System Architect’s Essential Role in Open Systems Implementations

The enormous variety of technology options available in today’s open systems environment makes the role of system architect more critical than ever on both large and small projects.
More component options have led to greater flexibility and lower component prices, but also to greater complexity and, in turn, to greater risk of implementation project failure or delay due to technical miscalculations or inappropriate assumptions. System architecture is the discipline that addresses the difficult technical issues inherent in a complex software system implementation.

In spite of the importance of system architecture design, many information systems practitioners lack adequate understanding of this subject area, resulting in many costly mistakes throughout information technology organizations worldwide. This paper explains the types of technical challenges the system architect must address. It illustrates the role of the system architect, the type of person required to fill that role, and the types of authority and information access that this person needs to perform effectively in the role. Finally, it describes procedures and an approach that a good system architect uses to reduce the technology risk in a software application implementation project.

This is the original document published May 18, 1998, brought to you here with the kind permission of Oracle Corporation.

By Cary Millsap

Owner and president of Method R Corporation.

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