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How to Stay On the Cutting Edge of IT Architecture: 9 Tips For Futuristic Thinkers

How to Stay On the Cutting Edge of IT Architecture

How to Stay On the Cutting Edge of IT Architecture

If you're interested in IT architecture, this post is for you! Click here for 9 tips you need to know to stay ahead of your peers!

Keyword(s): it architecture

Planning and implementing IT architecture is a tough endeavour.

You have to constantly juggle a bunch of technical details. To make things more complicated, a new era of enterprise technology is disrupting established models, practices, and strategies.

We live in times of global digitisation and smartphone proliferation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to reshape the tech landscape.

Well, what this means is there’s not much time to dwell on the past. We have to initiate smart strategic planning and set our eyes on the future horizon. That’s the way to keep up with shifting customer expectations and the rapid pace of innovation.

Here are some actionable tips on how to navigate this brave new IT world.

1. Go Over the Basics of IT Architecture

The world of tomorrow is a fascinating topic to explore, but don’t get ahead of yourself.

Take your time to revise the basic components of the IT infrastructure. Get familiar with common IT tasks, standardising technology, consolidating resources, collaboration platforms, etc. Understand the role each one of them plays.

While at it, give common tasks some special thoughtful consideration.

They refer to high priorities such as eliminating information silos. What is more, they involve resource integration, as well as the definition of technical standards and security requirements. You can rest assured these activities will make or break your IT efforts.

2. Initiate Strategic Standardisation

Standardisation of technology is a crucial strategic campaign to set in motion.

This process revolves around keeping your hardware and software as consistent as possible. You streamline core operations and reduce the complexity associated with enterprise architecture implementation. In the process, you tap into economies of scale and facilitate integrations.

Likewise, you become adept at seizing support opportunities and improve future control.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to stick to applications and development platforms that reduce architecture complexity. For instance, set up company-wide backbone solutions for integrating apps from different providers. Smooth integration is way more important than adding more functionalities.

3. Ramp up Your Agility

Moving on, you have to find ways to make your IT architecture more lean and agile.

You can keep some legacy systems running, but they mustn’t impede the effectiveness of the overall IT transformation. See if you can make them as fast as the rest of the system.

Uniform high speed is the name of the game moving forward. On the other hand, “two-track” IT organisations are falling by the wayside.

Furthermore, you may want to ponder novelties such as micro-services. Think of them as complex applications broken down into narrow components. They promote higher agility, while also increasing stability and scalability.

We predict a steady upward market trajectory for them in years to come.

4. Omni-Channel and Cross-Device Support

An escalating number of channels and end devices put rough challenges before organisations.

Namely, an average consumer utilises multiple devices on a regular basis. Most of these devices are mobile platforms. This is to say you might want to embrace the mobile-first approach.

It plays right to the strengths and overcomes the limitations of tablets and smartphones. At the same time, the IT architecture must support all other end-use cases, no exceptions.

Consumers accept nothing less than seamless integration and omnichannel capability. They also require you to provide timely and accurate information at all times. Meeting these goals, you’ll gain an edge and reap immense benefits of early adoption.

5. Consolidation and Centralisation

Consolidation and centralisation of technology is another key next step toward IT greatness.

These two transformation processes are usually carried out via data centres. Apart from more optimal resources use, they bolster data recovery, network access, and service delivery. In addition, they bring amazing security benefits.

To make the change happen, focus on managing IT staff, file storage, directory services, and server resources. Do away with the remains of a fragmented approach and traditional system integrations.

Bear in mind Enterprise-Service-Bus methodology no longer cuts it either, which brings us back to micro-services. There are already many open source products you can take advantage of, so no excuses really.

6. Face the Data Galore

Modern businesses are awash with an unprecedented amount of data.

And the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) suggests this is just the beginning. The main issue, of course, is how to extract value from a vast ocean of unstructured data. Well, numerous companies have responded by building data warehouses.

They pull data points from various sources and then proceed to analyse and process it in real-time. In order to do that, they have to employ new technologies like data lakes and in-memory platforms.

These novelty tools give rise to the transformation of the whole IT infrastructure. Here, we could be moving in the direction of hybrid big-data systems.

7. Security as a Growing Concern

Cybersecurity is one of the hottest IT topics of today.

