The Right IT Architecture Can Solve Your Biggest Problems
Modern organizations are dependent upon their IT Architecture. Digital business models, digital transformation, digitization, and simply competing require a flexible and resilient IT Architecture.
IT Architecture is a part of your Enterprise Architecture. Each enterprise architecture domain is useful alone. However, it is an incomplete picture. When developed independently an architecture domain must assume all other domains are static.
When it comes to the success of your IT projects and initiatives, the right IT architecture can make all the difference and help you stay ahead of the curve. IT Architecture is all about the underpinning IT Infrastructure, it is hard to change and requires careful forethought so it is not a barrier.
If you’re not familiar with IT architecture, it’s the process of planning, designing, and managing the overall structure of your IT system. This includes everything from storing and accessing your data to how your software is designed and built.
A well-designed IT architecture will:
- Ensure that unexpected requests and use can be met without change to the IT Architecture
- Ensure that your IT system is scalable and can accommodate future growth
- Make sure that your system is secure and can withstand attacks
- Make it easier to manage your system and reduce operational costs
- Improve performance and make your system more efficient
The benefits of a well-designed IT architecture are clear, but what’s often less clear is how actually to go about designing one.
There are a few different approaches that you can take, and the right approach for you will depend on your organization's specific needs. But no matter what approach you take, there are a few key principles that you should always keep in mind.
Principles of IT Architecture That You Should Follow
What do we mean by principles? Well, in IT architecture, principles are high-level guidelines that can be used to make decisions about the architecture of a system. Principles are the foundational strategy that an architect employs to direct the overall design of a solution. IT Architecture principles are specific to the IT Architecture domain, they must align to your enterprise architecture principles.
Many different principles can be employed in IT architecture, but some are more commonly used than others. These are the principles that you should follow when designing your IT architecture.
One of the most important principles of IT architecture is simplicity. A complex system is more difficult to manage and understand and is more likely to break down. So, when you’re designing your architecture, always ask yourself if there’s a simpler way to do things.
With changes in consumer demand, technology development, and other factors, simplicity is not always possible. But it should always be your goal. It will be easier to manage when your architecture is simpler and less likely to fail. Plus, simplicity often means that scalability is built in from the start, making it easier to grow your system as your needs change.
Another important principle of IT architecture is flexibility. A flexible system is one that can be easily changed or adapted to meet new needs. This is important because your architecture will need to change with it as your business grows and changes.
If your architecture is inflexible, it will be difficult and expensive to make changes, and this can lead to problems down the road, as your system becomes outdated and unable to keep up with your needs.
Modularity is another important principle to consider when designing your IT architecture. A modular system comprises small, independent modules that can be combined to create a more extensive system.
Modularity has several benefits. First, it makes your system easier to understand and maintain, because each module is self-contained. Second, it makes your system more flexible, because you can easily add or remove modules as needed. Finally, modularity makes your system more scalable, because you can add more modules as your needs grow.
Redundancy is a principle that is often employed in IT architecture to ensure that there are multiple copies of data and components so that if one fails, there is a backup that can be used. Redundancy goes far beyond simple technical approaches such as RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) or by using multiple servers in a load-balanced configuration.
True redundancy allows the applications and data to continue to operate independently from availability, changes, and maintenance of the IT Architecture.
Scalability is a principle that is employed to ensure that a system can handle an increasing amount of load without performance degradation. A system that is scalable can be easily expanded to accommodate more users or more data.
Your Foundational Principals Make a Difference When It Comes To Resilience in IT
Let’s face it, resilience is a word that gets thrown around a lot, and it’s easy for it to lose meaning in the process. So let’s define it. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations and prepare for what lies ahead!
In the IT world, resilience is critical. We are in a golden age of technological development, but with that comes the ever-present risk of having to constantly update, patch, and change things to ensure that we can continue to compete and be successful.
So how do you know if your IT architecture is flexible enough to be resilient and future-ready?
IT Architecture and Enterprise Agility
The state of enterprise architecture demonstrates that new methods, processes, and tools can be developed to help organizations be more agile and responsive. Enterprise agility is the ability of your organization to respond to threats or opportunities. One way the state of enterprise architecture is improving is by helping organizations to more effectively use their resources, including people, information, and technology.
New methods and processes can help organizations adapt to change and be more flexible in responding to market needs and opportunities. In addition, new tools can help organizations more effectively manage and monitor their enterprise architecture to be more easily changed and updated as needed.
Today's business environment demands that agility be built into an organization's core, not just bolted on as an afterthought. To be truly agile, an organization's enterprise architecture must be responsive to change and able to adapt quickly to new market conditions. The state of enterprise architecture is improving in this regard, with new methods and tools that can help organizations more effectively use their resources and be more responsive to change.
