It was nearly a year ago to the day that I had the opportunity to discuss some of the challenges facing the technologies divisions at Go Daddy with our CIO:
- The sophistication of the IT environment was increasing at an accelerated rate, as the rapidly growing production footprint required more substantial infrastructure, interoperability, and support services.
- The role and requirements of product development continued to advance to account for increasing intricacies of runtime environments, factoring in scalability designing for global scope with geographical disparity, and leveraging the sophisticated technologies required to deliver services of the desired caliber.
- The duties and expectations of the Project Managers were becoming more challenging as project work evolved into more specialized and complex forms. Demands for both pre-existing support and competing projects lead to missed deadlines, which further aggravate the problem through perpetual context switching and thrashing.
I would imagine these are not unfamiliar scenarios for some of you that work in technologies—these are the typical artifacts of sustained hyper-growth. We realized that, while we were great at delivering and scaling individual projects, we lacked a role responsible for the oversight of the development of enterprise-wide application and systems design. If individual projects are buildings and product lines are technology parks, we needed some city planners. And thus, the idea for the Enterprise Architecture team was born.
The discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is still relatively new and, it seems, thoughts of what this role exactly means vary widely. At its heart, the rigor of EA is designed to document an understanding of present and desired states, develop a transition plan from the former to the latter, and ensure that all levels of stakeholders needs are met along the way. At Go Daddy, the goal of this team is to maximize business value through ensuring alignment of technologies with business strategy and goals. Our responsibility is to be well informed of the business strategy, understand current technology capacities/capabilities, and be abreast of emerging technologies so that we may guide architectural and technology strategies. We collaborate with service/project teams to guide, and ultimately approve, all phases of architecture, just as building architects submit their blueprints to the city for zoning approval.
After a year-long road from conception to creation, the EA team has now officially launched. We are busy developing our methodology and architectural framework (a hybrid of several well-established public and private sector efforts), and have begun guiding several architectural efforts. There will be much more to come as this year unfolds…