Information Technology (IT) Architecture refers to the “high-level” plan of an information system asset or software within an organization. The term also defines the specifications, guidelines, attributes, and models of an IT system or software. Developers and IT engineers construct these systems through a process known as “systems engineering.” Such systems have both non-functional and functional requirements. The functional attributes define the functions, structures, and behaviors of the IT systems (Wiegers, 2010). The non-functional requirements mainly examine the applicability or “operational” ability of the IT systems or software. Such requirements are critical because they determine the attributes, constraints, and qualities of each IT system.
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Some examples of non-functional requirements include “extensibility,” maintainability, and portability. Extensibility is a critical concept because it plays a significant role in IT architecture. According to Wiegers (2010), “extensibility” refers to the ability to add or make new “changes” without necessarily altering the original program or system. This non-functional requirement is essential for any solid architecture so that it can successfully support different information systems. A solid IT architecture might not accommodate certain functions or changes if such “requirements” are unavailable. For instance, an organization might be required to widen its services without necessarily affecting its current performance. The attribute makes it easier to widen the services while using the same IT structure. As well, the end-users of the IT system might be required to create their own “scripts” or come up with “user-defined” fields.
Extensibility is an important concept because it can make an IT system useful. This quality of any IT architecture or system is critical because it can help an organization make new changes to its systems. As well, all IT architectures should have an “adjustable” database schema in order to accommodate any new changes. As well, the IT system should allow the user to do something known as “Inversion of Control” (IoC). The system should also allow third-party users and developers to “leverage” the system and use it in accordance with their needs and expectations (Withall, 2007).
Each non-functional attribute or requirement of an information system (IS) makes it easier for employees to use the software in an effective manner. For example, a good IT system should accommodate these “non-functional requirements such as maintainability, security, scalability, extensibility, portability, and portability” (Withall, 2007, p. 58). Software developers and companies can use their existing IT systems to make various changes. This is necessary for producing new software systems that can help companies realize their goals. This non-functional attribute helps companies use their IT systems effectively. According to Wiegers (2010), different companies in the communication industry can use their current IT systems to introduce new software for “monitoring” purposes. This will help the users locate callers and internet devices.
Many users might not need most of these non-functional attributes. However, such attributes are necessary because they make the software more effective and reliable. Some financial companies, such as banks, might purchase an IT system to record transactions and deposits. However, users can modify any software with the “extensibility” feature to record and display all the transactions in “real-time” (Wiegers, 2010). This example explains why companies should ensure their IT systems have these non-functional attributes. This discussion also encourages software and systems developers to consider such attributes in order to make them more reliable and effective.
Wiegers, K. (2010). More About Software Requirements: Thorny Issues and Practical Advice. Washington DC: Microsoft Press. Web.
Withall, S. (2007). Software Requirement Patterns (Best Practices). Washington DC: Microsoft Press. Web.