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The Architecture Leadership Forum: The Bottom Line

Colman Lincoln

24 September 2019

by Colman Lincoln

( Words)

In Today's changing world of technology and innovation businesses have no choice but to adapt or die, get this right and technology can open new revenue streams, audiences, markets and increase profitability get this wrong and you end up spending money on shiny new technology that delivers as much value as a Sinclair C-5. The IT Architecture discipline should help guide businesses through this decision-making process and help businesses make better technology choices long term, the question is how do you convince your business to invest in their Architects?

 

Facilitator John O’Donovan led the discussion, based on his experience & current role as CTO at Allen & Overy.

 

1. Understand what the C-Suite cares about

Architecture makes innovation possible – but realistically, few people at board level in many companies care about how things work. Many business leaders simply expect their systems to always be in working order and solely focus on outcomes. It's crucial you link your ideas to outcomes everyone cares about – reliability, performance, scale, innovation - and define clear metrics to show how building things well drives these metrics.

 

2. Justify investment & become a strategic partner

Explaining the value delivered by great architecture will justify a large investment. Especially when your architecture requires continuous improvement and therefore, ongoing investment. Data can be your key weapon in making your point clear and irrefutable. Position the architecture function as more than just tech support & become both an adviser and ally for example - spell out the viability of different
tools and the infrastructure required.

 

3. Speak their language

Architecture leaders must align their mindset and language with their peers, and presenting a deck full of complex diagrams is almost certain to fail to secure buy-in. The C-Suite loves stories. Bring a complicated concept to life using metaphors and real-life examples that connect with the whole company so that you can define principles that make sense to everyone. Ensure your language mirrors the technical knowledge of your audience - clarity makes everyone your friend & champion.

 

4. Set principles

Principles give direction to your goals and clear communication to the board to drive a cultural change and alignment through the organisation. Speak to multiple audiences & groups to figure out the right principles that connect with the company. Take control of key agendas by showing how good architecture aligns to them, and their vision for them & the company. Some commonalities will apply despite your industry or company's nuances.

  • Principles should work at every level. Everyone must understand them – right through from CTO to developer, or marketing to HR. Avoid highly architectural jargon

  • Principles will change based on the stage and maturity of your business

  • Every principle has to be relevant to your organisation and its business goals.

Are you currently building out your Architecture function? Please don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss how to structure your team, and identify the best talent: colman.lincoln@lafosse.com.

La Fosse is open for business as usual and continuing to operate just as effectively on behalf of our clients and candidates.