Simplifying the Enterprise

Nick has another great post on Inside Architecture using the metaphor of aircraft maintenance to internal IT projects that have has their goal to make IT more efficient. I think this is a great metaphor and something that I really see lacking in large IT shops, at least the ones that I have direct or indirect experience with.

One of the big things missing is the notion of an enterprise framework and/or set of common platform level services (like security, logging, eventing, an enterprise message bus, etc.). The business is not going to typically fund projects like this because there is no direct ROI that can be produced, while there are 10 revenue generating projects sitting in the queue to be funded.

Furthermore, it really takes an enterprise architecture group to recognize and define what is needed to remove redundant components and data. And even then there are internal challenges to face amongst these teams to get the infrastructure architected, designed, and implemented.

I recently spoke with a global accounting firm who had literally hundreds of internal applications without any framework or platform code used across the different applications or the different lines of business. The good news was that that was something that was clearly in the works to be done.

I think the challenge here is one of how good of a salesman can you be as that enterprise architect with a vision. Sometimes it's time to put down the whitepapers and technical books and pick up a book or two on influencing people and leadership. I think it is these soft skills that will make a good architect great.