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JJMajor
SAS Employee

Ive never really enjoyed talking to enterprise architects. In my work at SAS, I have always focused on business outcomes. The sorts of questions that I am used to asking are along the lines of: What does this mean for your business and your customers? How will it make everyones lives better?

Somehow, I have always found the language of enterprise architecture too abstract. Its about the plumbing rather than the hot bath that you can relax into.

Its not that I dont understand what the words mean. Its just that I then want to take the journey from the architecture to what it is actually delivering to the business. And architects rarely want to take that journey with me. They just want to make sure that the plumbing hangs together in a way that makes it easy to fix a leak without having to replace a big chunk of the system. They dont want to have to turn off the mains supply to fix the leak. They want to be able to isolate the problem area and fix the leaky bit of pipe with minimum disruption to the water supply inside the house. Fundamentally, theyre not that bothered about the benefits of a hot bath.

 

MACH architecture

In the world of IT architecture, easily upgraded plumbing is supported by MACH architecture. MACH stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native (SaaS), and Headless. Digital transformation and agility demand the ability to continuously improve and evolve the way that your underpinning IT systems work. Enterprise software suites are no longer in vogue.

Why am I telling you this? Because I recently had an epiphany that allowed me to bring together the architecture and business purposes for the first time. I realised that not only is SAS Viya built on microservices and APIs, but it also allows you to build little bits of cleverness that conform to MACH principles. You can therefore speed up the deployment of analytically based decisions into your operational processes, and then track their performance and update them when they start to decay.

Not that Im turning into an architect (far from it), but I recently used the phrase SAS Viya allows you to deploy the analystswork products as intelligent microservices’—and I was genuinely excited about it!

But, and this is a big but, I may be excited about the architecture—but its still only a means to an end. The ability to deploy analystswork is only important insofar as it helps the business achieve its objectives. Going back to the plumbing analogy, I like the taps—but they are only really right if they empty hot water into my bath.

 

A means to an end

Technology (and architecture) is always only a means to an end. The endis the business purpose. That has to be the most important aspect. However, my epiphany about SAS Viya has meant that I do understand a little bit more about why the architecture really matters. The next step is to convince more enterprise architects to meet me part-way, and appreciate why the business need matters!

5 REPLIES 5
sbxkoenk
SAS Super FREQ

Hello J. ,

 

I get the impression that you like a hot bath very much. But that is fine!
No worries though , I also understood the rest of your message.

 

Cheers,

Koen

JJMajor
SAS Employee

OK @sbxkoenk , so I admit to a tendency to stretch an analogy to breaking point...:-)

Janice_Newell
SAS Employee
Love an analogy and this makes great sense to me, Viya allows us to easily create the plumbing bits to deliver business value 😊
Rich_Chalcraft
SAS Employee

Nice piece Jen and highlights the importance of the architects' role in getting analytics to the front line of decision making quickly and in a governed way. And Viya is great for that!

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