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Why an IT-architecture expert needs to be a strong communicator

Stories of Terna/ Daniele Giannini, head of Enterprise Architecture & Platform Management at Terna.

What is a System Integration Architect and what do they do at a company like Terna? These questions are answered by Daniele Giannini, Head of Enterprise Architecture & Platform Management from the Innovation & Market Solutions division of the company managing the Italian national transmission grid. Daniele uses a simple and effective metaphor:

«When you go to a restaurant, you find dishes on the menu which combine different ingredients. Behind each of these is a chef who, just like a system integration architect, selects the ingredients through his knowledge of the different categories, flavour, nutritional properties and, through his expertise, is able to create a finished product that satisfies the customer».

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A meeting of the team headed by Daniele Giannini, Enterprise Architecture & Platform Management at Terna (photo by Terna)

In addition to being an IT systems architect, Daniele is also an excellent communicator. This is an important quality in his role because he is required to mediate and find the right translation from one language to another. Whilst the process is empirical for machines, this is not the case for people, who need to be able to perceive the value of the proposed change.

Thus, knowledge of protocols, communication methods between machines, security standards and technological development, as well as a personal approach to communication and training, are the most in-demand skills in the field.

«I work behind the scenes, making what you see possible. The aim is to help the whole company to achieve its goals, supporting it in the process of continuous innovation».

This professional capability is increasingly in demand, also in relation to the digital transformation that is guiding companies to increasingly agile organisational models, making IT infrastructure essential: «I work behind the scenes, making what you see possible. The aim is to help the whole company to achieve its goals, supporting it in the process of continuous innovation. Underlying this are the pillars of enterprise architecture (business, data, applications and technology), yet the approach is holistic and proactive».

To immediately clarify the concept, Daniele describes two important projects he heads at Terna that demonstrate the value of enterprise architecture for the entire company: EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) and EAS (Enterprise Architecture Strategy).

The first, focused on individual teams or organisational structures, is a project aimed at redefining mapping and technologies supporting applications integration, through a scalable, efficient and resilient framework that overcomes widespread technology silos within the company. The second is company-wide, aimed at all Terna people, both supporting processes for training, onboarding and daily operations offering a global view of processes, applications, integration and technology in an enterprise setting such as that of Terna, and also aiding leads and top management in portfolio, planning and budgeting processes, providing metrics, procedures and tools to guide strategic choices.

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Another meeting on innovation of IT systems architecture at Terna (photo by Terna)

All of this requires a future-focused perspective, understanding that today’s choices will set the direction for developments over the next ten years of Terna. It is highly motivating to think that, together with our team, we can really make our mark in the company. «The concept of Driving Energy, and being involved in a great challenge like the ecological transition also gives you real drive, particularly when, as often happens in the world of work, you are too caught up in operations and lose sight of the big goals».

«Then there is a very practical, day-to-day aspect that makes this a wonderful job», continues Daniele. This is what prompted him to join the Terna People team. It is his team’s expertise. «I knew that my colleagues would be able to teach me a great deal, enhancing my career path. This continues to be the case».