I love trees. We can plant them now and they provide a bit of structure, shade, and interest. But it is hard to imagine or understand the impact they will have in 10 years. Hard to imagine how tall they will be. Will they dominant the space? Trees grow providing homes for birds and insects. They impact their surrounding environment. And this impact changes over time and in the different seasons. We plant today, but the impact is long term.
Digital architecture is bit like trees. Whenever we create or use software we need digital architecture. And the choices we make today often have long term impact. Growing up we had locust trees near our house that we’re stunningly beautiful. However, every autumn we were cursing them as we had to weekly clean our gutters of their leaves. The choice of tree (architecture) resulting in significant extra work. Decisions around how we structure our data (or don’t), what techincal stack to use, how we route our data, what design choices we make, and so on all have impact now and in the future.
Choices made around 10 years ago (perhaps longer) are part of the reason data portability is so hard. It just wasn’t thought about then.
As a friend once said – Culture may eat Strategy for Breakfast, but Architecture eats culture.