I attend a lot of industry events, the majority of which are coordinated or sponsored by a vendor. The quality of the events always varies, however the opportunity to meet with peers and share stories is always valuable.

Unfortunately, the vendor usually has a different primary objective, generally looking for feedback, or worse, attempting to sell something through a barrage of “marketecture” (marketing and architecture). These topics can be useful, but it often results in a tightly managed agenda that is focused on the vendor needs, providing little time for community discussion.

In 2017, I decided to launch my own UK Enterprise Architecture Forum, with the goal to create an open community for architects, which does not include any vendor bias. The forum would be created, coordinated and facilitated by the community, with the agenda items being crowdsourced, based on what is most topical.

In January, I sent out an open invite, asking people to sign-up to the forum via a Slack Team (UKArchitecture).

The response was better than expected, with over thirty-five people, across twenty-five companies expressing an interest to join the forum. This included industry veterans from large fortune 500 companies (more than 100,000 employees), to start-ups who are at the very beginning of their journey (less than 50 employees).

In March, we held the first forum (hosted at my company office), with twenty people in attendance. We had previously brainstormed agenda items (via Slack), resulting in the following topics:

  • Reference Architecture Methodologies
  • Cloud Centre of Excellence
  • Scaling DevOps Operating Model
  • Attracting and Retaining Developer Talent
  • Continuous Integration / Delivery
  • .Net Classic vs .Net Core Positioning
  • Managing Legacy, specifically SAP and Oracle
  • Data and Data Integrations
  • Salesforce.com App Cloud Licensing
  • Buzz Words… Big Data, AI, IoT

We also had two dedicated sessions, covering specific use cases. I shared our end-to-end developer experience, including our Continuous Integration / Delivery setup, whilst another forum member shared their Data Lake architecture, including the journey from a traditional hierarchical data warehouse.

alt text

Overall the feedback from the first forum was incredibly positive and I was personally pleased with the high level of engagement and quality of the conversation.

Prior to closing, we agreed to run the forum once per quarter, with a different member of the community hosting and helping to coordinate the agenda. The second forum is already booked and set to take place in June.

If you are interested in joining the UK EA Forum, please don’t hesitate to contact me (LinkedIn) and I can certainly add you to the distribution list.