Celent Says

Like Doctors, Enterprise Architects Should Do No Harm

Benjamin Moreland
Insurance Experts' Forum, September 20, 2010

Many people believe that the Hippocratic Oath states that a doctor is not to leave a patient in worse condition than before they treated them. While it doesn’t state that explicitly, it is clearly a goal of any conscientious doctor. Enterprise architects should follow a similar mantra of not leaving a system in a worse state than before they attempt a fix. While there are many differences between doctors and architects (hopefully a doctor wouldn’t consider amputating an arm and replacing it just because a mechanical one could serve better), there are many similarities when architects plan for a core system fix or modernization.

Many architects are quick to consider rip-and-replace solutions for core legacy systems. Today’s distributed applications are integrated with other supported or process-related systems; or leverage legacy components or systems used by other applications. Similar to treating a body ailment, there are many dependencies and complications that can arise if the entire picture is not taken into consideration.

I am reminded of the series “House,” in which—in many episodes—the patient becomes much worse before they truly understand what the ailment is and are able to fix it. In these shows, the patient is already in critical condition ,and the doctor didn’t have the opportunity (or time) to research and do the advance planning to understand all the implications of decisions made in the hope of healing the patient. Many architects are placed in the same position when a premium-bearing application goes down. However, this should not be the case during design.

Similarly, there are too many instances in which architects and developers jump on the latest and greatest bandwagon, trying to force everything into the new standard or methodology, when the existing solution works just fine. When modernizing a new core system, upgrading most of the interfaces is a fine objective and can provide great benefits, especially through re-use. But there are instances where leveraging an existing point-to-point solution as-is works just as well, and is much less costly. As the Hippocratic oath does explicitly state, “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.” Used in the right circumstances, this should apply to architecture as well.

This blog has been reprinted with permission from Celent.

Benjamin Moreland is a senior analyst in Celent's insurance practice, and can be reached at bmoreland@celent.com.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Ben using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Data Governance in Insurance Carriers

As the insurance industry moves into a more data-centric world, data governance becomes more critical for ensuring the data is consistent, reliable and usable for analysis.

Fear This

Just days before this Issue, which contains our security cover story, went to press, we got some interesting news: 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords and 542 million email addresses were reportedly stolen from 420,000 websites, according to The New York Times. The websites ranged from Fortune 500 companies down to small online retailers.

Should You Back Up Enterprise Data to the Cloud?

Six questions that need to be asked before signing on with an outside service.

Modernizing Information Management

While better reporting and actuarial analysis help to support financial decisions, improved analytics and decision making greatly assist the rest of the organization.

5 Strategies to Change the Game

Allstate's director of technology and operations says disruptive innovation has the power to completely change industries — ours included.

Strategic Planning: Here and Now

Insurers’ annual strategic planning efforts can benefit from an infusion of tactical reality.

Advertisement

Advertisement