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Lesson 2 The Role of the Architect
Objective Identify the scope of an architect's responsibilities.

Role of the Architect in e-Business

An eBusiness Architect plays a critical role in the design, development, and implementation of an organization's online business strategies. The responsibilities encompass a broad spectrum, stretching from strategic planning to technological deployment. Here's a detailed breakdown:
  1. Strategic Planning: The architect aligns eBusiness goals with the organization's strategic objectives. They help in developing the eBusiness roadmap, identifying opportunities for growth, and ensuring competitiveness in the digital marketplace.
  2. Business Requirement Analysis: They work closely with stakeholders to understand business needs, define system requirements, and translate business objectives into technical specifications. This role often involves bridging the communication gap between business and technical teams.
  3. Technical Architecture Design: The eBusiness Architect designs the technical architecture for the eBusiness platform, including front-end and back-end components, databases, servers, network infrastructure, security systems, and integrations with other systems. They ensure that the architecture is scalable, reliable, secure, and supports the eBusiness objectives.
  4. Technology Selection: They are responsible for selecting the appropriate technologies, software, and systems to implement the eBusiness strategy. This includes choosing eCommerce platforms, content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) systems, payment gateways, and other necessary technologies.
  5. Data Management: The architect designs and oversees the data architecture, including data collection, storage, analysis, and security. They ensure compliance with data regulations and develop strategies for leveraging data analytics and business intelligence.
  6. Security and Compliance: eBusinesses often deal with sensitive data like customer details and financial transactions. The architect must design systems with robust security measures and ensure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards.
  7. Project Management: The eBusiness Architect often oversees project implementation, coordinating with different teams, managing resources, and ensuring projects are delivered on time and within budget. They often play a critical role in troubleshooting and problem resolution.
  8. Performance Monitoring and Optimization: Post-launch, the architect monitors system performance, identifies areas for optimization, and implements improvements. They also keep an eye on emerging technologies and industry trends that could enhance the eBusiness platform.
  9. Staff Training and Documentation: They may also be responsible for training staff to use new technologies and systems effectively. Additionally, they may create technical documentation to aid in the understanding and maintenance of the eBusiness architecture.

An eBusiness Architect serves as a lynchpin in orchestrating the digital business strategy, ensuring a seamless integration of business goals with technological capabilities.

It is the responsibility of the architect to reduce complexity and maintain the integrity and quality of the overall solution. In defining both the problem space and potential solutions, the architect must be able to:
  1. The architect plays a central role in e-Business by understanding each stakeholder's interests and formalizing those interests so that the solution alternatives can be measured against objective metrics.
  2. The architect addresses all facets of an e-engineering initiative, from the business strategy and vision, to the choice of tools and techniques to be used during the architectural process.
  3. In e-Business, it is the architect's responsibility to ensure that the solution meets expectations.
  4. An architect must have a variety of responsibilities.

Architect Skills used in e-business Architecture

What do architects do? An architect is a generalist, both technically and in industry experience. An architect:
  1. Understands technology for what it can do and what it could do.
  2. Learns through experience as well as education.

The Architect’s Skill Profile
Personal Skills and Traits
Open-minded: Open to new ideas and new approaches.
Decision-maker: Willing to take calculated risks
Outgoing: Comfortable working in a group.
Thoughtful: Enjoys researching and evaluating available options.
Enthusiastic: Likes getting the job done quickly.
Data Architecture
Understands the current business processes and the information used by those processes.
Able to model data flows for the current business processes.
Familiar with the current data classes, data repositories, data access paths and entity relationships at the enterprise level.
Application Architecture
Able to map the current business processes to current applications.
Understands the code structure of the current applications. (i.e., Is the presentation layer easily isolated? How is the data stored and accessed?)
Has application integration experience.
Is a hands-on user of the current application development environment.
Technology Architecture
Has excellent understanding of the current host environment.
Has familiarity with the network communications infrastructure and the system and network management facilities.
Is knowledgeable of local area networks, file servers, print servers and workstations including design, integration, andinstallation.

Role of an Architect

An architect is a person who translates the user's needs into physical, built solution. In addition, an architect must thoroughly understand the building and operational codes under which his or her design must conform. That degree of knowledge is necessary so that he or she is not apt to omit any necessary requirements, or produce improper, conflicting, ambiguous, or confusing requirements. Architects must understand the various methods available to the builder for building the client's structure, so that he or she can negotiate with the client to produce a best possible compromise of the results desired within explicit cost and time boundaries. Take the business requirements and plan for the solution.
  1. take: this implies a lot of listening, communicating and explaining the process that will lead to the solution
  2. business: have the right interviewer and that he is empowered to take action and make a decision/
  3. requirements: one of the biggest challenges is the fact that requirements are often expressed in terms of solution. From the requirements, we must strive to understand the initial objective. To take the home analogy, the client knows he wants a "5-section with side-panels triple-glass wooden-frame window" on that wall, but probably doesn't know how the wall will need to be reinforced to support the 2nd floor. It is the architect responsibility to read between the lines and translate those requirements into realistic objectives.
  4. plan: It's also the architect responsibility to work within the constraints of time, budget and quality. This implies a vast understanding of the subject and the collaboration of field experts to gather the elements of the solution and mutually challenge the solution to come up with something as efficient and as realistic as possible.
  5. solution: Solutions are mutually accepted compromises. That last point is critical: sometimes it's the role of the architect to go back to the client and explain why the requirement can't be met, or why another approach might be better or at least, satisfy a fair percentage of the goal without necessarily constraining future enhancements.

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