Ireland – a Burgeoning Hub for Architectural Excellence

Tuesday, we shared an article in A&G about how Ireland is a “Centre of Excellence,” where several leading IT architects and technologists are bringing a cutting-edge business technology approach to Ireland, literally architecting the country’s “digital future.”

Today, we wanted to take a look behind the curtain of that initiative with some of its leaders and external stakeholders to get a better sense of the motivation and plans behind it.

First, we asked Dave Feenan, Director at Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet, about the importance of developing architecture skills for Ireland from the perspective of ICT.

“As a global hub for technology organisations, Ireland is embracing the development and professionalisation of its business and technology architecture talent pool through a unique relationship between IASA Global and the Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet,” Feenan said. “Ireland has to compete for tech talent in a global economy. Striving to achieve excellence in the field of architecture not only acts as a catalyst to attract companies to set up in Ireland but also facilitates the scaling of companies out of Ireland. Business and technology architects are highly sought after, and this partnership allows us to enhance their competencies and skills, affording them a career pathway with globally recognised professional certifications.”

Then, we sought out Mark Greville, VP of Architecture at Workhuman (IASA CITA-D), to discuss the importance and value of being a board certified professional or distinguished architect.

“To do architecture well requires architects who can do a great job,” Greville said. “This means understanding business drivers, having exceptional communication skills, as well as knowledge – of strategy, execution, and technology in particular. Education and certification programs help enormously. The best architects are recognised by other architects – which is why board-certified architects are a virtual guarantee. Ireland has traditionally punched above its weight in technology and in architecture. Therefore, I am extremely excited about the Iasa and Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet partnership. I believe we can create something unique here – a world class centre of excellence which can train and develop certified architects through their career. These architects can help lift the profession of architecture, develop, and educate others and help deliver outstanding results for the organisations they go on to work with.”

David Jones, Head European Enterprise Applications, Canada Life Europe (Iasa CITA-D), who helped develop the ‘Level Up’ initiative (highlighted in the ‘Ireland as a Centre of Excellence…’ article) outlined the overall CoE program and the plans for 2024 and beyond.

“A key goal of the CoE in Ireland for 2024 is to make a step change in the local industry,” said Jones. “We are doing this by bringing many of the existing senior and highly experienced architects through this rigorous and independent board certification process (IASA’s CITA-Professional and CITA-Distinguished) and in supporting the growth of key Iasa communities here in Ireland including ‘Women in Architecture Forum’, ‘Chief Architecture Forum’ and others. Our plans with ICT and Iasa also include growing the pipeline, skills and competencies of aspiring, mid-level and senior architects across specialization. It is an exciting time with lots of opportunities to grow and mature the profession here in Ireland.”

Gar Mac Criosta, Digital Advisor, Health Service Executive Ireland (Iasa CITA-D) who also helped bring the ‘Level Up’ program to life, discussed the challenges he has seen in his career.

“I spent years working with organisations evaluating and developing strategies to increase maturity, architecture inevitably ended up as a critical enabling capability. Architecture requires architects with the right skills and experience, ‘Level Up’ will help Ireland grow architects but also improve Organisation Maturity. Another issue for many large organisations is that the vast majority of change programs are sourced via partners. I have experienced situations where the Maturity of the partner is greater than the clients, in this situation the client abdicates, and decision-making authority is ceded to the partner. In my experience this never ends well. One of the key roles where this is felt is architecture. This relationship between suppliers and clients is essential to success. The ‘Level Up’ program will equalise competencies in both, and lead to significant gains in project success, value and risk mitigation.”

To gain a perspective from the resourcing community we spoke with David McEvoy, Director at Sabeo.

“Over the 15 years Sabeo has worked closely with our clients providing a flexible resourcing solution for the provision of IT contract and permanent resources for a wide range of projects.

Over this time, we have gained a thorough understanding of the technical and cultural environment of our client sites and developed a very good working relationship with all key stakeholders within our client base. We currently operate on a 2:1 placement ratio which hugely benefits the senior stakeholders and hiring managers with their individual workflow and processes. We have invested a lot of time and effort to source and screen appropriate resources and following their successful on-boarding we manage the contractor’s welfare once on site.   This enables Sabeo to keep attrition levels to a minimum and sustained continuity to our clients.

“Our alignment with the ‘Level Up’ initiative through ICT and Iasa will help streamline the selection process for both ourselves and our client base and improve the resourcing service we currently provide through the certification programs they have in place. Iasa will also provide a pathway for our contractors to upskill in the areas of Software Architecture, Infrastructure Architecture, Information Architecture and Business Architecture.”

Finally, Leo Peyton, Commercial Director at Iasa Global, outlined why these activities in Ireland are so important.

“This initiative from the community in Ireland is a great example of what can happen when some of the country’s leading architects come together to drive forward their own profession, standardize and externalize skills, competency development and certification. Growing a strong independent profession requires a strategic approach and buy in, not just from key professionals and thought leaders, but also influential corporations, government initiatives, recruitment companies, skills development agencies and so on. We are seeing this happen now in Ireland and as it grows, we believe it is a model that will translate to many other countries.”