Digital business has put new demands on Enterprise Architecture professionals to make the connection between technology’s constant disruption and its impact on business goals and outcomes. According to Gartner, EA teams that do not refactor their skill sets from technology artifact generation to business outcome realization will marginalize their value and struggle to remain relevant.
Today’s Enterprise Architect
Today’s EA practitioners fall into two primary camps: the vanguard enterprise architect and the foundational enterprise architects. An innovation driver, the vanguard architect deals with technology disruptors and enterprise connectivity, while the foundational enterprise architect maintains enterprise technology and the systems of record.
While currently only making up 10 percent of EA organizations, the vanguard practitioner is emerging as the leader of the pack with an ability to make and communicate business decisions that navigate digital business and technological disruptors. Gartner predicts the number of these practitioners will reach 20 percent by 2016.
The Future’s Enterprise Architect
As we’ve talked about in recent posts, the future of EA puts the enterprise architect in a leadership role by driving strategy based on business goals and direction. Deliverables for this emerging breed of enterprise architect include strategic guidance from the C-suite and down, roadmaps, principles, standards, and best practices.
The diverse skill set of this version of the enterprise architect links digital business, social connectedness, and technology.
To build out these types of teams, organizations are looking to millennials who retain these competencies due to early exposure to technology and the digital world.
This is not to say that historical knowledge of EA practices and an understanding of modeling and IT structures are no longer valued, but skill sets need to evolve with business requirements. The new face of EA will succeed through fresh, big picture thinking combined with traditional application of models and data.
“The "New Face of EA" in many ways requires a "New Generation" of Enterprise Architecture professionals. The primarily IT-focused professional of the past -- and some would argue the present -- alone will not get the profession to where it needs to go. We need EA organizations comprised of people who understand business at least as well as technology with a reporting structure outside of IT. Creating this type of professional requires educational system changes, while also fostering more interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs."
Brian Cameron, Associate Dean of Professional Master's Programs, Pennsylvania State University, Smeal College of Business
Today’s reality is that pretty much any capability the business dreams up will require the technology department to figure out how to deliver it. This means an understanding of how this technology will not only impact its users, but the entire business ecosystem will be a highly valued contribution… and the New Enterprise Architect is best poised to deliver that insight.