If I am the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, or a senior partner in a distinguished law firm, or the president of a mid-sized construction company, why should I give a shit about architecture? I am busy running a business. Besides, I pay my technology people damn good money to worry about these issues. I will tell you why. It turns out that your software architecture is not only important for your computer systems, but going forward, it will become more and more important to your existing and future competitive advantages.
In a knowledge-based economy it is your software architecture that provides the underpinnings and instrumentation for your most valuable assets. It determines the extent to which you leverage your legacy systems and your capabilities to mine the value located therein. It drives the success or failure of your merger and acquisition strategies. It has a huge impact on whether your top talent stays with you or finds greener pastures with your competitors. It will either help contain costs or become a constant drain on the bottom line. Pay attention to your software architecture or update your fucking resume. Your company won’t be a fun place to work over the next five years.
I am always amazed by the breadth and depth of knowledge that the generals, turned CNN commentators, display with respect to a broad range of topics: complex weapons systems, geo politics, domestic politics, world history, foreign cultures, clandestine organizations, etc. They also appear to be extremely techno-literate with respect to advanced communications and other enabling technologies. Why is that? Because in the past their careers and the outcome of wars depended on it. Your career and the result of current and future competitive wars require that you grow your denominator in areas that were previously left to underlings. You don’t have to own the issue; you just have to become literate enough to ask the right questions.
This chapter will introduce what I consider to be the key business drivers related to architectural considerations in software. I will discuss the limited number of options available for the procurement of commercial infrastructure and plumbing. I will outline why commercial plumbing is a necessary, but not sufficient, component of your architectural strategy. I will describe the impact that architecture has on the DIP and therefore on whether your current project portfolio has any chance in hell of achieving the promised advantages. In short, this chapter frames the architectural discussion as a business problem.