Foresters: IT Architect, Applications

Foresters is looking for an IT Architect, Applications:


Foresters is at an important juncture in its history.  Product and membership growth requires substantial changes in the scope, flexibility, robustness and leadership capabilities of its IT services.  In a progressively outsourced environment, a new service delivery model has been designed, and is in the process of being executed.  This requires the addition of talent in new roles, three of which are IT Architects.”


Generally, the role of the IT Architect is responsible for envisioning and designing the technology environment required to meet the organization’s business objectives and therefore realize its strategic vision.


While grounded in the present, the role of the IT Architect is essentially future facing – ensuring that the technology environment has the necessary capability, capacity and flexibility to fulfill the current and future requirements of the business.  In order to achieve this, the IT Architect must be able to function skillfully in both the business world and the technical world and move back and forth between these two domains with ease.  By building a comprehensive enterprise architecture, and by demonstrating the ability to devise technology solutions that meet or exceed the needs of the business, the IT Architect provides the foundation to focus on building and running the business.


If this role doesn’t sound like you, you could try the IT Architect, Data or the IT Architect, Infrastructure they mention but that doesn’t yet seem to be posted, at least not on Workopolis.

The Good
Sounds like a pretty senior role in a relatively well-known organization.  
If Foresters is indeed at a critical juncture, then this could be a great time to get involved.  And, since work is only part of your life, the fact that they invest time and money into causes might be of some interest to some of you.

The Bad
Although Foresters is technically insurance-focused rather than, say, investment banking, it’s not a fabulous time to be in insurance either, from what I understand.  That said, they have a 1.4B surplus, which presumably means they can afford to weather some bad times.

What’s Missing?
Where’s the location, the corporate headquarters or somewhere else?  What’s the compensation like for an IT Architect at Foresters?  What does “progressively outsourced” mean for Foresters?  How many applications does Foresters build and maintain?  What are the challenges facing the current architecture, and what kind of goals do they have for the forward-looking architecture?  What is the other architectural role not yet posted, and how will the three of you work together?  What’s the working relationship likely to be with the implementation team(s)?  What is the size, composition and number of the implementation teams?  What would the organizational structure look like in IT management, and how do you fit into that?  Why is this time so critical for Foresters? 

Your Mileage May Vary
Your mileage may vary when it comes to working for a ‘progressively outsourced’ organization that uses phrases like, “technical architecture compliance.”  You’d have to talk to them to understand in greater detail what this means for them.

Although they don’t mention a location, the corporate headquarters seems to be on Don Mills, south of Eglinton, right around the Science Centre.  That location’s not terribly well-serviced by transit.  It’s pretty convenient by car, either by city streets if you’re in the east/northeast or by the highway if the DVP is more your speed.  It’s not a fabulous location for other reasons, although there are a fair number of random shops and restaurants around, particularly if you’re likely to have a car with you.  Let’s just say that I doubt you’d be picking this for the location.

And finally, your mileage may vary when it comes to a fraternal benefit society, which has reasonably laudable goals but comes with the trappings of lodges and other such oddities that might not be to everyone’s taste.

In Summary
Basically, this sounds like a “love it or hate it” posting for many — which is great, because it means that you can read it and probably get a good sense of where you fall without having to waste everyones time with a phone screen and interview before getting to that point.  If you’d like to be one of three architects helping to shape the future of progressively outsourced IT at relatively well-known fraternal benefit society focused on insurance, then get to it.


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