Expert Advice: How important is architecture in software development?

February 20th 2024
Roman Provaznik
.NET Center of Excellence Director at Ciklum Western Europe

When it comes to software development, there are thousands of things that could go right, and help your business drive new growth and revenue through top-quality applications. However, on the other side of the coin, there are thousands of things that could go wrong, many of which are internal within the development process, and are entirely preventable with the right planning and framework in place. And that’s where architecture software development comes in.

In this blog, we’ll explore what software architecture means in the current landscape, why it’s so important to successful application development, and how an expert-led approach can make a real difference.

What is software architecture?

Software architecture refers to the ways in which all the components within applications are designed, planned and structured. Good architectural design in software development involves making the right decisions on organization, component, interfaces and technologies. That way, it becomes much easier to align software to business objectives, integrate new technologies as they emerge, make an overall software estate future-proof, and enable better performance of all applications business-wide.

The role of an architect in software development

A software architect is a vital part of any successful software development. It’s their role to orchestrate how the software is organized internally, and ensure that the right product requirements are aligned, and the right resources are provisioned. Architects will generally be actively involved throughout the development process, and be able to visualize how technical, day-to-day work translates to overall objectives and goals for the project.

At Ciklum, the software development team operates within cross-functional units, following Agile methodologies to foster collaboration and flexibility. Software architects play a central role in guiding technical decisions, working closely with developers, project managers, and other stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. This collaborative approach ensures that architectural designs align with business objectives and technical requirements. 

Within the team, knowledge sharing is encouraged, with architects mentoring junior members and facilitating discussions on emerging technologies. Customer-centricity is paramount, with architects actively engaging with clients to understand their needs and deliver solutions that exceed expectations. This cohesive teamwork structure ensures the delivery of high-quality software solutions tailored to each client's unique requirements.

The importance of software architecture

The phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ rings very true when it comes to software development. It sets a foundation for the process end-to-end, and ensures that everything stays on track, even when things get complicated or something unexpected happens along the way. The vital areas that software architecture supports include:

Icon1_clean platform A clear platform to build on

Software architecture removes any ambiguity from the development process. Right from the outset, all requirements - whether they’re over-arching at project level, or they’re much more granular and technical - can be set out and understood by all relevant stakeholders. Without it, development lacks the clear direction that ensures it’s executed in a timely and high-quality manner, and becomes more difficult to maintain and manage along the way.

Icon2_client+team communication Team and client communications

Connected to the previous point, software architecture can act as the conduit for communications between different teams and stakeholders involved in the process. Common documentation and platforms for discussion can ensure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and working in the right direction, even when systems are particularly complex, and responsibilities vary substantially from team to team.

Icon3_Streamlining coding Streamlining coding

Software architecture can identify opportunities to reuse or duplicate code in multiple areas throughout development. This can generate major time and resource savings, and make it possible to maximize flexibility and meet new business requirements quickly and without causing unnecessary disruption.

Icon4_security checks Additional security checks and risk mitigation

Software architecture enables the incorporation of additional security checks and risk mitigation strategies into the development process. By considering security from the ground up, potential vulnerabilities can be identified and addressed early, reducing the likelihood of security breaches and protecting sensitive data.

Icon5_Speed and accessibility of change Speed and accessibility of change

There will always be a requirement for software applications to change, whether that’s adjustments to the scope of a development project, adding new features and enhancements after go-live, or fixing bugs that crop up along the way. Where software architecture comes in is the act of assessing the appropriate action required for changing, and managing it along the way. For example, if a change only affects a single element, or just a few elements but without touching the overall application architecture, then the change work can be limited to those areas to minimize complexity and disruption.

Icon6_fast product launches Fast product launches

Having an architect oversee the development process can help ensure that any bumps in the road are dealt with swiftly and efficiently. This can ensure first and foremost that development schedules are kept to and deadlines are met, but can also mean in some cases that development can be accelerated. At a time when fast speed-to-market and first-mover advantage can be critical, this can be a real driver of greater revenue, alongside reductions in development, maintenance and hardware costs.

In summary

While software architecture can be transformative before, during and after development, it can be tricky and time-consuming to get right, especially if your organization hasn’t done it in detail before. It can quickly feel like an inconvenience and something you don’t have the resources to devote to properly, which is why it can be so invaluable to turn to the help of an expert partner instead.

Ciklum has been devising software architectures for several years, helping businesses like yours cut the complexity, disruption and inefficiencies from software development processes. Our customer-centric design processes, future-proofed innovation and holistic approach to development ensures that no stone is left unturned, and your applications get the perfect combination of technology, experience, scalability, security and performance.



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