Technical architecture: What IT does for a living


Technical architecture is the sum and substance of what IT deploys to support the enterprise. As such, its management is a key IT practice. We talked about how to go about it in a previous article in this series.

Which leads to the question, What constitutes good technical architecture? Or more foundationally, What constitutes technical architecture, whether good, bad, or indifferent?

In case you’re a purist, we’re talking about technical architecture, not enterprise architecture. The latter includes the business architecture as well as the technical architecture. Not that it’s possible to evaluate the technical architecture without understanding how well it supports the business architecture. It’s just that managing the health of the business architecture is Someone Else’s Problem.

Why technical architecture matters

IT always has a technical architecture. In some organizations it’s deliberate, the result of processes and practices that matter most to CIOs.

But far too often, technical architecture is accidental — a pile of stuff that’s accumulated over time without any overall plan.

Figure 1: The economics of technical architecture IT Catalysts

Figure 1

As Figure 1 shows, during initial IT implementations, managed architecture costs more than just ignoring the subject and hoping for the best, but pays for itself over time as the advantages of a well-managed architecture — reduced maintenance and support costs, easier and less-fragile integration, and overall improved flexibility in addressing new business challenges — dwarf the initial investment.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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