Software Designed for Your Business
Today many organizations are software companies, whether they acknowledge it or not. Modern commerce is at a point where software is in most cases required to conduct business transactions - and many companies sell software products as their primary line of business. Small companies can often simply use off-the-shelf software solutions for their needs; however, large organizations typically implement internal solutions to retain control over the full customer engagement lifecycle.
Well-architected and well-designed software should appear to take a step back from the purpose it serves, almost becoming invisible. A user of such a software system should perform the function they need to without the system hindering their process. Reaching this point of seamless accessibility and function is challenging, but attempting to do so means businesses can significantly enhance user satisfaction, customer loyalty, spending, and reach.
Identify Flaws Early
Many types of flaws arise during the implementation phase of a software system. Diligence and additional processes are required during development to minimize the incidence and severity of such defects. Today this typically means constant testing, iteration, and refinement throughout the implementation of a software product. Functional flaws generally are allocated the most considerable attention for fixing; however, many other types of faults can remain - and may have a significant negative impact on user satisfaction. These include usability flaws, having users perform convoluted journeys to complete simple functions; performance and scalability issues, where the system cannot meet user demand; or most severely, security issues, where confidentiality of customers and their data is compromised.
Flaws are cheaper to resolve the earlier they are identified. Modern software development practices encourage ongoing, iterative identification and resolution; however, it is also vital to conduct sufficient up-front architecture and design work to avoid as many issues as possible ahead of time. The “best” flaw is one that is purposefully never encountered, where development time is not wasted in reaching it, backing out a flawed implementation, nor finding a way to resolve or work around it. Establishing robust software architecture practices as part of a broader software product delivery lifecycle can significantly help mitigate flaws ahead of time and reduce the impact of any flaws that are encountered.
What Is Software Architecture Design?
Similar to physical buildings, an architecture design is a blueprint for building and operating a software system. Architecture should identify a system’s major components, the responsibility that each piece fulfills (how areas map to business processes), the data required within each area, how communication happens across boundaries, and how each part should be deployed and scaled. Every system has such a blueprint; however, some systems may only have an implicit blueprint if their architecture is not documented externally to the software implementation itself. For simple products, an implicit architecture may be enough. As systems increase in scope and size, the importance of having a well-documented architecture blueprint grows.
Good software architecture should identify the logical and physical layouts of the system components. If produced ahead of time, the system’s implementation can use the architecture design as a template for exactly what to build. However, in the real world, where requirements and technologies are continually evolving, it is next to impossible to produce a perfect architecture at the start of development. Software architecture differs from traditional architecture in this way - software design and implementation need to adapt over time to meet ever-changing needs from the business, customers, and the broader technology industry.
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Industries We ServeAt SitePen, we have applied our expertise across a wide range of industries and solution scales. We have worked on products for financial services, technology (proprietary and open-source), public services, hospitality, and recreation industries, amongst others. Our work includes discrete business-to-customer and business-to-business solutions and internal cross-cutting concerns such as technology strategy setting, requirements analysis, user experience & user interface design, software and cloud infrastructure design, migration, uplift, and software solution implementations.
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Software Architecture FAQs
Software implementations that do not cater to some form of architecture design, planning, and review will typically require significantly higher investment to achieve success. Releasing a system in an unknowingly-compromised state forces businesses to endure a loss of customer confidence and reduced revenue. This extra hidden cost comes in through several overlapping angles - wasted effort implementing fundamentally flawed paths, backtracking and rewriting areas to achieve stated goals, as well as losses in business and customer confidence through insufficient capacity planning.
Having a robust architecture process as part of your software implementation lifecycle can significantly mitigate these risks, allowing you to deliver successful products with minimal issues.