At a recent client event, I was struck by the formidable depth of experience of the architects that Capgemini had assembled for the client. What was even more apparent was the way a group of architects from across different areas of Capgemini worked together as a team; it was a great example of the Capgemini mantra ‘The Power of One’.
As my first post on the Capgemini Blog, I want to provide an insight into architects and architecture at Capgemini and its relevance to our clients.
- Technical Knowledge: As architects, we are required to have broad technical knowledge. Online training is developed to keep us up to date on the latest technologies and techniques. In addition, we need to be subject matter or domain experts in one or more areas. For myself, that’s primarily in the digital domain.
- Culture: As an architect community, we all contribute and share knowledge through internal presentations, forums and group collaborations. For example, I am working on an Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiative which involves knowledge sharing and working with other colleagues in Europe.
- Collaboration: We often reach out, share and engage with other parts of Capgemini. Recently, for an Industry 4.0 opportunity, I have been working with teams in Europe, India and the US.
- Innovation and Sharing: It is the role of the architect to drive innovation and change, both within Capgemini and with our clients. The Capgemini Week of Innovation (CWIN) is a global annual event for clients, partners and colleagues, where we showcase our insights on the latest innovations and technology trends. (See also ‘The New Role of the Architect’).
- Assurance: We have a certification scheme, based primarily on successfully delivering projects of sufficient complexity, which helps provide assurance to clients about the skill level of the architects assigned to their projects. Mentoring and coaching are a fundamental part of the certification process. Training for the certification looks at the end-to-end ownership of the delivery and meeting the business needs of our clients.
- Delivery: We have a variety of different architecture roles including Business, Cloud, Data, Digital, Enterprise, Innovation, Software, Solution and Delivery Architects; many architects will have experience in several of these roles. The thing that all architect roles in Capgemini have in common is delivery; in essence we are all delivery architects. (See also ‘Role of a Delivery Architect’). Architects gain experience in delivering the end to end solution, from business opportunity, a focus on business benefits, providing thought leadership and technical innovation, maintaining close relationships with engineering teams and third party technical suppliers, through to implementation and service.
I’ve left the most important aspect to last; and that’s the way we do training as part of our professional development. Many of our Architects are TOGAF certified. Being TOGAF certified, doesn’t by itself make someone a good architect. What makes the difference on our TOGAF course, is that it’s not just theory; attendees collaborate in workshops learning how to apply TOGAF through teamwork. Also, the course is guided by facilitators who are experienced architects, not trainers. So, our TOGAF certified architects don’t just know TOGAF, they have also practiced it and used it collaboratively, as a team.
I mentioned TOGAF first because it is the architecture framework that our clients’ architects are most likely to be familiar with and is one that I facilitate. Capgemini also uses the Capgemini Integrated Architecture Framework (IAF), which allows us to develop new techniques, such as agile architecture, and which supplements and expands on TOGAF in some areas where TOGAF is weak. Some of our experiences with IAF are shared in our TOGAF training and are contributed to the TOGAF standard through workgroups and whitepapers.
Our IAF based courses, and the courses for our certification scheme, use the same training techniques: team-based classroom practical sessions, and experienced architects as facilitators.
The role of any architect is a broad one, combining innovation, technology, and business knowledge together with solution ownership and delivery. What distinguishes Capgemini from a client’s perspective, is that when we assemble a team with architects, they have a common architecture language, a wide range of in depth technical knowledge, backup from the architecture community and most importantly, have experience of working as a team using modern techniques.