| Lesson 3
| Stakeholder perspectives impact architectural requirements.
Perspectives impact Architectural Requirements
In e-Business, functionality is the minimum price of admission. In other words, your site can work,
but if the graphics take too long to download, are people going to come back?
Example Performance Metrics
For example, the performance metrics for some process building blocks for an automobile manufacturer might include:
- the number of cars produced,
- the number of defective parts per car,
- the number of employee accidents,
- the number of cars sold.
In contrast, e-Commerce performance metrics for a component building block might include:
- the number of hits to a Web site,
- the number of clicks to service a customer-driven process,
- availability of the site (how often the site is up/down),
- the number of people visiting vs. the number of people buying,
- availability of help during customer-driven process,
- or the number of new customers vs. the number of returning customers.
Architecture is about performance against stakeholder-defined criteria. In other words, the architect needs to consider performance (metrics) when prescribing a solution that meets the stakeholder-defined criteria.
The architect must view the problem space from the perspective of each stakeholder. These perspectives will vary, depending on the relationship the stakeholder maintains with the business entity of concern.
Successful architecture must not only meet functional requirements (criteria), it must also differentiate itself from alternative solutions.
Perspectives - Architect versus Contractor
Architects create a best-fit solution for a specific client. Think of the houses that a general contractor builds versus the houses that an architect builds.
The contractor's houses will often contain a muddle of styles, based on a solution set that meets most people's needs and desires.
The architect, however, creates a best-fit solution for a specific client's needs. The best-fit solution may consist of standard components, but the components are selected to work together in a specific environment. The components also meet specific performance and functional objectives.
Role of the Architect
Business architecture is defined as a blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization.Business architecture is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands. People who develop and maintain business architecture are known as business architects.Business architecture is the bridge between the enterprise business model and enterprise strategy on one side, and the business functionality of the enterprise on the other side.
The term business architecture is often used to mean an architectural description of an enterprise or a business unit, an architectural model, or the profession itself. The Business Architecture Working Group of the Object Management Group (OMG) (2010) describes it as a model of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives with the requirements of execution.
According to the OMG, a blueprint of this type describes "the structure of the enterprise in terms of its governance structure, business processes, and business information." As such, the profession of business architecture primarily focuses on the motivational, operational, and analysis frameworks that link these aspects of the enterprise together.
For example: You want to buy a house. The most important specification is that it has four bedrooms.
How do you choose between a ranch and bi-level that both meet the same requirements? It would come down to the way you perceived the characteristics of each house. However, characteristics always must be prioritized.
Amazon started off purely selling books to online customers. How did Amazon begin choosing which functionality would be implemented as it grew?
Now that Amazon is attempting to be all things to all people through massive expansion of business functions, how are they going to differentiate their business offerings through added functionality? Essentially, it boils down to how the end user is going to perceive both Amazon as a whole, and characterize (differentiate) between each of its service offerings. In the end, users prioritize both Amazon and each of its features/functions against other service offerings in the marketplace.
It is easy for an architect to under- or over-engineer a solution. An architect needs to understand where the line between good and good enough exists. It is most important to identify and implement those things that will increase the probability of meeting the specified objectives.