SScher-esristaff

Architecture is a Funny Word

Blog Post created by SScher-esristaff Employee on Jul 9, 2020

Like many of my colleagues on the Global Architecture Team at Esri, I spend a lot of time explaining who we are and what we do, and I think I know why. architecture is a funny word. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, which makes sense because depending on your domain, your experience with architects will differ greatly.

You might think of data architects, who design how data is collected, stored and arranged. Perhaps you’re more familiar with application architects, who are concerned with how applications are used and how they work together. Many people think of system architecture, and quickly find themselves in a cold sweat after picturing a horrifyingly complex system diagram. All this preamble to say: The Global Architecture Team doesn’t really do any of that.

What We Do

Our work is more closely aligned to the discipline of enterprise architecture. The role of the enterprise architect is to align the perspectives of business, applications, data, and technology to the organization’s overall strategy, while making sure the design follows organizational governance policies and standards. Now, we obviously we work at Esri, so we aren’t going to architect your entire business-technology landscape (sorry). Rather, we use enterprise architecture principles and frameworks and apply them specifically to the domain of GIS. One of those principles you’ll hear us talk about a lot is to take a ‘top-down, business first approach’.

This means starting with a vision for how GIS needs to support your business. This isn’t a list of maps or apps, and it definitely isn’t a data catalog. Rather, it’s a statement of what your organization will ‘look’ like when it has implemented and is operationalizing GIS effectively. Then we need to understand what business processes need to be designed or augmented with GIS. More simply, we figure out how the work your staff does needs to change to achieve the vision. Only once we have this level of understanding do we start aligning technology components, information products and data needed to enable those new or enhanced processes. Ultimately, we work with you to design the ‘why’ and then the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘how’ of GIS in your organization. My colleagues on the Global Architecture team and I are here to work with you to design the most impactful GIS that’s feasible in terms of sustainability, cost, and potential risk.

 

 

Let’s Connect

As Esri’s (first-ever virtual) Users Conference(esriuc2020) rapidly approaches, we know many of our customers are eager to connect and learn how they can do more. The Global Architecture team has supported organizations large and small, and in nearly every industry in their efforts to transform the way their organization works with geography and GIS. If you found this blog interesting and are looking for more on how our team can help amplify your success, you can reach me at sscher@esri.com or my team at global_architecture@esri.com.


“An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.” - Sydney Harris

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