Role of the Enterprise Architect

I have read several blogs over the past few months arguing over the role of the Enterprise Architect.  Architect and architecture means many things to many people.  Here is my opinion of  what an Enterprise Architect (EA) is.

The EA is responsible for understanding the business mission, strategy, and processes and creating an IT technology strategy that enables the business to meet its goals.  In other words, the EA is responsible for making IT an enabler and not a cost center.

To accomplish this, the EA must excel is the following areas:

  • Leadership
  • Change management
  • Communication
  • Technology
  • Business knowledge
  • Financial analysis
  • Business processes
  • IT governance
  • Infrastructure
  • Security
  • People management
  • Negotiation
  • Vendor management
  • Presentation skills
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • R&D

Many self proclaimed EAs are extremely bright but lack in many of these areas.  Notice that programming skills was not mentioned.  If the EA is developing software, he/she is probably not fulfilling the role as described above.  The EA should have a staff of talented sr. developers who can turn the vision into solutions.

It takes a rare breed to fit the bill of an EA.  I have had the luxury of working with many brilliant developers and designers over the years.  Many of them struggle communicating technical topics to non technical people.  Others focus so much on technology that they fail to align technology with key business drivers.

I have read many blogs that slam EA's who do not code.  These folks obviously have a different definition of EA then the one I described.  My response to them is that there is a huge difference between being an architect and being an EA. 

There are many different types of architects.  I will categorize them into three groups: Solutions Architects, Infrastructure Architects, and Enterprise Architects. 





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