What is IT architecture?
Striving to order and simplify is human nature. It is the same in the complex and dynamic IT world. A well-thought-out and ordered architecture allows you to maintain control over the enormous number of elements. But what do we mean by “IT Architecture”?
The concept of architecture covers several areas:
- IT architecture – this is the broadest term that applies to IT infrastructure, meaning all devices, software, applications, solutions and processes in the company.
- Architecture of systems and applications – defines the way in which software functions in the ecosystem and how it communicates with its other elements. In order to achieve optimal results, the architecture should be created based on an analysis of processes in the organization.
- Data architecture – defines models of collecting, processing, organizing and storing data, as well as the method of managing and integrating this data (ETL processes – Extract, Transform, Load, and ESB – Enterprise Service Buses)
- Test architecture – includes a comprehensive description of the developed software test architecture and the dependencies of modules in the ecosystem, specifying the steps and techniques of testing.
- Cybersecurity architecture – defines standards and best practices for network and system security. It consists of the analysis of network protocols, physical device configuration, anti-virus software, encryption techniques, etc. In order to ensure proper functioning in this area, companies employ people in positions such as IT Security Architect, Security Engineer and Security Software Developers.
What is systems and application architecture?
In the era of Digital Transformation, companies are increasingly often deciding to implement new solutions. As we know, every project should start with a requirements analysis, which is the absolute basis of any product implementation or launch. Only then it is possible to suggest the optimal architecture.
Since good architecture is the foundation that allows you to build on the potential of an organization, it is worth spending time on a thorough analysis of the requirements. It all starts with the key question: “What is my goal?”. Having a defined goal, we consider how and within what timeframe we want to achieve it, therefore we must ask ourselves:
- How do I want to develop my systems and applications?
- Do I plan to implement new solutions, and if so, when?
- What are my business needs now and what will they be in 5 or 10 years’ time?
- What tasks should the architecture fulfil (e.g. the integration of existing solutions with other applications, the possibility of development, adding new components)
- Do I plan to transfer services to the increasingly popular cloud?
Good systems and applications architecture is one that fulfils the task which it is designed for. If you have difficulty defining your goal and in turn it prevents you from starting new projects, consult experienced IT architects. Such specialists provide consulting support, carry out individual analysis and build systems using only proven solutions and technologies.
System architecture – the most common problems
- The application architecture does not meet the business requirements – the market is dynamic, and the architecture of the implemented systems and applications should enable continuous development, be flexible, and allow for the use of the most recent technologies. Regardless of whether the company is undergoing a comprehensive transformation or is implementing a single application, a common problem in IT projects is the lack of a defined project goal, and implementation is carried out without an analysis of our needs. The result? Wasting money on a solution that does not pay for itself and does not bring any business value. A good architect will always pay attention to this type of issue, ask for clarification of business requirements and propose the optimal architecture.
- The solution is expensive to maintain – in projects, it may be that everything goes smoothly at the implementation stage, and only with time does the solution turn out not to be scalable. As a result, instead of saving, the company has to invest in expensive equipment. The IT architect creates optimal solutions based on proven technologies and new possibilities, such as the cloud.
- Architecture fails to meet safety standards – “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of cybersecurity architecture. Cyberattacks and data leakage can happen to any company, and in 2020 IT security became an important aspect of investments. According to available studies, the threat of cyberattacks is growing by 30%, and cybersecurity audits and tests allow you to minimize this risk.
Do I need an IT architect?
Architects or IT engineers are specialists with broad competences, and demand for their services is increasing. These professionals are difficult to recruit and their rates are among the highest on the market. No wonder, as IT solutions architects are valuable and the most experienced developers for whom the role of an architect is a natural step in their IT career. Who would not wish to have a specialist who will not only analyze and design the way a given application functions in the system, but also take care of security and help to outline long-term strategy, as part of a project?
Tasks and skills of an IT architect:
- Designing IT systems and supervising the implementation and compliance with security policies
- Knowledge of the tools and techniques required to maintain architecture
- Analysis of business requirements in cooperation with a business analyst
- Business sense and expertise in programming
- High-level understanding of IT architecture and business architecture and the ability to build a long-term strategy
- Solid foundations of software engineering and support of developers
- Knowledge of the latest technological trends and developing technologies
- Connecting the past with the future – the architect implements new components and maintains the existing ones, making sure that all the elements work together.
- Connecting the world of IT and administration – knowledge of DevOps techniques and tools
A good and well-thought-out architecture of systems and applications is becoming increasingly important, and the dynamic market forces the development of and increased expenditure on new systems and cybersecurity. Investments in these solutions pay off and allow companies to save in the long run. This is the easiest way to minimize the risk of ill-considered implementation.