Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Structure of Architecture

Question: How do the various aspects and Architectural titles fit together?
Answer: It depends…



The Architecture title, in IT, is still very immature and relatively undefined. In an attempt to define it based on my current role I came up with the diagram below.
Let’s take each Archetype and define what I mean by each in the remainder of this post.

Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architects define and drive organisational standards and define constraints that all solutions that span the organisation must adhere to.
By extension the enterprise architect may also be responsible for designing the overall organisational structure and processes.
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_architecture

Solution Architecture


The Solutions Architect outlines the solution architecture across domains, functions, and industries, then monitors and governs their implementation.
Solution Architects also coordinates and synchronises the various Application Architects and the business Architects with specific focus on the integration aspects between the various application components that make up the overall solution.
The overall solution Architecture may be made up of additional Archetypes, not defined in this post, as required such as Data Architecture amongst others.

Application Architecture


Each of the Application Architectures specialists, described below, have specific specialities in one or more Areas and also one or more application offerings from vendors such as Microsoft and others, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Custom software development.
Functional Application Architect

Functional Application Architects define the Functionality required based on the requirements defined by the Business Architect.
Software Application Architect

The Software Application Architect makes high-level design choices and dictates technical standards, including software coding standards, tools, and platforms.
Software Application Architects uses the functional architecture and translates it into a software architecture which addresses each of the business requirements.
Infrastructure Application Architect

Infrastructure Application Architects produce the hardware architecture required to support the software architecture in the various environments where it will be implemented into.

Business Architecture


Business Architects focus on defining, improving and streamlining line of business processes while adhering to Solution and Enterprise constraints.
In some organisations the Business Architect will feed into the Solution Architect, depending on the structure of the organisation or the process in which solutions are defined.

Information Architecture


Information Architects focus on the flow, purpose and function of the information in a solution.

Conclusion

The thing I have come to realise during the writing of this post is that the reason why this information is not clearly defined in the industry is because it is highly dependent on the individual organisation, the project and even the people that make up the various teams.
I do however want to state that the structure I depict above has worked in a couple of organisations where I’ve worked and may be a decent, generic starting point for defining Architecture in other organisations.
As with any methodology, it could and should be customised for the specific implementation.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in this regards in the comments.

Further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book:Enterprise_Architecture

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