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Friday, July 30, 2004

IT Architect: Metaphor or Oxymoron by Jeff Tash

Traditional architects in industries like construction have more authority compared to an IT architect. Business tend to look at IT architect as a support service provider and this limits the ability of IT architects to provide best value to Business says Jeff Tash in this article.Traditional architects play a “central” role in construction projects. They’re in charge of creating multiple different layers of blueprints. The individual subcontractors doing the actual construction work only need to see their portion of the big picture. Each one is only interested in their individual set of blueprints. But, in the end, it’s the architect’s responsibility to make certain that everything “works” -- that the final structure does not collapse under its own weight.Now, by contrast, turn your attention to IT. These architects are “self-driven.” In other words, IT is driving the architecture process -- not the client. Furthermore, unlike traditional architects, IT architects have almost no authority. They must operate chiefly from a bully pulpit -- hoping to rally support for their ideas and methods. IT is burdened with an unreasonable responsibility. Business management perceives IT as purely a support function. And unlike with construction projects, IT architects rarely get to respond back with regard to what can or cannot be accomplished.Nothing is going to improve until this gap between IT and business people is bridged. Before IT architecture can begin to emulate traditional architecture, a solution must be found so that business people can understand what their choices are and what the costs are going to be. Only then will IT architects possess real authority like their brethren in the construction industry.

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