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Unveiling the Common Threads: Insights from My Diverse IT Experience

Christine Watts
June 19, 2023

As a new member of SogetiLabs I thought it would be nice to kick off my blog series with a quick introduction to who I am, my experience, and how that experience has shaped my perspectives. First things first, a little about me. I started my career in IT over 35 years ago working on an IBM System/36, an early midrange computer and predecessor to the AS400. At the time it was considered leading edge to work on a midrange computer. Writing in RPG, DPPX Cobol, and assembly language the system we supported (myself and two other programmer analysts) was a parts tracking system for the aerospace division of an American multinational aircraft company. Looking at how much has changed since then, I cannot help but tell myself “You have come a long way.”

Fast forward to today, I have had the pleasure of working across many different technologies and industries giving me what I feel is a unique perspective. From my first job supporting manufacturing, to financial services, insurance, telecommunications, retail, supply chain and distribution systems, technology, and healthcare (both payer and provider), I can say I have nearly seen it all. Each one of these industries has their unique way of operating. They each deliver various products and services and have different customer segments. They each think they are special and have unique challenges that only exist in their industry. However, I can also say having worked in so many different industries and for more companies than I care to admit, that they are all more alike than they would like to believe. Its like different flavors of Kool-Aid. They may all be different colors and flavors. Some with sugar and some sugar free, some packages might make two quarts and others might make a gallon, but they are all Kool-Aid.

That simple analogy may give you a clue into how I think. I tend to keep it simple and try not to overthink things. I look for ways that problems or solutions may be like each other, seeing patterns in everything (I mean literally everything). And in my head, everything is seen as a problem and a solution. I think that is why architecture and engineering came naturally to me. As long as I can remember I have taken things apart to understand how they work but also why they work a certain way. Not being afraid to think out of the box, but not even drawing a box I had to think outside of.

My desire to want to understand how things work and why they work has led me into the practice of Enterprise Architecture. If you ask ten different Enterprise Architects to answer the question “What is Enterprise Architecture?” You will get ten different answers. And they would all be correct. Enterprise Architecture can be defined as the blueprint that defines the structure of an organization and how it operates, as a process by which an organization will standardize and organize its information technology, as a function of the business that looks to understand how the business operates through its people and many more examples. They are all true.

My view of enterprise architecture has been influenced by many experiences over my thirty-five plus year career. Early on by Deming philosophies and Total Quality Management, by Six Sigma and Lean methodologies, by Capability Maturity Model Integration best practices and Enterprise Architecture models such as TOGAF, and many years of living in the trenches of application development and infrastructure teams building and supporting systems.

I believe that Enterprise Architecture is not just a team or a box on an organizational chart. It is not just a set of principles and standards that guide you. It is more than just a mindset. It is a way of being. It is part of the DNA of an organization. I have had much success in building high performing architecture practices that have changed the culture and mindset of entire organizations. Empowering the people to deliver value through effective and efficient execution that is directly aligned to the strategic goals of the organization.

My future blog posts will dig into the topic of Enterprise Architecture. I plan to share my thoughts and experiences, successes and failures and look forward to collaborative discussion and debate on the topic.

About the author

Director Enterprise Architect | USA
I am a seasoned technology professional and thought leader with experience in many industries, serving as a Chief Enterprise Architect and CTO at multiple organizations, I have been responsible for building and leading high performing technology and architecture organizations, developing strategy & roadmaps, and ensuring alignment of technology spending with business strategy, goals & objectives.


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