Exploring Emerging Role of Enterprise Architects

Who are Enterprise Architects?

Enterprise architects are like city planners, providing the road maps and regulations that a city uses to manage its growth and provide services to its citizens.

Enterprise architects work with stakeholders, both leadership and subject matter experts, to build a holistic view of the organization’s strategy, processes, information, and information technology assets. The role of the enterprise architect is to take this knowledge and ensure that the business and IT are in alignment. The enterprise architect links the business mission, strategy, and processes of an organization to its IT strategy, and documents this using multiple architectural models or views that show how the current and future needs of an organization will be met in an efficient, sustainable, agile, and adaptable manner.

Enterprise architects operate across organizational and computing “silos” to drive common approaches and expose information assets and processes across the enterprise. Their goal is to deliver an architecture that supports the most efficient and secure IT environment meeting a company’s business needs.

Enterprise architects are different from system architects.  Systems architects define the  architecture of a computerized system (i.e., a system composed of software and hardware) in order to fulfill certain requirements. Such definitions include: a breakdown of the system into components, the component interactions and interfaces (including with the environment, especially the user), and the technologies and resources to be used in the design.

What Enterprise Architect do?

  • Alignment of IT strategy and planning with company’s business goals.
  • Optimization of information management through an understanding of evolving business needs and technology capabilities.
  • Strategic responsibility for the company’s IT systems.
  • Promotion of shared infrastructure and applications to reduce costs and improve information flow. Ensure that projects do not duplicate functionality or diverge from each other and business and IT strategies.
  • Work with solutions architect(s) to provide a consensus based enterprise solution that is scalable, adaptable and in synchronization with ever-changing business needs.
  • Risk Management of information and IT assets through appropriate standards and security policies.
  • Direct or indirect involvement in the development of policies, standards and guidelines that direct the selection, development, implementation and use of Information Technology within the enterprise.
  • Build employee knowledge and skills in specific areas of expertise.

What are the global Enterprise Architecture standards?

  • The Zachman Framework™ is a schema – the intersection between two historical classifications that have been in use for literally thousands of years. The first is the fundamentals of communication found in the primitive interrogatives: What, How, When, Who, Where, and Why. It is the integration of answers to these questions that enables the comprehensive, composite description of complex ideas. The second is derived from reification, the transformation of an abstract idea into an instantiation that was initially postulated by ancient Greek philosophers and is labeled in the Zachman Framework™: Identification, Definition, Representation, Specification, Configuration and Instantiation.
  • The TOGAF® framework
    • The TOGAF® framework is the de facto global standard for Enterprise Architecture. The Open Group Architecture Forum, comprised of more than 200 enterprises, develops and maintains the TOGAF standard and publishes successive versions at regular intervals.
    • The TOGAF framework enables organizations to effectively address critical business needs by:
    • Ensuring that everyone speaks the same language
    • Avoiding lock-in to proprietary solutions by standardizing on open methods for Enterprise Architecture
    • Saving time and money, and utilize resources more effectively
    • Achieving demonstrable ROI

What are globally recognized certification for Enterprise Architects?

  • Zachman Framework
    • Enterprise Architect AssociateCertification (Level 1) requires
      taking the necessary workshop and passing of the online Zachman Enterprise Architecture Examination.
    • Enterprise Architect PractitionerCertification (Level 2) requires development of primitive models and generation of composite models to address a student-identified general management problem. Case study submitted for referee review.
    • Enterprise Architect ProfessionalCertification (Level 3) requires the practitioner must acquire methodology capability and demonstrate how that methodology can be extended to produce primitive (architecture) models from which its composite (implementations) models are derived by delivering a case study. Case study submitted for referee review. Upon successful completion, Level 3 ZCEAs may advertise their abilities as Zachman Consultants.
    • Enterprise Architect EducatorCertification (Level 4) is a publicly acknowledged qualification for educators that desire to create and teach curriculum designed to employ The Zachman Framework™ concepts.
  • The TOGAF® 9 Certification for People Program is a market-driven education and certification program to support TOGAF 9. TOGAF 9 Professional Certification takes two forms:
    • TOGAF 9 Foundation. This provides validation that the candidate has gained knowledge of the terminology and basic concepts of TOGAF 9 and understands the core principles of Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF
    • TOGAF 9 Certified. This certification provides validation that in addition to knowledge and comprehension, the candidate is able to analyze and apply knowledge of TOGAF

Conclusion

Enterprise Architecture is gaining momentum in last couple of years. It will play key role in driving digital transformation of organisations in near future as it aligns IT strategy to drive business innovation. Many organisations have started to have formally as part of IT Organisation under CIO. This is driving demand for qualified and skilled Enterprise Architects in large enterprises. This is a niche area in IT and have good upside for career growth.

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