Each of the following seven articles tackles a key characteristic of emerging enterprise architectures, as perceived by InfoWorld contributors and editors.
But in reality, we probably could have boiled them down to one: the business-driven architecture.
No matter which design buzzword you choose these days -- SOA (service-oriented architecture), ILM (information lifecycle management), virtualization, and so on -- chances are there’s a business driver behind it. Never before has the business side had such a direct, quick, and forceful impact on how IT environments are being designed and refreshed. And never before have CIOs -- and even CEOs -- been so interested in architecture.
“Architectural principles have been raised to the level of the CIO, and I’m the keeper of the architecture,” asserts John Halamka, CIO of both Harvard Medical School and CareGroup Health System, a hospital group with 3,000 physicians. Halamka runs a monthly architecture meeting for all CareGroup developers and waxes eloquent about new health-care regulations that make sound architecture a business imperative.
“We’re charged with knowing where our information lives, who’s touched it, and why it was touched,” Halamka says. “How can you do this without a data-centric, services-centric, and highly reliable architecture?”
Gartner Group Vice President Jeff Schulman agrees. “Over the last few years, 85 percent of the work of architects has been in the physical and logical layers, but we’re now moving to 50 percent in the business layer.” Schulman sees this shift to business-driven thinking as a sign of what the future holds for IT: “We need people who can understand and relate key business issues to their likely impact on IT architecture.”
For a taste of how this is translating into architecture, read on. And if you disagree with any one of our categories, just substitute in the words “business-driven.” You’ll be fine.