Indeed, business organisations cannot stand idle as data breaches and identity thefts proliferate. And the situations may even go from bad to worse.

To keep the ever more sophisticated threats at bay, you need to reinforce your IT architecture. Yes, corporate giants can invest a small fortune, but there are many affordable layers you can add too.

The crucial thing is to take a wide, holistic view. Your policies and measures must encompass the entire value chain, as well as all data recipients and suppliers.

Note that some experts argue Security-as-a-Service will be the next big thing in this department. We can see the logic behind it. This model tends to improve risk management and thwarts cyberattacks via cloud-powered security checks.

8. Assess SaaS and PaaS Opportunities

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model is a reliable roadmap to success in a dynamic tech ecosystem.

It initiates a series of innovation cycles and makes implementations much simpler. Moreover, it has other advantages, such as transparent billing and provisioning. You can hardly go wrong with SaaS these days.

That being said, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions are gaining traction as well.

They are replacing internal systems that used to be the mainstay of IT architecture. This is because they refine the app development process in multiple ways. Most notably, they demolish the barriers that undermine the implementation of Agile methodologies.

9. Leverage Automation

Automation is the present and future of IT frameworks.

It helps us boost operational efficiencies, eliminate the manual strain, and trim costs. For instance, you can make your life much easier by automating system maintenance.

Machines can do the heavy lifting, rolling in updates and patches and running scans. In the near future, they could also start configuring computers automatically. This innovation is fast approaching and it’s called Infrastructure-as-a-Code.

It will bring about a change of perspective, as we begin to treat infrastructure as cloud-based software. What a time to be alive and run a business.

Ahead of the Curve

Like it or not, the future is already upon us.

However you spin things, it seems to introduce a mix of opportunities and challenges. Pioneers and forward-thinking market leaders waste no time resting on the laurels. If you want to join the race, reconfigure existing resources and deploy new IT architecture systems.

Make sure they are in line with industry standards and your overarching business goals.

Get smart about data and consider applying new models and policies. Standardise, centralise, and integrate everything for good measure. That’s the way to maximise your enterprise IT capability while keeping the costs and risks at bay.

Check out our courses to gain deeper insights into what it takes to thrive in a highly competitive digital world. It’s time to complete your IT projects with flying colours!

How to Land an Enterprise Architect Job

How to Land an Enterprise Architect Job

How to Land an Enterprise Architect Job

Are you in the process of applying for a career in Enterprise Architecture? Here's how to beat the competition and get the Enterprise Architect job!

Keyword(s): enterprise architect job

Learning enterprise architecture allows you to develop long-term IT strategies for organisations. The main purpose of an enterprise architect job is to support the business strategy. EAs provide directions for technology and applications towards technology infrastructure.

An enterprise architect job requires them to define every part of the technological flow. EAs are responsible for IT and IT-enabled processes running smoothly from start to finish. Which makes this a significant role for any organisation to have.

There are different routes to becoming an enterprise architect. It is necessary to have a wide range of technological fields. It allows anyone to start from anywhere within the industry.

It's also key to learn about the varying areas over the course of your career. The enterprise architect career path pays well but demands dedication and flexibility. To learn more about how to become an enterprise architect, continue reading.

The Good Thing About Being an Enterprise Architect

You should expect long hours and responsibilities with an enterprise architect job.

EAs are able to oversee and help decide the paths that companies take. They ensure that their technology infrastructure remains current. Progressive companies help you work alongside leading-edge technology and try new things.

The enterprise architect education requires a high-level perspective and operates at a high-level.

Only 5% of industries offer the enterprise architect position. Yet, the role could be defined under a different name. Essentially, the role handles the overall management of the IT department.

The average base salary for EAs is up to £72 551 a year with a chance for other bonuses and profit sharing. Companies with EAs hire them as full-time employees, securing your position once you reach that level. The full salary ranges from £50 000 to £101 000, with the higher-end salaries often achieved toward the end of your career.

What Being An Enterprise Architect is Like

Learning enterprise architecture involves a lot of technical knowledge. Yet, there are many other skills that make for a successful EA. Some require more natural-born skills while others can be honed until mastered!

The most successful EAs are inspirational and motivational. You need to be capable of inspiring the teams you work with. Remember that the right amount of motivation will help everyone get the job done.