If you want your IT architecture to be a competitive advantage, it needs to be built on a foundation of agility. This means that your organization must be able to rapidly adapt to changes in the marketplace and respond quickly to new opportunities. The state of enterprise architecture is improving in this regard, with new methods and tools that can help organizations more effectively use their resources and be more responsive to change.
The bottom line is that the state of enterprise architecture is improving, with new methods and tools that can help organizations be more agile and responsive. In order to be truly agile, however, organizations must also be willing to embrace change and adapt their enterprise architecture as needed.
How Can I Make Sure My IT Architecture Is Agile?
Enterprise agility starts with an understanding that the world is changing and that your organization must change with it.
But for many companies, that simply sounds like all talk and no plan of action. Fortunately, there are concrete ways for you to make your IT architecture more agile, so your business can be better equipped to adapt to change and seize opportunities.
1. Your IT Architecture Needs To Have the Attributes of a Public Cloud
When it comes to agility, the public cloud has set the standard. Companies that have made the switch to public cloud services report significant gains in agility, flexibility, and speed. But what is a public cloud? In short, it’s a shared pool of resources that can be accessed on-demand over the internet.
Three key attributes make the public cloud agile:
Elasticity: The public cloud is highly scalable, so you can quickly add or remove resources as needed.
Pay-for-what-you use: With public cloud services, you only pay for the resources you use. Far too many IT environments have opaque costs. End-to-end efficiency is impossible when the true costs of one-of systems, inflexible systems, and technical debt are invisible.
Self-service: Public cloud services are typically self-service, so users can provide resources independently without having to go through a lengthy approval process.
2. Adopt a Service Architecture or Digital Product Architecture
Services architecture is a way of building IT systems and software applications as a collection of independent services. This approach has a number of benefits, including improved agility, easier debugging and troubleshooting, and better support for continuous delivery.
A Digital Product Architecture approach enables you to make changes to your applications, and IT systems, without having to redeploy the entire system. This can be a major advantage when you need to make a quick change in response to a new market opportunity or customer need.
3. Your IT Architecture Needs To Have the Attributes of a PaaS
PaaS (Platform as a Service) is a cloud computing model that delivers a platform for developing, testing, and deploying applications. PaaS platforms typically include everything needed to build an application, from the operating system to the servers to the storage.
PaaS is often compared to IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), which is a cloud computing model that delivers raw infrastructure resources, such as servers and storage. With IaaS, you’re responsible for setting up and managing the underlying infrastructure, while with PaaS, the provider takes care of that for you.
PaaS is a more agile solution than IaaS because it provides a complete platform that’s ready to use, so you can focus on developing your application rather than setting up and managing infrastructure.
The Right IT Architecture Can Solve Your Biggest Problems
A well-designed IT architecture will solve your biggest problems:
- Ensure enterprise agility is possible
- Ensure future growth is possible
- Make sure you can withstand inevitable attacks
- Mange your systems and operational costs
- Improve enterprise efficiency
Test for IT Architecture Against Principles Of IT Architecture
Complexity is inevitable. Your job is to eliminate all complexity so your IT Architecture is as simple as possible.
Duplication and tight-integration are the enemy.
Change is inevitable. Your job is to create flexibility.
Optimization for single-use cases or current needs are the enemy.
Change is inevitable. Your job is to use modularity to create simplicity and flexibility.
Systems are only modular when part of the system can be replaced, or changed. You have known interfaces.
Component failure is inevitable. Your job is to ensure inevitable component failure is invisible.
Success creates growth. Your job is to eliminate barriers to seamless growth.
How to Develop the Right IT Architecture
Ready to start your journey on becoming a strong IT architect? Conexiam has put together some of the most comprehensive integrations, that provide enormous benefit for enterprises and those interested in becoming better architects.
We use the TOGAF Standard as essential scaffolding. It is a comprehensive enterprise architecture framework. We can be confident about the basics of Simplicity, Flexibility, Modularity, Redundancy, and Scalability. The exact design of your IT Architecture is dependent upon your Business Architecture, Application Architecture, Data Architecture, and Security Architecture.
We’ve also got a comprehensive standard Integrating Risk and Security with TOGAF guide that provides a wealth of information on risk management, as well as SABSA best practices.
At Conexiam, we’re a boutique shop with experience in multiple industry verticals across the US, Canada, Africa and the Middle East. Conexiam has established a sound practice of developing architecture predictably.
Understanding the purpose of the architecture engagement, and what information they require, allows Conexiam to tailor the architecture deliverables. Conexiam has developed a Predictable Architecture approach using fixed periods of time with known deliverables and work product.
The Bottom Line
Your IT architecture will shape your business's entire future. Without proper resilience, agility, and flexibility, your organization will be at a disadvantage when the world around it changes. By making sure your IT architecture is agile, you can ensure that your business can keep up with the latest trends and seize new opportunities.
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