Sunday, September 7, 2008

A great fit ..

[And] I think you are a great fit for this…

What is Business? From Nature of the Firm by Coase [1] to the Porter's 5 forces analysis [2], this question is analyzed and explained in numerous studies and research. Still this important question is overlooked in many discussions related to this topic like a role of an architect. Figure 1 is another interpretation of the Marketplace and the Business

Figure 1: The Marketplace and the Business

There are enterprise architects, solution architects and infrastructure architects. Sometime the job description is a combination of all of the above or none of the above based on the situation and the project. A new way of looking at it is in terms of depth and width. An enterprise architect is responsible for managing the big picture and hence is a width base role. Solution architect focus on the project or a particular part of the project like performance or security and hence is a depth based role. Infrastructure architect is responsible for the infrastructure – viz SAN/WAN, servers, scalability, etc.

Architects are also responsible for coordinating operations between all other components of the business like HR, Marketing, Sales, etc. and the IT. Sometimes this means a political position and in other cases it’s a technical responsibility. Enterprise frameworks did an excellent job in capturing the technology component. The political/people part of the puzzle is mostly an on-job learning/training activity.

The role of an architect is to understand the business strategy/vision and implement it successfully in terms of improving existing process or by creating new processes. As explained in figure 1, it is important to understand the reason behind the project. For example, a project to support a new service or product will be totally different from the project focused on improving existing product/service. With a new product or service, an architect has got the freedom to start from scratch with a blank slate. Project focused on improving the existing product/service will mostly be a migration project like upgrading a legacy system, implementing some sort of application integration, etc.

An architect is like a conductor of an orchestra. Although, conductor does not play any instrument, he is responsible for producing the melody bounded by the music rules like the Symphony No. 40 [3].

Oh! What about an enterprise solution architect? The headhunter kept going on and on for almost five minutes. And then he said, you know, you should consider this seriously as their business is doing really good and they are growing really fast. A position with a local, stable, fast growing, privately owned company and yes, the salary is in six digits. I asked him, what is their business and he said does it matter? They are looking for an enterprise solution architect. [And] I think you are a great fit for this…



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