Communication is key and the success of every project depends on it. You must know how to effectively communicate the plan you have for the team and the future success of the company. Ensure that every team member and other teams know what is happening and when.

Be open to negotiation and finding alternatives before making any big decisions. None of your ideas should be final since other departments may have contradicting ideas. You may also have limited resources, so negotiating will be necessary.

With an enterprise architect career path, you'll have plenty of opportunities to problem solve. But you'll also need to understand both the business and the technology sides. You'll need to know what different technologies are within reach to make your job more efficient and agile.

What Responsibilities to Expect with an Enterprise Architect Job

Enterprise architects work on transformational programmes across different portfolios. They manage many different meetings and projects at a time. It requires having the ability to not only multitask but to balance the needs and wants of the company.

EAs are responsible for companies' architecture strategies. No aspect of IT architecture goes unturned. You'd be responsible for determining the strategy's current state, transition and designated path.

It's beneficial to moderate architecture review boards as well. People regularly meet on them to discuss the current architecture and ways to improve them. You'd have the responsibility of approving or denying those changes.

You can also expect to manage the portfolios of companies' health and status of their IT infrastructure. Be apart of any governance committees, as they make the decisions on standards, policies, and protocols. And define any technology life cycles by determining how certain changes will be implemented.

Routes to Landing an Enterprise Architect Job

Enterprise architects have many different routes to reach this position. Most system admins, programmers, network managers, product owners, and DBAs can be filtered into the role. You don't need to know how to become an enterprise architect to still end up as one year down the road.

The best way to begin the work to becoming an EA thru volunteer work. Participate in meetings, volunteer to be apart of committees and team leaders, and continue learning about all aspects of technology. Improve your knowledge of IT and understand the business domain companies operate in.

For example, if you are a DBA, you can learn more about cloud and programing. You'll earn a greater overview of these departments of the business work. This is all very important for a successful enterprise architect career path.

Also, consider a certification in a world-renowned framework for enterprise architecture. Doing so can cut down the time it takes to reach an EA level, significantly. It will also add tremendous value to your career.

Bottom Line

The missing role of every company is the enterprise architect job.

Industries need EAs to survive and succeed in this digital era. It requires a technical and detailed eye, good judgment, and plenty of flexibility. But you have the tools — use this article as a guide towards becoming that mandatory function for enterprises around the world!

Are you considering a career in enterprise architecture? Contact us today to enroll in your first enterprise architect course!

7 Benefits of ArchiMate Modeling for Businesses

7 Benefits of Archimate Modeling for Businesses

7 Benefits of ArchiMate Modeling for Businesses

Discover how Archimate modeling helps analyze the structure of your business and why it's important to master this framework.

Keyword(s): archimate modeling

ArchiMate is a modeling language designed to make the inner-workings of corporations efficient. Developed by The Open Group, this language uses clear terminology to visually map out connections within a business. Enterprise architecture is a common word for these connections.

ArchiMate makes it possible to see which departments and operations are related to others. This standard language describes how the business is structured, its processes, how information flows, its technical infrastructure, and the IT systems.

Continue reading to learn what the benefits of ArchiMate modeling are for businesses.

1. It's a Vendor-Independent Tool

While ArchiMate is supported by multiple vendors and consulting firms, it's a totally vendor-independent tool. Any business that decides to implement this language as a practice of enterprise architecture isn't limited to a single vendor's frameworks and tools.

The Open Group also has a forum for ArchiMate if you have questions and need support.

You're not stuck with that one model once you have an ArchiMate certification. Businesses can apply technological developments and architectural advancements to their existing model. This freedom allows them to stay up-to-date and still use the same standard language.

In addition to being able to add to the model, The Open Group updates ArchiMate to meet present industry standards. They also perform maintenance fixes.

2. The Language is Unambiguous

One of the largest benefits of using ArchiMate for your business is the language is universal. It strives to be as clear and simple as possible. Anyone within or connected to a business will be able to understand an ArchiMate model.

The terminology even borrows from other EA models, creating a bridge between them. If someone understands another model they'll have no difficulty understanding ArchiMate.

This consistency helps create cohesion between departments and processes in an organization. Communication is made simple and efficient with this standard language.

