The Fundamentals of IT Architecture

Our dynamically changing world with the ever-accelerating pace of business and IT, make it imperative that we embrace the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) principle of decentralised decision making. This principle enables us to deliver value to our clients in the shortest sustainable lead time. 

Architecture governance is evolving to support autonomous decision making at multiple levels and infusing quality in the build feature however Architecture is not about governance, governance is everyone's responsibility. With great power, comes great responsibility. 

This course is designed to equip you with the knowledge, tools and techniques used by Architects so that you can incorporate these into your decision making. 

 

This course will benefit the organisation and you by providing: 

Introduction to the IT Architecture

Group IT Policy Universe

Group IT Policy Universe

The Group IT Architecture Policy is part of the Group IT Policy Universe and is subservient to the Group IT Governance Standard. Policies within the universe should be read and applied in context of the Group IT Governance Standard and should not be considered or applied in isolation.

This policy guides the engineering of business solutions including business services and their supporting technologies within the Group.

Key strategic themes

Key IT Architecture Strategic Themes

The IT Architecture Strategic Themes are the drivers upon which the IT Architecture principles are built. 

The implementation of the principles in all work involving IT Architecture then produces benefits such as risk reduction and enhanced offerings, streamlined delivery, faster time to market, client satisfaction, client retention, cost reduction and cost containment. 

IT Enterprise Architecture Principles

IT Enterprise Architecture Principles

Group IT Architecture should facilitate process driven governance that provides assurance that the technology strategy is architected, designed, built and is operating as intended. To this end the following 9 principles have been adopted:

  1. Leverage existing viable assets first. If the functionality required is substantially differentiating, then we should prioritise building solutions. If the functionality required is pre-dominantly non-differentiating, we should then prioritise buying, and this includes Cloud and Open Source solutions.
  2. Architectural decision making should be made in the context of the business case;- 
  3. Security controls should be proportionate to risk;-
  4.  Integration should be standardised;- 
  5. Customer experience should be enhanced;- 
  6. Data quality should be paramount;- 
  7. Complexity should be guarded against;- 
  8. Quality attributes (non-functional requirements) such as stability, performance, monitoring and availability should be architected;
  9. and Design for fast recovery in the event of failure.

Evolving IT Architecture

Evolving IT Architecture 

Our dynamically changing world with the ever-accelerating pace of life, business, and IT, make it imperative that we continually adapt and evolve our strategies and plans to remain relevant.

Group IT is moving from a predominantly project-based organisation to a continuous delivery, agile, outcomes based way of working. The Group IT new ways of working (nWoW) design for application engineering encompasses a number of concepts including Agile, Lean and DevOps and is based on version 4.0 of the internationally recognised Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). 

In order to ensure that whatever we do will continually improve and be enhanced over time four core principles have been adopted. Click on the (i) button on each of the principles in the next image to gain an understanding of these principles. 

Four Principles

IT Architecture Process

High level IT Architecture Process

The value chain from IT Enterprise Architecture, through Solutions Architecture, design and build, should be maintained with a level of traceability and a feedback loop to benefit from learnings throughout the process

Which of the following is NOT an IT Enterprise Architecture Principle? (Select all that apply)

  • Complexity should be guarded against
  • Customer experience should be enhanced
  • Security controls should be standardised
  • Data quality should be paramount
  • Architectural decision making should be proportionate to risk

Match the statements on the left with the category on the right.

  • Simplification
    Strategic Theme
  • Design for fast recovery in the event of failure
    Principle
  • Perform a gap analysis
    Process step
  • Improve IT manageability
    Strategic Theme
  • Quality attributes should be architected
    Principle

Four core principles have been adopted to facilitate the Group IT move towards a continuous delivery, agile and outcomes based way of work. In the statements below, identify the correct principles.

  • Customer focus
  • Autonomy of teams
  • Joint business and IT teams
  • Effective teams

Introduction to IT Architecture Governance

Architecture Governance Objectives

Architecture Governance Objectives

These are the revised objectives in line with the principle that Architecture is not about governance as governance is everyone's responsibility. 

These objectives ensure that IT Architecture evolves, adapts, remains relevant and increases organisational agility. 

Architecture Governance Key Enablers

Key Enablers

The purpose of the key enablers as available on the Group IT Portal  is as follows:

  • Improve the awareness and understanding of the IT Architecture practice and the value of IT Architecture Governance; and
  • Provide agile teams with the knowledge and skills they need to make and record good architectural decisions.

Each of these enablers will now be elaborated on shortly.

IT Architecture Lexicon

IT Architecture Lexicon

The Lexicon seeks to provide a common technology language within the Bank. It will assist in ensuring that we share the meaning of words and phrases and understand concepts in the same way. The approach taken maintains relevance through alignment with current definitions in the context of industry and other technology references such as TOGAF and ITIL.

IT Architecture Governance Registers

IT Architecture Governance Registers

Our collective quest to be an agile leading organisation and our consequent drive towards more effective and efficient ways of work, the Group IT Architecture Governance Framework, Decision Model and Mechanics have been updated. The new approach embraces the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) devolving architecture decisions to the lowest possible level. In our large organisation with multiple interlinked and interconnected systems and platforms, this approach requires a broad visibility of decisions. 

The Registers enable the capture of key information required for transparency and accountability.

IT Architecture Triage Process

IT Architecture Triage Process

Architecture Triage is a process with decision trees, that can be used in a self-service context to recommend particular architecture processes, patterns, and standards for projects to determine the degree of architecture involvement based on early indicators of risk and other factors.

The IT Architecture Triage Process is intended to assist teams to avoid undesirable delays and unnecessary risks to our production operating environment. The process aims to answer three frequently asked questions:

1. What level of architecture involvement, if any, is required?

2. Is my change aligned to the Agile delivery framework?

3. Who do I contact to engage with Architecture?


The Triage Process can be invoked by selecting “Add new item” on the following SharePoint list:

http://gsa.za.sbicdirectory.com/AG/ATP

IT Architecture Communities of Practice

IT Architecture Communities of Practice

These are dynamic groups that empower practitioners to establish a culture of engagement, shared learning and capability building across dispersed operations in an effort to integrate knowledge and practices.

The Communities of Practice will not operate as decision-making bodies. They will enable the critical review of architectures presented, promote desirable alignment, infuse quality and provide invaluable endorsements which will enable the making of sound architecture decisions.

The successful operation of these communities of practice will fast track our journey to becoming a mature agile enterprise.

How many IT Architecture Governance registers are there?

  • Three
  • Five
  • Four
  • Six

Triage Process

The can be invoked by clicking "add new item" on the following sharepoint list: 

What are the benefits of Communities of Practice? (Select all that apply)

  • Engagement
  • Shared learning
  • Alignment of knowledge and practice
  • Capability building