architect is much more interested and competent in technical issues than in business matters, which isoften the case, it becomes really difficult to design software that is well aligned with the business.
Software Architects Need Business Savvy
Whenever you meet someone who is thought of as a software architect, chances are that this person ishighly competent in technical IT matters—especially those that concern software—and has a high level of interest in these matters. It's less common that such a person is equally competent in business matters.This might be a problem! For someone to be able to create a structure that supports the business well,that someone must first understand the business, its structure, its goals, and its problems. How else wouldit be possible to find the "right" technical solution?We firmly believe that this should be one of a software architect's most important qualifications: tounderstand business issues well enough to be able to define IT solutions that help solve businessproblems, help reach business goals, and are structured in compliance with the structure of the business.
Businesspeople Don't Understand IT Well Enough
Now let's assume that the IT community sometime in the future arrives at a point where softwarearchitects indeed do understand business well enough to design effective business software. Would we, atthat time, have solved the problem of software not quite being based on the way business is performed,not quite helping solve business problems, and not quite being able to help reach business goals? Notnecessarily. There's another side of the coin, too. Businesspeople don't understand IT well enough tospecify their requirements for business software, or to understand how innovative software could changethe basics of their businesses.This leads to an interesting question: Could it be that we need other kinds of architect roles to producebusiness software than those we typically think of today? And could it be that these roles differ more fromeach other than most of us think? We suggest that this is the case.
Five Architect Roles
We believe that Figure 1 gives a good view of the architect roles needed for the development of goodbusiness software. The rest of this article explains the responsibilities of each role in some detail.