Creating the ArchitectureBy Faisal Hoque | Posted 2008-05-28 Email Print
It takes a new way of thinking about IT and a separation of business from buzzwords to determine the real value of utility computing in your enterprise.
Creating the Architecture
Moving to the cloud and using it wisely requires the creation of enterprise architectures—both current and future desired states. This is known as strategic enterprise architecture (SEA), which includes both a business purpose and the enabling technology. Thus, the technology architecture is mapped to the business architecture.
At the highest level, the SEA is expressed in nontechnical language that anyone in the organization can understand. An SEA lays out all the business processes end to end, incorporating external partners and customers. Most organizations have various documents describing what they do, from thick notebooks of long-range plans to various mission statements. An SEA makes sense of those islands of information and should clearly showcase any contradictions in purpose or redundancies in execution.
At its most granular level, the SEA specifies the various information technologies in use. In leading organizations, these are now expressed as a service-oriented architecture, whereby software is maintained as modules that can be combined to create applications as needed—sometimes by business users. An SOA can reside either within the organization or in the cloud. An SOA is not a necessity to work in the cloud, but it adds tremendous flexibility as the organization senses and responds to changes in its environment.
Another essential management capability is organization and change management. An SEA should indicate whether existing organizational structures help or hinder the overall strategy. This includes entire divisions, as well as working groups and reporting relationships. It should lead to questions such as: Do we have the right people in the right places? Do they have the training they need? Are their incentives encouraging them to do what we need them to do?