By combining diagram and data-driven architecture, architects can move faster, offer more cost-efficient programs and most importantly track and measure success, writes Dr Tim O’Neill, founder of Avolution
In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s character breaks with baseball convention by relying on data science instead of traditional scouting to choose a team he hopes will stop the Oakland A’s losing streak. His analysts use probability to see past biases and identify both champions and affordable players that everyone else has overlooked.
As enterprise architects, we’ve always been comfortable with data. But the addition to our toolkits of swifter integrations, APIs and the availability of data from all corners of the business has meant huge leaps in the volume of data we can use to understand operational and technical infrastructure and guide decisions.
The way we store data has also improved our ability to access and analyse it. We’ve written before about the benefits of graph databases in managing large data volumes and organisations are also benefiting from modern analytic techniques such as no-code algorithms and interactive data visualisations.
Enterprise architecture is quickly becoming data-driven – and needs to be. Data is used more rigorously and regularly, but architecture needs data to stay relevant. What of diagrams, then, the “art” of enterprise architecture? Are they now old-school?
Most business strategists – not just enterprise architects – use diagrams or visual models to do design. We all do this instinctively. The first thing people reach for when planning, creating a strategy, or conceptualizing a new line of business is not a spreadsheet: It’s a whiteboard and a marker. Later they might “draw” plans in PowerPoint, Visio or another drawing tool with a native canvas-and-stencil functionality.