Innovation With Software Architectural Excellence

Software engineering plays an indispensable role in enabling companies to deliver value efficiently. This is evident in how digital natives are challenging incumbents and forcing them to digitize and rapidly transform the way they work and innovate. Accordingly, achieving architectural excellence is an ongoing process of effective implementation, forward planning, and executive leadership involvement. Moreover, it is necessary to realize that software engineering strategies and planning should not be limited to information technology. Enabling collaboration between IT and business leaders is essential as software engineering plays a key role in delivering value, making operations robust, and addressing the next wave of changes in value creation and delivery.

The goal of good software engineering

Good software architecture facilitates robust continuous business operations and ensures that business capabilities are competitive against threatening challenges. Moreover, software architecture should also become the primary aspect to drive the next waves of business changes – whether they be processes, models, or innovative products and features. These changes are caused by the increasing competitive forces of digitization, transformation, and ecosystem-based standardization, making change constant across the board in various aspects of business. Accordingly, traditionally viewing software architecture at a limited software or product level does not work as well as it once did. The practice of viewing software architecture at the business and ecosystem level is gaining greater emphasis as digitalization and innovation make businesses and ecosystems digitally interwoven in how they interact.

The following key aspects describe how to innovate with architectural excellence:

Security and privacy

Customers are increasingly concerned about how their data is handled and protected – and are even reluctant to do business if an organization does not have clear policies on how customer data is protected and handled. On the other hand, regulators are constantly improving compliance requirements to protect customers. This landscape is changing at different rates across multiple countries, which poses challenges and creates equal opportunities for fast adapters. All of this means that businesses need to ethically manage customer data while protecting against an ever-evolving threat landscape. To meet this need, it is necessary to review the current program structure and involve senior executives in making critical decisions in this regard. Furthermore, architectural planning cycles should come down to a few months – rather than years. This is the key to rapidly building and implementing innovative solutions to address the changing organizational landscape and customer expectations.

Meet the user’s needs

Since 2008, the smartphone has changed customer experiences and expectations. Digital disruptors are constantly challenging established companies and threatening their very survival. In this paradigm shift, companies must understand their customers more deeply, quickly adapt their business models and introduce new products to meet customer needs. It requires architectural agility that provides the flexibility to innovate business models in shorter cycles and improve them faster with customer feedback. It also means keeping a long-term view towards software architecture planning and strategy development that enables seamless innovation and removes process and performance bottlenecks. From this point of view, improvements and decisions in software engineering should align with business goals and strengthen business capabilities, not just the number of implementations or technical solutions provided by IT.

Empower Developers

Today, more and more companies need developers to help them digitize and transform. Accordingly, empowering developers is essential, and software engineering is the primary way to help them drive innovation and build critical business capabilities. Developer empowerment is usually measured in terms of developer speed – it defines how flexible developers must be and how well their talents can be utilized. To improve developer speed, provide them with a well-defined software architecture to focus on quality and consistent development. Also, the software architecture should have room for customization so that developers can take advantage of it to its full potential.

While the above describes the comprehensive approach, the following sections detail the essential aspects of achieving innovation with architectural excellence.

scalability

The software architecture should support applications that scale seamlessly on demand to accommodate a surge in user growth and shrink them to save operational costs. Accordingly, this approach requires that your application be deployed in the cloud while ensuring not only the underlying infrastructure but also the multiple components at the scale of the entire system without friction or interference. This must be accompanied by high performance to ensure customer satisfaction and to deliver a superior experience. This means that your system should work perfectly on any scale at any time.

Mobility

Can the system itself or its components be deployed in any cloud platform – public, private or hybrid? What is the cost of commuting in terms of time, effort and cost? In a world of ultra-widespread cloud service providers and cutting edge cloud services, a company’s IT system should not be locked into a single platform or vendor, but should use the best services and technologies available today – that are also future ready to improve performance and improve overall costs .

compliance

Companies must develop a compliance framework that aligns people, processes, and strategies with regulatory requirements to ensure compliance and avoid the risks of non-compliance. Also, the framework needs to be in place to accommodate the changes coming from the regulators across the board.

maintainability

Similar to the source code of software components, software architecture should be easy to maintain – which means that software architecture should not cause bottlenecks when it is modified and improved.

maintainability Issues can take many forms: Is software engineering obsolete for the current technical and business landscape? Are you using outdated incompatible versions when updating components and other dependencies? Ensuring the maintainability of the software architecture helps facilitate innovation and move at a competitive pace. If you are at all unsure where to start improving or redefining software architecture, start with maintainability.

cost

Information technology is often subject to constant scrutiny to justify its expenditures, and it is complex to measure the meaningful contribution of information technology to business results. As a result, IT constantly faces the risks of budget cuts and cost optimization challenges. Typically, software architecture is allowed to grow organically, resulting in system duplication and inconsistent efforts and data across systems. To get around this, control the software architecture on an ongoing basis, which in turn allows for more predictable cost control.

In this rapidly changing digital landscape, companies must maintain flexible architectures that facilitate innovation and continually improve software architecture using agile methodologies to gain a competitive advantage in business capabilities. This practice is sorely needed, especially when digital disruptors increasingly threaten to take it all away – leaving the defaulters behind.

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