Monday, October 20, 2008

Why technical architecture is important to your businessNo Commentscomments

Many business executives view applications as a commodity and just want applications built at the lowest cost possible. Offshore application project failures stem from the lack of a solid technical architecture. Our clients often ask us to reduce our rates, whether our proposals can be done with offshore resources, or why one of our competitor’s bids is x% lower than our recommended solution. Our answer is

the following analogy we often share with our clients:

Application development is exactly like designing and building a house. In order for you to begin designing your dream house, you would need to know the type of house you want to build, such as a a 3,000 square foot, two floor Victorian style home with four bedrooms and three baths, and a furnished basement. Once you know what you want as a dream house, you’ll need to hire an architect to come up with the design, blueprint and define the foundation required to keep the house from falling apart when there’s a minor earthquake. You’ll also need to retain a general contractor to help oversee the building of your dream house.

With the foundational design in hand, a general contractor will help you find and manage the electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc to begin construction. During the construction of your dream house, you would keep your architect engaged to ensure the structures and beams are strong enough to prevent the house from collapsing. You will also expect the general contractor to keep you up to date with status reports, resolve open issues for you, and help you manage your budget and risks. Meanwhile, you’ll probably have minimum to no interaction with the plumbers, electricians, etc.

Upon completion of the dream house, you’ll probably want to have an interior and exterior designer to decorate your house based on your taste. Painting the room with a specific color, hanging up lamps, putting up the floor to ceiling curtains will probably not require a general contractor or an architect. However, aesthetic is what you are going to see and judge as the final product. Your dream house will receive a lot of complements as you host guests. The interior designer generally gets all the credit; but the work and effort from the architect to the plumber cannot be discounted. Applying the house building analogy to application development, the architect designing your house is the technical architect. The technical architect needs to ensure the application is designed properly and can scale as your business grows – i.e., your house will not fall apart when you have 30 guests on the second floor during your house warming or crumble when there’s a light tremor. Circling back to the original questions from our clients:

1. Can you build the application offshore?

Another way to ask this question is: can we build a house with low cost day laborers vs licensed electricians. The answer is yes, absolutely. However, you will still need an architect to

ensure the house has the proper structure, and a “done it all” general contractor to manage the project. No day laborer can replace a seasoned architect. Placing upfront investment in technical architecture ensures a solid foundation that can scale, so adding a balcony on the second floor of your Victorian a year later will have minimal impact to the structure of the house. Building an application without a strong project manager managing your offshore development effort is like having a general contractor who doesn’t understand electric circuits and wiring, or has never put up kitchen cabinets. The risk is extremely high when you send tasks offshore. Offshore developers are just like day laborers, they lack the understanding of the big picture and lack attention to details. A solid project manager will manage the risk of getting something back from your offshore team that does not meet 50% of your documented requirements.

2. Why is your competitor’s bid x% lower than yours?

Regardless if you’re designing and building a house or an application, the team is required to perform a list of tasks using a methodology. Invogen does not cut corners. We share our methodology with our clients and show them the level of effort required to complete the project. Invogen does not believe we 

Invogen offers both on shore and offshore development options to our clients and we explain the benefits and risks of each. Transparency is our service policy.

As seasoned architects and project managers, our team has deployed worldclass applications for Fortune 100 companies for the past decade. Invogen is also trusted by our clients to support their mission critical applications 24×7.

For more information, contact Garren Du, Managing Director of Invogen at garren.du@invogen.com.

Posted in gdu at 8:27 pm No Comments comments

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