There aren't too many concepts to learn, but just the concepts that are most important. Anyone who's shown an ArchiMate model won't feel overwhelmed with information.

3. It Gives Stakeholders Guidance

ArchiMate shows which operations within a corporation are linked together. Stakeholders can receive guidance from a model like this.

They can use the visual map to work out the effects of different decisions. This will help them make the decision that is best for them and the business. The universal, consistent terminology makes it possible for stakeholders to communicate these conclusions.

They can track and share what changes a decision has made or will make. The business will know what impact it has on them directly and how it affects customers.

4. It Shows Stakeholders Progress

You can have more than one representation of your enterprise. To show only the required information that's related to a specific stakeholder, it's strongly recommended that you design multiple ArchiMate models. Each one should be tailored to a different stakeholder and there should be one that shows your entire business.

This makes communication even more efficient with stakeholders. They're only shown the parts of your business that concern them. They don't need to sift through all of the irrelevant information.

They can quickly tell you what their concerns are in their portion of the enterprise using the ArchiMate model. You can respond by showing them how you will and are addressing their concerns.

Both you and the stakeholder can track the progress you've made. You'll be able to show them the requirements that have been met and their impact on the workings of the business.

5. It Makes Refining Connections Easy

An ArchiMate standard defines and lays out the relationships between departments, decision-makers, and processes. The entire business operation can easily be tweaked by being able to see every link.

You can follow the route information takes from a certain place in the business and see if there's any room for miscommunication or delay. Spotting this and similar things will help you refine how your business runs.

A clear, easy-to-read map is a great way to find weak points in the operation and create a more efficient system.

6. It Can be Combined with Other EA Models

Because corporations aren't locked into one framework by a single vendor, they can mix and match models and languages. ArchiMate doesn't set a specific way a business operates. Enterprise Architectures can be combined with ArchiMate.

The Unified Modeling Language or UML is another standardized modeling language.

A business with a TOGAF framework may choose to switch from basic text to a more universal language. One business can use UML while another uses ArchiMate. A corporation can even have a TOGAF framework with both UML and ArchiMate.

7. It's a Precise Representation

ArchiMate concepts are not only simple, but they're precise. The modeling language helps you build a representation of your business operation with precision. This clear, accurate perspective of the inner-workings of your corporation aids in decision-making.

When you or a stakeholder makes a decision, they'll know exactly what the consequences will be for the business and possibly customers. The business can spot issues in its enterprise architecture and know that the problem is accurate.

Choose the ArchiMate Modeling Language

Using the ArchiMate modeling language to map out your organization's operations comes with many benefits.

ArchiMate is a standardized language. Its concepts are consistent no matter which business implements the language. The language itself is simple and easily understood to help create smooth communication.

Every decision that's made using ArchiMate is done accurately. For a business that's cohesive and runs efficiently, choose ArchiMate.

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Enterprise Architecture Certifications: Understanding Your Options

Enterprise architect certifications are a great way to show off your skill set and can help you land a fantastic job in the IT world.
However, a quick Google search shows that there are multiple ypes of enterprise architect certifications. How can you determine which is the best fit for you and your team?
It's a complicated issue, no doubt. Which is exactly why we've made this helpful video to clearly and succinctly break down four of the most common types of EA certifications so you can make the right choice.
Be sure to give it a watch to find out which certification type you should pursue.
And if you're interested in learning more about enterprise architect certifications or want to grow your IT knowledgebase, make sure you click on the link below for additional info: https://architecture-cente r.com/blog/106-understanding-the-different-enterprise-architect-certifications.html

ArchiMate metamodel – tips to understand it better – Part 1

If you already tried to use ArchiMate you have most probably already said to yourself – there is so many possible relationships and elements – how should we use them? Which relationships are allowed? How we should structure our models? Well – if you keep asking these questions – be informed that you are not alone. Those are some of the typical questions I’m getting whenever I’m delivering ArchiMate training. Today’s article is about metamodels – the visual instruction how to use ArchiMate.

What is metamodel and why it is so important?

So, let’s start with basics – what is metamodel? According to presentation [1], given by Gonzalo Génova, the Open Management Group defines metamodel as abstract syntax, that helps us interconnect models, that explains possible ways to do it. In ArchiMate we use metamodels to understand what elements we have, how they are connected to each other, what are the main patterns for designing the architecture and how we connect layers together.

