Architects innovate!

By Joost van Lier

Organizations are facing more and more new and sometimes disruptive technologies. The architect plays a crucial role in reaping the benefits of these. This requires of him a mindset in which connecting is central

The past decades have seen enormous changes in IT departments of organizations. In the early 1990s with the introduction of computers. Followed by the introduction of the World Wide Web in the late 1990s. The last decade saw the emergence of concepts such as time, place and device independent working under the guise of the new way of working. In the coming years, IT departments face even more and bigger challenges. Concepts such as Big Data and Predictive Analysis, the Industrial Internet of Things and artificial intelligence must be implemented within existing or new infrastructure.

Innovative architecture 
Enterprise architecture adjustments

The importance of trying out

The opportunities presented by the aforementioned technologies are vast. In some cases, however, it is not immediately apparent how your organization can benefit most from these technologies. Therefore, it is important to try these innovations and not hold them back. In this way, upper management has a chance to see what new business models this technology supports. Also, the business is in a position to examine what changes are needed when the innovation is implemented. And for the IT department, trying out the innovation is necessary to see what changes the innovation brings to the IT landscape.

The desired role of the architect

The architect plays an important role in this as he is the bridge between the business and the IT department. As these developments in IT accelerate, he will have to develop more and more into a trend watcher. Only in this way can he help identify new technologies and make them understandable to the organization. To do this, the architect will have to work with all internal and external stakeholders and bring them along with the expected possibilities of the new technology. This will also give the architect insight into what adjustments are needed in the enterprise architecture to start using the innovation.

Practice is more recalcitrant

In contrast to the above, architects in many organizations see themselves as gatekeepers. They often want to check first whether the technology can or may be used. Architects also have a tendency to first describe the entire architecture of the innovative technology in extensive documents. As a result, the innovation is not tried out or only very late. As a result, the organization may not be as agile as it wants to be, and may lose competitiveness.

So what should the architect do?

In short, in an ever more rapidly innovating world, a different mindset is required of the architect. In this, the architect positions himself as a connector who wants above all to try out the opportunities that new technology offers the organization. By working with small and rapid pilots, a rapid introduction of the new technology to the business is realized. This also ensures that the consequences for the architecture are quickly clear, which he will have to record in concise and accessible documents. The architect thus remains involved in the innovations that are actually converted to "going concern" and has the fantastic role of initiating them as well.

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