Many believe that Solution Architecture is a relatively new field however such as with any other new field it extends the previous accumulated knowledge. Countless architects and more recently product designers worked to develop architectural knowledge since the dawn of time, gradually evolving their practice from one level of complexity to the next. One can easily draw many parallels between Solution Architecture and Product Design, no wonder that solution architects are often referred to as solution designers.
Personally I believe there is a lot a solution architect can learn from studying the design disciplines that preceded Solution Design. One of my main inspirations is Dieter Rams, an industrial designer whose designs are as ubiquitous as can be, some of his designs are now the norm and even are considered the main design inspiration behind Apple’s product and applications look and feel.
Dieter Rams came up with 10 design principles that carry over nicely from industrial design to solution design.
There are four architecture domains BDAT for short (Business, Data, Application and Technology) architecture activities usually encompass all four of them.
- The Business Architecture defines the business strategy, governance, organization, and key business processes.
- The Data Architecture describes the structure of an organization’s logical and physical data assets and data management resources.
- The Application Architecture provides a blueprint for the individual applications to be deployed, their interactions, and their relationships to the core business processes of the organization.
- The Technology Architecture describes the logical software and hardware capabilities that are required to support the deployment of business, data, and application services. This includes IT infrastructure, middleware, networks, communications, processing, standards, etc.
As mentioned a complete enterprise architecture should address all of the four domains, realistically though and due to the usual constraints not all domains are included and the new architecture is scoped and trimmed down to the most impacted domains, this increases the risk of inconsistencies. Such a risk should be clarified and highlighted.