What’s an Architect Anyway?

There has been a lot of chatter lately on the various forums discussing the merits of an architect.  Specifically, the question being raised have architects out lived their usefulness?

I for one see the use of the term “Architect” overused.  Hence that’s why there is an emerging movement for an adoption of industry standards and certification.

There are specialists within the domain of Information Technology.  I would assert that people who specialize in enterprise class data modeling and infrastructure should be considered architects.

Vendors, however, who want to impress their prospective clients with the notion that members of their pre-sales team are solution architects, I mean really.   When I was dealing with Vendors (just a few short years ago), the industry referred to the Solution Architects as pre-sales engineers.  Are these individuals really Architects?

The problem with either title is that these individuals have in depth knowledge concerning a specific product.  Further, many lack real world implementation experience.

Another area of concern is the notion that Architects aren’t required as Common Off-The Shelf (COTS) solution become more mainstream.  The argument (made by the vendors) asserts that the COTS solutions are built on a robust, unified architecture.  From my industry experience, I have found that statement or partially true.  I would argue that the integration barriers with such implementations requires an internal organization specialist.

The true value of an Architect is the notion of a Strategist.

Any architecture that doesn’t align to the business plan, delivers innovation, and competitive advantage to an organization isn’t worth silicon it is developed on.  Information Technology enables, not disables an enterprise.  Only a Strategist is able to consider all the business drivers, technology trends, and organizational constraints and can develop an implementation blueprint.

That’s what we do at Bare Cove Technologies.

What’s your opinion?

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