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There are three important aspects to emphasize about systems architecture:

  1. It must align with the business goals of the organization.

  2. It must provide what the stakeholders need to perform their functions. This is a two-way street. The architecture team should take responsibility to establish communication with systems architecture stakeholders and to understand their issues.

  3. The software and hardware infrastructure of an enterprise is a major asset that must be managed to provide the greatest return on that investment.

The following should be considered as systems architecture best practices:

  1. Know the business processes that the systems architecture is supporting. Know them inside and out.

  2. Keep support of those business processes first and foremost on your agenda. Know what the business needs and keep the business side aware of your accomplishments.

  3. Know the components in your systems architecture: all the machines, applications, network connections, and so on.

  4. Instrument, your system. That is, install monitoring and measurement systems that allow you to find the problem areas and the bottlenecks.

  5. Attack the cheap and easy problems first. That will build and help maintain credibility and trust with the business side of your company.

  6. Prioritize and be proactive. If you are not constrained to produce immediate results, identify the most important systems architecture problems and attack them first, even before they become problems. Good system measurements are key to being able to identify problem areas in your systems architecture and to establish the most effective means to deal with them.

  7. Know all your stakeholders. The people aspects of your systems architecture are at least as important as the machines.

  8. Only buy as much security as you need. Give up on the idea of becoming invulnerable. Prioritize your security issues into A, B, and C lists.

As architects team with the business side to align systems with business processes and keep them aligned as business needs evolve, they will get the opportunity to develop skills in understanding the business and working with financial algorithms and calculations.

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