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Wayne Webster

CST 300 Writing Lab

Enhydra Solutions

System Architect An Analysis of the Industry and its Future Growth

A system architect is defined as a professional figure who defines the architecture

of a computerized system both in software and hardware in order to fulfill specific

requirements as put forth by stakeholders in the system (Top 10 Most, 2016). System

architects are generally involved in the first three phases of project management

according to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and the Project

Management Institute (PMI) (Esposito, 2015). They are responsible for the first two

phases, Project Conception and Initiation and Project Definition and Planning. In the

first phase they investigate multiple design alternatives, take into consideration the

resources available to use such as cost, power, space, time-to-deployment, usability,

MTBF (mean time between failures) specs and maintainability.

Once this information is processed, phase two Project Definition and Planning

takes place. In this phase the System Architect, along with the Project Manager, will

present, to the stakeholders in the project, the design alternatives that take into

consideration cost and deployability. They also ensure that the cost restraints still

maintain the system requirements and user needs.

While still in phase two and once a design has been agreed upon, the System

Architect oversees the deployment of the system, answering to the Project Manager with
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concerns of overages and shortages and with issues meeting the promised performance


Once the system is deployed and in place, phase three Project Launch or

Execution begins. This is where the System Architect exits the project and where the

Project Manager and other professionals take over. In this phase, the system is turned

on for the first time and issues are resolved. It is in this phase that the Architect confirms

that the hardware and software meets the specifications put forth in phase one. Once this

is achieved, the System Architect leaves the project only to be consulted when further

deployment or use issues arise (Esposito, 2015) (System Architect: Career Overview,


System Architects are utilized by all industries in the private and public sectors.

Experts project a 15% increase in open positions annually. This increase is due to

constant upgrades in technology, increased usage of wireless networks and the need for

workers to computer systems that work well with these networks. The U.S. Bureau of

Labor Statistics categorizes System Architects under computer network architects, as the

term Architect is a professional title and is prohibited by title acts in several states.

These workers earned a mean annual wage of $100,710 in 2014. These wages varied

according to industry and location (System Architect: Career Overview, 2016).

System Architects usually work for larger corporations; either as an in-house

architect in very large corporations or, as in most cases, for companies who specialize in

creation, implementation and support of large enterprise-type deployments for third

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The legacy providers in the enterprise deployment space are IBM and Dell. The

IBM Rational System Architecture division was acquired by UNICOM on December 31,

2015. (IBM Rational System Divestiture, 2016) This could be in response to Dells

attempted and on-going acquisition of EMC to further their dominance in the enterprise

space (Bass, 2015). Both UNICOM and Dell are very large in the space but have up-and-

comers who are challenging their dominance. These up-and-comers are not only

challenging their dominance in knowledge and capabilities, but also in their visions for

the future, in their ability to recruit new talent and in their ability to retain talent because

of their positive workplace environments (100 Best Companies to work for 2015,


Of these up-and-comers Google is an obvious player considered a top 10

company to work for in the United States and with a value of $471.5 billion dollars as of

July, 2015. However, their system architect positions usually involve very large scale

educational, cloud based architecture and most of those are in generic, non-specific

deployments (Passary, 2015).

Another participant in this field is Akamai. Akamai is one of the largest content

delivery network (CDN) providers in the world. Their cloud based CDN is one of the

largest distributed computing networks in the world. Reports have Akamai responsible

for between 15-30% of all web traffic. They are in the top 50 companies to work for in

the U.S. and have $1.94 billion in sales for 2014. Akamai specializes in global network

architecture (Patnaik, 2015).

The last participant to be discussed is World Wide Technology (WWT). World

Wide Technology is a mid-to-large scale enterprise deployment company. They are

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Ciscos number 2 reseller globally. They count 40 of the Fortune 100 companies as

customers as well as many contracts in the state and federal government space. They have

been a Fortune top 100 company to work for, for four years running. This year they

ranked #28 on that list. Also in 2015 WWT had $7.4 billion in sales (World Wide

Technology, 2015).

Of the three companies, I have chosen to focus on World Wide Technology as a

potential future employer. WWT has their headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Fortune

ranks them as the 28th best company to work for and the fifth best tech company on the

list (Forbes Ranks, 2015) (Bryant, 2015).

