muSOAing for 3/3/11 – The Vertically Integrated Architect?

I am posed with this question frequently, do you consider yourself an Architect or an Enterprise Architect? Or what qualities are expected of a person in this role. I always assume that the questioners are either trying to measure you against their own pre-established yardsticks or they are sincerely seeking an answer to clear out their own confusions.

There are of course the stock answers to such questions. An Architect must see the broader picture, the 1000 ft view. Should be solutions oriented, view the landscape holistically etc. But of late, I have begun to pose this question to myself. Looking at the current landscape where everything is a constant moving target, the grass can tend to grow under your feet even if you rest for that brief moment. So after some intense evaluations, I have come up with this axiom. An effective SOA or Enterprise Architect is one who is the most Vertically Integrated.

Now what does that mean. To answer this, let me take an example. Let us say, of the myriad questions that can be posed to you in a meeting with “C” level execs and fellow Architects, this one is thrown at you. We have been accumulating a mountain of data and are having problems storing and analyzing it. The current architecture just does not cut it and we need something radically different.

Of course, an answer cannot be arrived at in that room, you can only come up with some rough suggestions but let us say you move on to the next steps such as Discovery, findings, roadmap etc. Now it is time for the rubber to meet the road and you have settled on BigData oriented solution. So you plod on with the other steps, POC, Demo and finally implementation. So far you have played the role of Architect to a “T” but the question is, how did you go about doing it. Apart from the role you played, what did you exactly do besides interacting and having face time with all the stakeholders.

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