Engineering the Future of Software
Feb 25–26, 2018: Training
Feb 26–28, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

The architect as strategist

Eben Hewitt (Sabre)
10:45am–12:15pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Enterprise architecture, Leadership skills
Location: Sutton North
Secondary topics:  Best Practice, Framework-focused
Average rating: ****.
(4.54, 28 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Architects, CTOs, CIOs, engineering and business leaders, and executives

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Experience creating or implementing architecture
  • Familiarity with your company's technology strategy

What you'll learn

  • Learn a pragmatic framework to interrogate analyze, organize, and represent a comprehensive and actionable technology strategy


The architect’s role is moving up the stack, more and more often finding a seat at the table of important business discussions. Like architecture itself, strategy is the kind of thing that many people agree is important, find tantalizing, and want to do, but fewer understand what this strategy actually means or looks like. Architects and CTOs often find themselves called upon to create their organization’s technology strategy. That sounds fantastic until you realize that even as a skilled architect, you don’t actually know what the parts of a strategy are, what should be included in your deliverable, how you can research and understand it according to a method, and how to package it all up. You have a sneaking suspicion that simply writing “microservices in the cloud” will be met with approval, but it’s also wildly underwhelming and isn’t what’s really desired, expected, or needed. So what is? What is a “good” technology strategy, and what tools and patterns can you use to create one that’s meaningful, impactful, executable, and operational?

Architects have a variety of well-known frameworks and tools to create representations of architecture at the level they’re comfortable with, whether application architecture or data architecture. They might use tools like UML or Erwin within the context of well-understood frameworks such as TOGAF or Zachmann, with a set of established patterns. At the same time, strategists from firms like Bain and McKinsey and management thought leaders like Michael Porter of Harvard helped introduce the concepts of strategy into the business world, creating a set of patterns that executives use in planning how to marshal their resources to understand what markets to enter, what companies to acquire, what products to invest in, and how to organize for success. But there’s a gap at the intersection of technology and strategy. Today more than ever, the two are necessarily intertwined, yet architects and strategists do not enjoy a common language or a shared, accepted understanding of how something as critical as technology strategy is represented. Left without a clear framework or comprehensive representation, strategy documents often end up as haphazard, unrefined, unsupportable decks that cannot be executed or operationalized through to success.

Eben Hewitt explains what the world’s top strategy firms can teach us about the intersection of strategic thinking and architecture to fill that gap and outlines a framework, process, and set of tools that will help you create a powerful technology strategy for your organization. Eben starts with what strategy is and what its accepted tools and patterns are, including SWOT, Porter’s Five Forces, PESTEL, Futures Funnels, radars, and more. He then explains what a business executive is really looking for in a technology strategy—and what they need to see from an architect (even if they don’t know themselves). You’ll leave able to apply these tested tools and techniques to represent your technology strategy in a way that will help you succeed.

Photo of Eben Hewitt

Eben Hewitt


Eben Hewitt is chief technology officer at Sabre Hospitaility, a multibillion-dollar global software company serving the travel industry. Previously, he was chief architect and vice president of product development at Sabre, CTO at one of the world’s largest hotel companies, and the CIO of O’Reilly Media. He has also been a book series editor. Eben is the author of several technical books published by O’Reilly, including Semantic Software Design, Technology Strategy Patterns, Cassandra: The Definitive Guide and Java SOA Cookbook, and a number of other software development books and technical articles. Eben is an award-winning software architect and has been an invited speaker at technology conferences around the world.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Reiner Rodriguez |
06/09/2018 8:33am EDT

Sorry, I missed the talk session, Can I see or hear the talk? Any link.


Picture of Eben Hewitt
Eben Hewitt | CTO
03/05/2018 9:16am EST

Thank you everyone for attending this talk! It was wonderful talking with so many of you. I posted the slides here:

03/05/2018 4:58am EST

One of the best session and yes can’t wait for the slides as there so much information.

03/03/2018 5:07am EST

Amazing presentation! Also dying for the slides since the presentation was so information dense!

03/02/2018 7:01am EST

We were told the slides would be made available. It is not available at the presentation slides page (as of now).
Where can we find it?

03/02/2018 5:41am EST

I found this content extremely helpful. Are there plans to make the slides available?