Metamodels in ArchiMate – Top level language structure

In ArchiMate we have many metamodels. We have a top-level language structure metamodel (see below) which helps us understand language basics. This metamodel provides us with information on basic language structure. We could read out of it that every model consists of concept, while concept could be either an element or relationship (or relationship connector). In simple words: in order to create a model, you need some elements connected by relationships. Both elements and relationships could be split into categories.

Top level structure

Source: https://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/archimate3-doc/chap03.html [2]

Metamodels in ArchiMate: Generic metamodel

The generic metamodel is considered the main one – it shows us how structure and behavior elements are connected and what are the basic rules. Generic metamodel is a base metamodel for other layers – rules applicable to it are cascaded down into all the layers: Strategy, Business, Appication, Technology, Physical and Implementation & Migration.

Generic Metamodel

Source: https://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/archimate3-doc/chap04.html [3]

On that metamodel we could observe main relationships that are used between given elements – that means not all of them are shown. If you are interested in full matrix of relationships (which relationships are allowed between any pair of element) please refer to Relationship Tables [4]

In this article I’d like to share with you one tip on how to read the metamodel.

Three columns Metamodels are always structured the same, regardless of layers. We could divide the whole metamodel into three parts - three columns. Those are, starting from the left: Passive Structure Elements, Behaviors and Active Structure Elements. You could see them marked on technology layer metamodel below:

Technology Metamodel

Source: https://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/archimate3-doc/chap10.html [5]

We have Artifact as the passive structure element, Technology Service, Process, Function, Interaction and Event as behaviors and multiple active structure elements such as Node and its specializations: System Software and Device

Tip: If you have hard time to remember all relationships you could use following rules: You always assign Active Structure Element capable of performing behavior to a Behavior: You need Behaviors to access passive structure objects:

Let’s consider following technology and application layer examples of those rules:

Tech Example

In this example we have basic database handling scenario. We could easily divide that into three columns:

  • On the right-hand side, we have three active structure elements: Database Management System System Software with its Code Interface that serves our CApp Application Component
  • In the middle we have Behaviors: Update Data application process that is responsible for changing the content of Customer Data, DBHandler responsible for changing the content of Customer Database and DBService which serves Update Data.
  • On the left-hand side we have Passive Structure Elements: Customer Data on application layer and it’s physical realization in form of Customer Database on Technology layer.

As you see, the Active Structure Elements are always assigned to Behaviors, and Behaviors are always accessing Passive Structure Elements.

Takeaways

To sum up, let’s look on main takeaways from this article:

  • Metamodels are a visual help to understand ArchiMate and to establish a reference to a modelling structure.
  • There are multiple metamodels in ArchiMate, including top-level language structure and generic metamodel.
  • Top-level language structure shows us how ArchiMate is designed, what is the model, concept and what kind of elements and relationships categories we have.
  • Generic metamodel tells us what the language structure is, what are the most common relationships between elements and gives us a hint on how to organize models.
  • We could divide our models into three columns: Active Structure Elements, Behaviors and Passive Structure Elements.
  • Active Structure Elements are assigned to Behaviors, while Behaviors accesses Passive Structure Objects.

Want to learn more? Check next part: “ArchiMate metamodel – tips to understand it better – Part 2” [6]

[1] http://www.ie.inf.uc3m.es/ggenova/Warsaw/Part3.pdf
[2] https://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/archimate3-doc/chap03.html
[3] https://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/archimate3-doc/chap04.html
[4] https://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/archimate3-doc/apdxb.html
[5] https://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/archimate3-doc/chap10.html
[6]  “ArchiMate metamodel – tips to understand it better – Part 2”


Piotr Szpilkowski - trainer at Architecture Center LtdAuthor: Piotr Szpilkowski - Change Leader / Agile Coach, Trainer at Architecture Center Ltd

https://www.linkedin.com/in/szpilkowski/

Quality-oriented leader equipped with both technical and soft skills. Eager to create teams, organize things and make them happen. Experienced in managing various IT projects scattered all around the world. ArchiMate and SAFe trainer.

Architecture Center

Architecture Center Ltd tillhandahåller konsult- och utbildningstjänster inom följande områden: företagsarkitektur, affärsprocessledning och integration av IT-system.