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Infrastructure Architects and Business Value

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I have had a go at defining infrastructure architecture and the feedback seems to have been: Ok, so what about infrastructure architects and the business value of infrastructure rather more than the details of what categories exist within infrastructure architecture. There also has been significant pushback on coining terms so I wont do that (anymore).

 

Thinking about the business value of infrastructure it is clearly significantly different from Solutions or applications architecture where the application is designed to support a particular business need or project. The value of the application is very closely tied to the value of the business project so it (reasonably) easy to quantify.  Infrastructure on the other hand isn't aligned to a specific business need but more to the whole enterprise. In addition its quality attributes are much less about function and more about attributes such as availability, scalability etc which are much harder to measure and put value to.

 

Infrastructure architects are architects who are focused on the architecture of the infrastructure of an organization. Actually there are not many people who have infrastructure architect as their title, in many cases it is the IT manager, CTO or even CIO who performs this function. I blogged earlier about the other titles in the infrastructure space and clearly the relationship between the infrastructure architecture and these people (and indeed the business people) is key. The question then is what are the attributes that an infrastructure architect has or needs to have. I am in the process of defining this for the Microsoft Architect Certification so will blog about that separately.

 

 

These are both key topics in the infrastructure architecture space so I will return to elaborate on them in more detail.

Comments
  • Michael
    Nicely worded. Making the assumption that an Enterprise Architect (EA) sits above the Infrastructure Architect (IA), I would expect the EA would be responsible for the developing and maintaining the IT strategy to assist in delivering the companies business strategy. Based on this, the IA would need attributes that would allow them to translate the IT strategy to a functioning infrastructure which can meet the business needs. Unlike the EA which would require strategic view of the company where it is now, where is it going, what is the purpose etc. The IA would need the ability to understand the companies business services it currently provides and what infrastructure is required to enable the company to delivery this in an efficient and cost effective manner while maintaining competitive advantage.

    Thus they would need the ability to communicate at a technical and a business level, to be able to function in business teams (not work in isolation), to lead and manage people and the ability to take responsibility and ownership for their decisions. The ability to absorb and understand how new technology works, how that would provide better tools for the business to deliver services and how it would fit into the current infrastructure, while keeping in step with the IT strategy.

  • Another key ability for an Infrastructure Architect is the ability to mentor, train and transfer knowledge to those that are working on the infrastructure.