IT Governance

9 Warning Signs of Bad IT Architecture

IT architecture is sometimes built through a long game of Telephone: One group says what it should look like. Another group builds it. A third group maintains it. Repeat this a few times and things inadvertently fall even further out of sync. In an article for CIO magazine, Bob Lewis highlights nine warning signs that you have let your architecture slip away from you:

  1. Manual rekeying
  2. Collection of point solutions
  3. Redundant applications
  4. Redundant data
  5. Too many interfaces
  6. Faux-elegant integration
  7. Kludges and workarounds
  8. Obsolete technology
  9. Unused, unread white papers

Needs Renovation

Manual rekeying leaves room for data input errors, in addition to just taking up people’s time. Speaking of which, making people use too many separate point solutions for various activities will also eat up time in the workday. Either the architecture must be made to support and assimilate the various solutions, or more comprehensive replacement options should be sought. A good starting point would be to see if redundant applications exist. If they do, then you should root out how this redundancy came about and work your way backward until you are comfortable shutting down extraneous applications.

Redundant data is another issue. You want data to be centralized, but sometimes it cannot be centralized in a way where everyone has easy access, which necessitates the creation of duplicate, synced databases. Keeping databases in sync does not always work out as intended.

About having too many interfaces, Lewis writes this:

… the more systems and databases you have, the more interfaces you end up building. It’s better than not having them, but as they accumulate, your architecture becomes more and more fragile, and you spend more and more time managing the interfaces instead of building new functionality.

Architectural impact: The more interfaces you have, the more fragile your system, and the harder that system is to maintain.

Direct business impact: Building interface after interface drains IT resources away from value-creating activity.

Efforts to clean up integration may result in “faux-elegant” solutions where easy stuff is made even easier and hard stuff is still ignored. This would be a clear indication that money is being spent with no real strategy behind it.

An abundance of technical debt and innovation-stifling legacy technology can further clog up architecture. In such cases, you might hire consultants to come in and fix your issues for you, but you need to be careful there too. If all these people end up producing are white papers full of recommendations and best practices, then their work could be meaningless—because who says anybody in the business is going to read or act on their suggestions?

You can view the original article here:

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