My Awesome IT Job: Enterprise Architect, IBM

My Awesome IT Job: Enterprise Architect, IBM

Summary: Hey, we all complain about work from time to time; we've all had lousy jobs. But before you call it a day and head off to the support group that meets at the bar, here are a few words from an IT pro that loves their work.

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TOPICS: IBM, CXO
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Hey, we all complain about work from time to time; we've all had lousy jobs. But before you call it a day and head off to the support group that meets at the bar, here are a few words from an IT pro that loves their work.

Name: Martine Combes

Location: Paris, La Defense - France

Profession and specialization: I am Enterprise Architect in IBM and recertified Consulting IT specialist in Business Analysis. I am reporting to the IBM CIO organisation and I lead architecture in Europe. I have thirty years of experience in various domains, like project management, Business Architecture and implementations of SAP and CRM Siebel.

Hobby: I have the chance to live in Paris that I love. I like to stroll in Paris streets, comparing old Paris from past pictures with the modern Paris, taking photographs on my turn; Paris streets are a changing scenery across the centuries. I also read books where I can discover and learn about the History and stories of these different places, and I love visiting the antiques to unearth old books. There is also a literary geography provided by novels where we can discover streets and quarters as described by great novelists. This is this secret and ghost Paris that I either physically discover or virtually across old picture and novel pages. I am just at the starting point of assembling my personal discovery in a book.

Last book read: Paris: The Secret History, by Andrew Hussey

Latest accomplishment: Being part of the IBM CIO organization, I am involved in internal large initiatives of Business Transformation and IT programs at the global level. This includes participation to the definition of the strategic enterprise architecture, building the transition architecture at global and geography/ Europe levels, performing architecture reviews with teams of architects and executives. Within a large company, application architecture tend to be complex, because of the weight of the history and legacy applications that were developed to support a specific process and specific set of offerings.

Toughest technology lesson learned: Architecture is one thing, delivery is another thing. You can design wonderful architecture on the paper, but which can reveal at the end quite challenging and very expensive to execute. ...It is very easy to become overwhelmed by complexity and it is very difficult to maintain simplicity, especially when the scope is large, the number of team members is high. So better to have a simple architecture from the start, clearly showing the benefits for the Business.

Advice to an up-and-comer:

  • Build a strong network: You will learn from your peers and colleagues. In your network, include managers and executives that set an example for you, they will provide you with good advise. If you stay isolated, it will be difficult for you to progress. Your network will help you to grow.
  • Validate your work by skilled professionals: Seek advice when you work on a presentation--proposal, recommendation, technical documentation. You will be better prepared, it will help you to consider important points that you might have missed.
  • Face and resolve issues when they appear; do not play the ostrich. If you detect an issue within your domain, discuss it with peers. If this is a true one, face it and drive its resolution. If you do not do it, there is risk that this problem will surface later, and it will be more difficult and painful to solve it. If you identify it an opened way, there is chance that you will be helped. You will always learn something from it.
  • Deliver as per your commitment: Meet what you have committed. This is how you will gain credibility and authority. If you see problems to meet your commitment, see what you can do, like reprioritise other activities; In any case, inform and agree with your customer on what you can do ... but this time, no other choice to deliver !
  • Do this all in an open and trustful way.

[Know someone who thinks their IT job is awesome? Introduce them to me at debperelman [at] gmail [dot] com.]

Topics: IBM, CXO

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4 comments
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  • Hope you didn't design this mess.

    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/IT-Management/Texas-Hooks-IBM/
    bjbrock
  • Complexity and Enterprise Architecture

    Martine says, "It is very easy to become overwhelmed by complexity and it is very difficult to maintain simplicity, especially when the scope is large, the number of team members is high. So better to have a simple architecture from the start, clearly showing the benefits for the Business."

    On one hand, I applaud Martine's awareness of the importance of simplicity when it comes to Enterprise Architecture. On the other hand, I feel there is some degree of naivety in this understanding of the nature of complexity.

    Marine appears to be saying that if you build your architectures simple from the beginning, you will have addressed the problem of complexity. There are several problems with this understanding of complexity. First of all, making an architecture "simple" depends on the eyes of the viewer. What is simple to me may be complex to you. A better goal than making architectures "simple" is to make architectures "as simple as possible." It is not possible to prove that an architecture is "simple", since "simple" is subjective. But it is possible to show that an architecture is "as simple as possible." The test for "as simple as possible" involves showing that the functionality follows the rules of synergistic partitioning. If you can find a subset of functionality that violates synergistic partitioning, then you know the architecture can be made simpler. If there is no such subset, the architecture is as simple as it can possibly get, and any further efforts to simplify the architecture will actually make it more complex.

    My second issue with Martine's understanding of complexity involves the implicit assumption that just because an architecture starts simple that it will stay simple. In fact, architectures tend towards increasing complexity unless ongoing effort is put into keeping them simple. It is harder to keep an architecture simple than it is to make it simple in the first place. It requires an continuing analysis of new functionality and rigorous placement of all new functionality according to the rules of synergistic partitioning.

    Whose job is it to keep make sure than architectures start out "as simple as possible" and stays that way for the system's lifespan? In my view, this is the primary responsibility of the enterprise architect. Only this person has the business perspective needed to identify synergies and the technical perspective needed to understand partitioning.

    An organization that lacks a viable program in enterprise architecture will pay a severe cost in IT complexity. Complexity is the enemy. Enterprise Architecture is the solution. The only solution.

    - Roger Sessions
    www.objectwatch.com
    author of Simple Architectures for Complex Enterprises
    roger@...
  • RE: My Awesome IT Job: Enterprise Architect, IBM

    Hi Martine, I love your job description. I would love to live in Paris and practice EA for IBM. Having been technical for more than a decade, and done business analysis for a year, I fell in love with the business rules approach and then with enterprise architecture of which I just got certified last year.
    Khanh Luu
    pknluu@gmail.com
    pknluu
    • RE: Enterprise Architecture Support Professional at IBM

      Hi All

      I am a Support Professional at IBM supporting IBM Rational System Architect. I love my job and fortunate to see experienced professionals sharing thier interests and exposure on the same. I am into this since the last 2.5 years working from India. I would be interested to know how I can get myself certified as an Enterprise Architect in India. Please provide me inputs on this as it would help me excel in this field.

      Regards
      Praveen
      praveen.sreenivasan