Who needs an architect if everything goes to the cloud?

Dec 5, 2014
Written by
Remco Blom
Remco Blom

Who needs an architect if everything goes to the cloud?

The hype on cloud computing makes expectations rise. What’s the role of the IT department in general? And the role of an architect in particular? Recently there was a very successful seminar on Enterprise Architecture in Healthcare at BiZZdesign’s Dutch Amersfoort office. We discussed this topic with attendees and the conclusion are presented in this blog post.

Architecture stays relevant
There are several reasons why architecture is to stay and is relevant in the world, where most functionality supporting the business is sourced to the cloud.

  1. There is no cloud solution for all of your problems. Custom-made functionality is not available from the cloud.
  2. Business changes in will always have impact on processes, information flows and information needs. Somebody has to analyze the impact and guide changes.
  3. The organization will be held accountable for the products and services that are brought to the customers. Therefore a (thin) line business architecture keep its relevance. Even if you ultimately outsource everything, quality will be a topic where architect can contribute to.
  4. You will always need some infrastructure. Connectivity and screen is the expected minimum every organization will keep in the future.

So, we do expect that architecture stays a relevant discipline…. but definitely it will change!

Different types of architects
We foresee that three types of architects will take their positions in the future world where cloud computing is a commodity.

First, construction oriented architects. These “super-designers” understand systems in their context and know how applications are interdependent with technology. These architects are likely to be less employed at end-user organizations then today and more with technology (cloud) providers.

Photo via https://www.flickr.com/photos/frosch50/

Second, integration oriented architects. These will be employed with system integrators and large end-user organizations. Integration of all –AAS (PAAS, SAAS, CAAS, etc) solutions selected and in use with the organization is key. Security, business continuity and data management (e.g. reporting) over the whole chain of connected services becomes an ever growing challenge in the “cloudified” world.

Illustration by https://www.flickr.com/photos/65978013@N03/

Third, business oriented architects. They will have an more prominent role in defining the needs of the business, translate new possibilities cloud-apps bring to the business. Understanding business model, business goals and business processes will be the main challenge for this business architect, employed by the end-user organization.

These three type of architects cover all the relevant aspects for your organization to be successful with cloud solutions.