As stated above, WWT is Cisco Systems second best reseller. They are

recognized as the number 1 supplier of Cisco deployment solutions to the U.S. Federal

government and has been a Cisco Gold Partner since 2002. WWT was recognized as the

EMC Americas Solution Provider of the Year in 2015 and they are a F5 Platinum

Partner. Since collaborating with VMware in 2009, WWT has become one of their largest

strategic partners receiving recognition across VMwares product portfolio (Cisco

Partner Spotlight, 2008) (Company History, 2016).

With their headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, they are centralized to nearly all of

the United States but they have locations all over the world. Location sites include many

states in the U.S., England, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Singapore and Brazil. Added

to this and considered a perk of working for the company, many of WWTs employees

telecommute for their job (About us, 2016).

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The company was founded in 1990 by Dave Stewart and Jim Kavanugh and

quickly became a leader in technology service. By 1996, they had opened their second

office in St. Louis and was named a Regional Commerce and Growth Association

(RCGA) Fast 50 company. The following year they were ranked as #45 top Federal Prime

Contractors. In 2000, they opened an office in Plano, Texas and spun off their

telecommunication component as a separately held division called Telcobuy. In 2003

WWT re-acquired Telcobuy, merged back with WWT and formed the World Wide

Technology Holding Company WWTHC and both companies fall under that umbrella

to this day.

Between 2001 and 2015 WWT opens offices in Livermore, CA; Aberdeen, MD;

McLean, VA; Rancho Dominguez, CA; Tuscaloosa, AL; Reno, NV; Phoenix, AZ; Granite

City, IL; Earth City, MO; Greensboro, NC; Westchester, OH; Virginia Beach, VA;

Compton, CA; Nashville, TN; Austin, TX; Las Vegas, Nevada; Tempe, Arizona; Sumare,

Brazil; Tampa, FL; and the Asia-Pacific Headquarters and Singapore Technology Center

(Corporate History, 2016).

During the same time, they received many awards. These include:

Cisco's Growing with Technology Awards for Operational Excellence

Dell's "Best Customer Experience" Supplier Award

GSA "Industry Partner Award"

Cisco's Federal Direct VAR of the Year Award

Cisco's US/Canada Theatre Partner of the Year Award (multiple years)

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Achieves Gold Solution Advisor Status with Citrix

Named EMC Enterprise Partner of the Year

Multiple awards at Cisco Partner Summit (multiple years)

HP partner in Excellence Award for Personal Systems Group Top Revenue


Receives VMware Global Government Partner of the Year Award

Receives NetApp Partner of Excellence Award

Global Quality Excellence Award by Alcatel-Lucent

Ranks on Forbes America's Largest Private Companies List (multiple years)

Wins NetApp U.S. Public Sector Partner of the Year

Achieves Platinum Solution Advisor Status with Citrix

Receives Citrix's Gold Partner of the Year Award

Ranks on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For List (multiple years)

Ranks in top 100 on InformationWeek 500 (multiple years)

Ranks #53, FORTUNE 100 Best Workplaces for Women (2015)

Ranks #7, FORTUNE 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity (2015)

Ranks #12, FORTUNE 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials (2015)

Also in the last 10 years they have been awarded the following

government contracts; Voice over IP (VoIP) project for the State of Alaska, SEWP
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(Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Deployment) contract from NASA, ITES-2H

(Information Technology Enterprise Solutions 2 Hardware) contract, and the

cybersecurity analytics reference architecture (CARA) (Corporate History,


WWT has not deviated much from their initial business plan to provide

technology solutions. Their methodology has changed as technology has changed

during the last 25 years. They began with direct-connect solutions with large

server farms providing computing power. Since that time, they have innovated

with distributed computing, both local and cloud based virtualized machines.

They offer solutions in big data, collaboration, cloud computing, mobility,

networking, security, software and storage (World Wide Technology, 2015).

They have moved from primarily the telecomm industry in the 1990s to

being involved in almost every technology space, public and private. Some of the

primary spaces they are in now include the Federal Government, education,

financial sector, healthcare, manufacturing, oil and gas, retail, telecommunications

and utilities. However, CEO Jim Kavanaugh is quick to point out that WWT is not

a government contractor.

