The Importance of Architecture Roles in the Public Sector

Architecture is a hot topic in the public sector at the moment, as it is a vital system of interconnected software and hardware that defines an organisation’s conceptual structure. Here we look at what it is and why it is important.

What is technical architecture?

Technical architecture describes the design and documentation of the software and hardware that are needed to support technical solutions for an organisation’s computer systems. This includes all the IT infrastructure, the networks, the communications systems and the processing capabilities which are needed when new systems are being built or modified. When used correctly technical architecture can help an organisation align its business strategy with its technological solutions, ensuring that any new products or systems meet agreed standards of functionality. 

Technical architecture includes platforms, communication networks, operating and security systems, documents and end-user devices that are used on a daily basis, and may also be applied to such things as drones, data centres, virtual environments, and any robotic capabilities an organisation uses. 

Why is technical architecture important?

Technical architecture informs an organisation’s planning and ensures that any new software or products that are needed can integrate into that which is already there. In the public sector this is a major issue. Last year the Government published its Policy paper ‘Transforming for a digital future: 2022 to 2025 roadmap for digital and data’ in which it outlined its plans to transform the UK’s digital public services in order to create a ‘seamless and easy’ experience. In the document’s Foreword, Heather Wheeler MP, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, writes about the ambitions to transform the UK’s digital public services and to deliver world-class digital technology and systems through a transformation of how the Civil Service works, and create value for money for taxpayers. 

In the document there are four ‘Mission’s mentioned. If we look at number four we can see that Central Digital and Data Office has launched a risk framework to ‘identify and assess the highest risk legacy technology across government’. Legacy systems, some of which date back to the 1970s, pose a widespread problem across the public sector and there is no cohesive plan to modernise or replace them. This is particularly concerning when we consider that they are critical to the effective functioning of services like monitoring and securing the UK’s borders, as well as paying State Pensions. 

Why technical architects are important

The Government acknowledges that there is a dearth of specialists in the data, digital and technology sectors within the public sector. It notes that some of the systems it uses pose a high risk, are unreliable and contain security vulnerabilities. Furthermore, it suggests that many departments don’t understand their legacy estates and cross-governmental legacy risk is difficult to identify.

This is where technical architects come into their own. By creating a plan that meets current needs they also provide a structure for the future. In the case of the public sector, for example, a technical architect would need to consider what legacy technology is currently in use and devise a strategy for its continued use and replacement, while maintaining functionality and taking into consideration what needs the future will reveal. 

In demand

The shortage of skilled and experienced digital and technology specialists in the UK means that talented technical architects are in demand, particularly in the public sector. Many of those roles are within the public sector, offering talent the opportunity to play a vital role in the improvement of public services for the betterment of everyone in the UK. 

If you’re considering a role as a technical architect, or need to source vital talent to help your organisation function more effectively, get in touch today. You can call us on 020 8253 1800, email us at contact@global-resourcing.com or fill in the contact form here.
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