Stephen Lahanas

Stephen Lahanas is Vice President and co-founder of Semantech Incorporated. He has served as a CIO, a Chief Engineer for the US Air Force and also served as an IT Architect for nearly a dozen other commercial and Federal projects. Mr. Lahanas has been an IT thought leader and innovator for nearly 20 years in the fields of E-learning, Semantic Technology, Cyber Security and Enterprise Architecture. Stephen also writes the "Technovation Talks" blog

What Does an IT Architect Do?

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What does an IT architect do? It’s an interesting question not only for those thinking about a career as an IT architect, but also for anyone working in IT, because there isn’t a consistent definition of the job within the industry. Architects who do more or less the same things with the same skills may be referred to as enterprise architects, solution architects, project architects, IT architects, technical architects, data architects, application architects, business architects, cloud or SOA architects, and… continue…

Build Vs. Buy: the 7 Most Important Questions to Ask

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Software is the lifeblood of most IT departments. So it’s logical that determining when to buy a packaged solution versus building a custom one for a given business requirement is one of the most common types of decisions they have to make. Usually, making the “Buy versus Build” decision involves both technical and business resources. How it’s done varies greatly from one enterprise to the next. Some organizations spend a significant amount of time deciding, while others focus more on… continue…

SharePoint as an Architecture Repository

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Over the past decade, enterprise architecture as a practice has gained quite a bit of traction. Where EA hasn’t taken root yet, solution architecture is often practiced. One of the biggest challenges to the adoption of any type of IT architecture practice or department is the ability to integrate it into the larger solutions lifecycle of any given organization. This is typically a challenge because: The culture of the organization isn’t sure about the value proposition for architecture. The working… continue…

Aligning User Stories, Use Cases and Requirements

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In a previous post, I contended that requirements are still an important part of most enterprise environments, even those that might be using Agile lifecycle methodologies. However, I didn’t specify exactly how those requirements should be captured — or what even constitutes a requirement. This is an important question that spans both Agile and Waterfall methodologies. Many organizations feel that user stories are sufficient to build both code and project structures around. Is it out of the question to consider… continue…

Agile or Not, Requirements Management Can’t Be Skipped

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These days, requirements management is often misunderstood or under-appreciated in IT. Many people have used migration to Agile methodologies as an excuse to discard requirements or rethink how they’re used to support most projects. One of the key tenets of Agile application development is not to over-think technical requirements in advance. The premise is that it’s usually impossible to accurately predict the details, which would invariably lead to costly rework after the fact—as opposed to an Agile approach of incremental refinement. So… continue…

5 Steps to Mastering Design Patterns

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Design patterns are an important part of software engineering today, but what many folks don’t realize is how ubiquitous they are becoming within the full spectrum of IT activities. This is partly due to the flexible nature of patterns. Mastering design patterns is a critical part now of most IT architects’ roles, and from a larger perspective is also becoming increasingly important for most enterprises. Design patterns are meant to accomplish three critical things: Increase the speed of the design… continue…

How EAs Can Juggle Roles With What They’ve Got

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Here’s a professional caveat regarding solution architects and enterprise architects: They’re often the same people. An EA and an SA can fill each others’ roles and, in fact, this happens quite a bit. That said, if you’re an EA who’s asked to take on a solutions architect’s role, there are differences between the types of work you’ll do. The good news is the roles share common skill sets, which is why they’re grouped under the umbrella “IT Architecture.” Confused? Here’s… continue…

The Key to Streamlining IT Governance

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Governance as a service is a relatively new concept, with few vendors currently providing tools specifically targeted to it. At first glance, IT governance doesn’t seem like a particularly complex topic. Remarkably, though, governance tends to be one of the hardest tasks facing the typical enterprise today, for many reasons. Among them: Most organizations don’t view governance holistically. In other words, they address it in chunks as governance-related challenges arise. This leads to different processes and subcultures for areas like data… continue…

How Do You Apply Integrated Design?

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When people think about design they often visualize Apple’s products or a user interface. But design in IT is much more than that. While many pieces of an overall lifecycle are concerned with design tasks, say like the UI, the process itself is also driven by the need to create functional systems. This holds true for both hardware and software, as well as complex enterprise initiatives like ERP or even cyber security. If we consider “design” as a verb—the activity… continue…

How Sequestration Will Threaten Your Job

Posted In Looking in Tech
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What happens to tech jobs if Congress and the President fail to agree on a deficit-reduction plan and drive off the so-called “Fiscal Cliff?” Unless you’ve been hiding out somewhere, you know that would lead to sequestration kicking in as soon as January. The one thing everyone agrees on is that won’t be good. Sequestration means that across-the-board spending cuts will be triggered. The exact amount of those cuts isn’t entirely clear, but some estimates place them at about $1.2… continue…