The Role of Data Architect

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Data architects create and maintain organisational knowledge about data and the systems that data moves through. They sit between business strategy and technology execution. 

The role of Data Architect is an essential leader for a modern business. Whilst previous incarnations of the role may have been technology focussed, in the modern data environment architects are concerned with value creation, organisational and social factors and how their design decisions will impact value in a way that they may not have been in the past. 

The role of Data Architect having passed through three distinct phases over the last 20 years. 

Data Architect v1.0 was born out of a need to design data warehouses, ETL transformations  and business intelligence reporting – it was mainly technically focussed, based around a skill set of relational database technologies hosted in on-premises server technology. 

Data Architect v2.0 arrived with the advent of widely-available public cloud technology and the proliferation of cheap compute and storage, and the proliferation of the available types of data stores. It brought about responsibility for the creation and management of data lakes, and enterprise data governance platforms for cataloging and managing metadata and lineage.

The modern Data Architect, to be considered v3.0, has now arrived and has the value proposition of data at it heart. This requires greater leadership, social and organisational awareness to create thriving teams, federated governance and self-service platforms. 

When business and technology leaders seek transformation to data management practice it is now likely that the solution will be underpinned firstly by distinct data domains and product teams under a framework of global policies and principles. Technology considerations are firmly secondary.