A week into my tenure at Solidatus, our Co-CEO Philip Miller, invited the team for a socially-distanced working day at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London.
In one of the break-out sessions, Philip explained that he had been a member of the Merchant Taylors’ Guild since his early 20s. He had attended the Merchant Taylors’ School and had been encouraged to join the Guild by friends and family. This gave him a unique insight into the Hall and its history.
I had previously been to an awards dinner in the Great Hall. I remembered looking at the mahogany panelling and stained glass windows, and had assumed these were an original part of the architectural design. Not so informed Mr Miller, and so the tour began as we traced the building’s historical design layers through the centuries.
He told us that the original building had been at this location since the 1300s, but due to some ‘small’ incidents such as the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, the Hall had undergone significant transformations over the centuries. It turns out that the Merchant Taylors’ Hall itself is a complex structure, where each passageway and stairwell connects to a different period in history. Each room has a purpose and a story which supported the overarching philosophy of the Guild.
The room that most impressed was the Court Room, where portrait paintings form a connected lineage of past masters. Philip pointed out a few of the masters and explained their visions of fair and democratic treatment. As a member of the Guild, Philip felt this ethos still ran through the lifeblood of the establishment, connecting past members to the present, making it more meaningful in these difficult times, than it ever has been before.
My first impression of the building from the outside had been of a single grand architectural design. The reality, though, was a design in motion; a reaction to the world around it. A design where the historic and modern layers work in harmony to support the Merchant Taylors’ philanthropic efforts.
In my world, I’m often speaking to organisations about IT architectural design and modernisation. I’ll hear phrases like ‘Digital Transformation’ and ‘Rip and Replace’, however, most senior IT executives would classify their major applications as strategic over the long-term, and any new technology needs to work seamlessly with their legacy applications. The Merchant Taylors’ Hall architects used a simple rule set to build a complex structure. I work in reverse; I need to understand complex structures in a way that makes things simple, but every design begins and ends with understanding.
The Merchant Taylors’ Hall represented a metaphor of how I approach IT architectural design:
- Understand your history: Why have you built this particular architecture?
- Understand your Lineage: How does the information flow across the organisation?
- Understand how to react to challenges: What are your strategically important applications and what new technology will support your future transformation?
It may not be a new approach, but who is going to argue with the Masters of the Guild!
You may also be interested in:
“Integrate to Accelerate” - Co-Founder Philip Dutton blogs about how partnerships can deliver a complete solution to clients. Organisations sometimes find that their current data solution does not meet their growing needs, nor enable them to complete their data journey. Rather than focusing on ripping and replacing incumbent systems, Solidatus seeks to enhance, extend and join together the myriad of products that make up an organisation’s metadata ecosystem. Read the blog here.
The Merchant Taylors' is a flourishing Livery Company whose members are dedicated to education, fraternity and philanthropy. Based in the City of London, rooms can be hired by the general public with proceeds funding their philanthropic efforts.
Solidatus is a next generation data management solution, enabling and accelerating an organisation’s ability to understand its data landscape. Unique in its unopinionated, non-prescriptive design, with a simple, open, meta model that allows users to model any scenario or use cases to suit their organisational needs, not to fit into a vendor’s view of the world. It is flexible enough to support innovation, but structured enough to allow elegance.