If you look at the breakout of our business today, the government

business today is approximately 15 percent of our business. The largest portion of

our business is large Fortune 500 commercial customers.

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The second largest piece is our telecommunications and service-provider space.

Youre talking about the AT&Ts and Verizons [sic], but also the Web 2.0

companies the Microsofts [sic] and Amazons, and also the Coxes and Comcasts

[sic] those large telecommunications companies that continue to morph from

media companies to telecommunications companies to Web 2.0s. Kavanaugh,


WWT has created two technology research centers in St. Louis. The

Advanced Technology Center (ATC) and the Integration Technology Center (ITC).

The ATC is the WWT research center where they focus on their software solutions.

According to the WWT website, the ATC is a collaborative ecosystem to design,

build, educate, demonstrate and deploy innovative technology products and

integrated architectural solutions for World Wide Technology customers, partners

and employees. With it, weve helped our customers do amazing things. For

example, one major oil company was able to reduce the time it took to evaluate

complex object storage from six months to two weeks.

The ITC is where the WWT System Architects lay out and build the system

they want to build. In this climate-controlled center, their engineers can bench-test

large enterprise grade systems. In this way they can reduce risk, cost and complexity

of their deployments.

World Wide Technology is considered a top company with high levels of

growth. CEO Kavanaugh sees no end to that growth.

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According to Kavanaugh, (2015) With the Asynchrony acquisition, weve

added a little over 500 people this year. Were kind of running into the law of large

numbers now, but we have a plan at the high level, and weve been doing this for the

last 15 years. Every five years we want to double our top line and double our bottom

line. That requires about 15 to 17 percent compound annual growth every year to get

to that doubling every five years. Weve hit those numbers.

We see a lot of growth in the U.S. and we think weve just scratched the

surface with the opportunity.

And then globally, a little under 15 percent of our business is there. But were

not even scratching the surface with all the opportunity thats out there from a global


International Data Corporation (IDC) agrees with Kavanaughs projections.

They project a 23.1% annual growth in the field to 2019 with estimated spending to

reach $48.6 billion dollar per year (New IDC Forecast, 2015) (World Wide Buys

Asychrony, 2015)

Finally, World Wide Technology is a social leader as well. As stated above, in

2015 they were awarded with being ranked #53, 100 Best Workplaces for Women,

#7, Best Workplaces for Diversity (2015), #12, 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials

(2015) and #28, 100 Best Companies to work for by FORTUNE magazine (100

Best Companies, 2015). They are also an EPA Green Power Partner for the work in
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preserving the environment and sustainable procurement (Corporate Social

Responsibility, 2016).

All these things make World Wide Technology my dream job. So, how do I

get there? What does it take to become a Systems Architect for World Wide

Technology? I have a plan.

The plan was put into play in 1995 when I started in the I.T. field. I have

worked in the Media, Industrial and Education fields with over 20 years experience

(and counting). But that experience alone will not get me to where I want to go. I

will need at least secondary, if not post-graduate, education. I have a plan for that as


In 2008 I began, in earnest, to attempt to make this possible by going back to

school. I attended Shasta/Tehama Community College and received an A.S. degree

in University Studies (transfer) with an emphasis in Quantitative Analysis.

In 2015 I began attending California State University, Monterey Bay. There, I

am currently working on my Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. I should

achieve this degree in October in 2017. And this would be sufficient to achieve the

title of System Architect. But to work for a company like World Wide Technology

where the applicant pool is very large, you need to separate yourself from the crowd.

Even with 20 years of experience and a B.S. degree from a California State

University, I suspect youll need more.

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So, in August 2018, I plan to attend CSUMB and attend the Management &

Information Technology M.S. program. I know that the program is currently on hold,

but I am hoping that it was be reinitiated in the next two years.

Afterward, just to complete the educational arc, I am planning to attend

Carnegie Mellon Universitys School of Computer Science. They offer their Ph.D.

program online. And with their satellite campus at NASA/Ames Research center in

San Jose, CA, I can co-ordinate my research with a local advisor. Following my

plan, in 2022 with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University,

27 years experience in the field and a field with no sign of slowing I feel I can be a

Systems Architect for World Wide Technology.

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100 Best Companies to work for 2015. (2016, January). http://fortune.com/best-companies/

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