Guidance in Delivering Value through Architecture
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In a recent Advisor, we called out an important function of architects: “to grapple with the elements of the enterprise that are disproportionate in their influence, and make them deliver [business value].” What is implicit in that statement is a recognition that “grappling” occurs because complex situations demand that we make the right tradeoffs and choices. It’s all about decisions. Who makes these decisions?
Enterprise architects are well aware that their subject is multidimensional and complex. So how on earth do architects manage versions across architectures, building blocks, components, and artifacts? There is surprisingly little written about this topic, despite its obvious importance. In this Executive Update, I hope to rectify this by outlining current best practices on the subject of architecture versioning.
It may be fair to say that many of the problems people see with enterprise architecture come from the name that the profession has given itself. “Architecture” implies a responsibility for the overall structure of the organization, a role that involves controlling and approving any changes to how the parts are put together. By analogy, this places the enterprise architect in a role similar to that of a building architect, with an overall responsibility for the structure of the enterprise.
Many have felt that “urban planner” is a better metaphor, because the urban planner looks at how all the individual buildings fit together, considers how the structure and layout of a city affect the lives of its inhabitants, and helps to realize the overall vision of the city. I agree that this metaphor is better, and I think the evolution of urban planning provides some additional insights.
Although certainly not a complete replacement for the highly customized applications that have characterized most enterprise IoT implementations to date, domain-specific IoT and industry-specific solutions offer end-user organizations a (relatively) less painful way of putting their IoT plans and initiatives into production.
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