most of all a great communicator, (s)he needs skills to manage/sequence tasks/activities effectively to achieve the results from planned software.

Over the time, the architecture discipline has evolved and like every other shade of IT, it has given rise to several architectural frameworks. The frameworks that allow you to logically think and sequence activities to create and deploy the software, provide incremental value to business. The discipline is also bound by Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, that the Neanderthal Architects were replaced by Enterprise Architects and eventually added several different variations like Information (earlier Data) Architects, Infrastructure Architects, Solution Architects and the list goes on. At the end of it, Architect is an architect, they all align their focussed domain into more cultivating maximum value for business. The frameworks came to rescue, John Zachman, Founder of Zachman Framework, is said to coin the term “Enterprise Architecture” for the first time in 1980s. There are several architecture frameworks that came along.

Scott Bernards’s EA3 Cube framework is an important and yet simple EA framework in my view. It cannot get any simpler than how Dr. Bernard puts it

EA = S + B + T
Enterprise Architecture = Strategy + Business + Technology

 

Any implementable framework would say the same. EA Frameworks provide a guidelines to adjust business and technology to meet the strategy, also guide strategy realization based on your current state of business and technology.

Any good framework has

  • a comprehensive methodology for implementing EA practice
  • a comprehensive management plan for sustaining an EA practice
  • best practices & Tools for communicating with stakeholders
  • guidelines for planning along with investment portfolio & project planning
  • structure and best practices for Ea repository & analysis tooling
  • abilities to customize based on organizational needs.

You can choose any framework, it will focussed on realizing business outcomes. There is no doubt and achieving business outcomes is already a dead horse. It is primary goal of a successful EA practice, as a matter of fact, it should be primary goal of every employee. “How to choose a right framework for your organization?” is the topic for another day. No matter which framework you choose, although their paths may be different but their goal/destination is the same.

Let me end here, with a simpler thought “An Architect is the one who keeps emphasizing on the work driven by Business Outcome via implementing checks and balances (Controls) to align every IT activity (and even in business) to align to future Business Outcomes for the organization.”.

 

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