Ship Ahoy!

I’ve only recently discovered Bill Barr’s blog (and added it to my blogroll) and found some really interesting views that I felt compelled to post about.

Firstly at Ivory Tower or Crow’s nest? Bill argues for the need for IT architects to take a high level view without retreating into an ivory tower.  I am pretty convinced that the role of an IT architect is to see the bigger (business) picture and always be looking ahead to prepare the matching and necessary infrastructure.

I am equally convinced that “if we could only convince businesses of the value of having a lookout place high enough to see beyond the next quarter ….” then the job of the IT architect would be much simpler.

However, when the business user looks out from his crow’s nest he sees a sea full of competitors (some of whom are under water).  When a pirate ship appears on the horizon, or a submarine emerges from the water, he can merely shout “Ship Ahoy!” and the rest of the crew must take up battle stations.  If our ship’s (or our IT) infrastructure is agile enough a position can be taken to fight off the competitor pirate.  If we are anchored down then the pirate ship (which will be smaller than ours) will probably out-manoeuvre us.

I have sailed this analogy to stupidity island.  My point is that the IT infrastructure of an enterprise must provide agility and the ability to react to new situations and new competitive threats which by definition we know nothing about currently.  This is the real challenge for enterprise IT architects.

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