The expertise panorama of most corporations grows organically as the corporate grows, with expertise selections occurring on the fly or with a really quick time horizon.
At a sure level, although, the complexity of the panorama stops enabling the corporate and begins to constrain it and gradual it down. Here is the place an enterprise architect will help, though most corporations do not have one.
What Do Enterprise Architects Do?
Enterprise architects deal with this drawback by working to tame the complexity — partially by understanding the IT panorama, mapping it to enterprise capabilities, displaying dependencies, highlighting alternatives for rationalization/optimization, after which injecting strategic pondering into expertise decision-making.
Enterprise architects make it doable to reply questions like, “What ought to our panorama appear like if we wish to obtain these objectives?” and “As soon as we have outlined our future state, how can we get there?”
Though difficult and complicated, the function of enterprise architect gives a stable profession alternative within the IT world.
A current report from Glassdoor listed enterprise architect as one of the best job in America, with a base wage beginning at practically $145,000, with greater than 14,000 open enterprise architect positions.
Enterprise Architects Should Ask Questions, Assume Strategically
As organizations change into extra depending on expertise to run all operational elements, there may be rising recognition that the function of the enterprise architect is a discrete place, in response to CompTIA Chief Expertise Evangelist James Stanger.
“That demand has come up as a result of you actually need any individual who’s a information to these modifications,” he mentioned. “An enterprise architect creates the procedures, does the design, after which communicates consistently with the CIO, CEO, and people who report back to the CIO.”
Whether or not it is implementing plans for automation or transferring to the cloud, the enterprise architect is accountable for asking the questions that can information implementation of expertise and make sure the strategic objectives throughout all departments are aligned.
“The enterprise architect is rarely the get together of no — they’re in search of the implications of the modifications which can be occurring,” Stanger mentioned.
The sensible corporations, he added, have realized that they want an architect to function a type of navigator for the corporate as a result of the CEO does not have the time to at all times be “using herd” on these separate parts of IT throughout all of the completely different enterprise items of a enterprise, giant or small.
“They’re realizing they want any individual who positively has an ear with the management and may liaise and work with the techs to guarantee that techniques are at all times conforming to the enterprise methods,” he defined.
A part of the job is to ask a whole lot of questions, as enterprise architects will probably be working deeply with every of the IT parts accountable for information administration, app improvement, IT infrastructure, safety, and automation, Stanger mentioned.
“What units them aside is that they have expertise, however additionally they have a super understanding of how all of these issues work and play nicely collectively, but additionally what occurs after they do not,” he mentioned.
Communications abilities are essential, as enterprise architects should have the ability to convey whether or not the expertise is driving the corporate moderately than the opposite means round.
“Perhaps there’s one component right here that we’re ignoring, or that the CTO cannot determine, and the CIO is simply too busy making all of it work,” Stanger mentioned. “It is the enterprise architect who brings stability to the drive, because it have been. They’re those ensuring every little thing is working collectively, maybe in uncommon methods at occasions. That is very a lot the purpose of the enterprise architect.”
Rising IT Complexity Provides to Challenges
Demand for enterprise architects is on the rise as a result of the complexity of the IT panorama is inflicting acute challenges for companies, from wasted IT spend and safety and compliance points to lack of organizational agility and flexibility, in response to André Christ, co-founder and CEO of LeanIX.
“The truth that corporations not solely rely upon expertise to function however more and more spend money on growing their very own software program and expertise signifies that the challenges, too, will solely develop,” he mentioned. “The one technique to deal with this mounting complexity is thru methodical, complete, and strategic enterprise structure administration.”
Christ mentioned enterprise architects will help drive enterprise course of transformation — and enterprise transformation extra broadly — in a number of methods.
First, they will help map the trail from the present state to the remodeled state, highlighting the dependencies that can have to be addressed as a corporation strikes ahead, and by displaying the professionals and cons of various choices.
Second, they will determine inefficiencies within the IT panorama, equivalent to redundant functions (two or extra functions serving the identical enterprise functionality) or avoidable technical debt (like sustaining out of date functions after they might be retired or changed).
“Overcoming these inefficiencies is essential to any significant transformation,” Christ mentioned.
Lastly, enterprise architects can present helpful perception into which applied sciences are concerned in what enterprise processes and who owns or is accountable for these applied sciences, he mentioned.
“This streamlines the precise nitty-gritty work of enterprise course of transformation, equivalent to uncovering who makes use of which options, who’s at present accountable for them, who will discover if one thing will get turned off or changed, and so forth,” Christ mentioned.
From Stanger’s perspective, it is all about communication, because the enterprise architect’s function entails making certain that everyone is talking the identical language.
“Even when they’re utilizing a unique language, the enterprise architect’s duty is to make sure everybody continues to be trying to fulfill the identical aim,” he mentioned. “It is that communication and liaison operate that I see as a very powerful a part of an enterprise structure.”
Enterprise Architects Play Vital Function in Cloud Migration
Enterprise architects additionally play a essential function in figuring out which functions are one of the best candidates for cloud migration, in addition to what steps have to be taken emigrate them to the cloud effectively, Christ mentioned.
“When cloud readiness, EAs may additionally determine what is going to have to be executed in an effort to make this or that utility cloud-ready,” he mentioned.
Since functions within the cloud type a part of the complete IT panorama, enterprise architects additionally join execution and technique by sustaining a significant overview of what is within the cloud, what’s not, and the way it’s all related.
“This enables corporations to trace their progress whereas additionally serving to plot out subsequent steps or new cloud migration alternatives,” Christ mentioned.
Stanger agrees that as organizations make that migration, the enterprise architect should step in and take a high-level view of the plans.
“Shifting to the cloud actually may make a whole lot of sense, however has everybody thought in regards to the implications of transferring to the cloud when it comes to what the enterprise is doing?” he requested. “There are occasions when that migration may be from cloud to cloud.”
Stanger mentioned he is just lately seen organizations transferring parts from the cloud to a knowledge middle as a result of it simply made extra sense.
“Because the enterprise architect, the duty is to guarantee that should you’re transferring one thing to the cloud, do you’ve got that continued performance or flexibility or service?” he mentioned. “How is that altering different parts of the system? The enterprise architect is the one who has [to ask] the powerful questions: ‘That is nice that you simply’re doing that to save cash, however are we shedding some type of enterprise functionality that makes everyone else’s job tougher?'”
From Stanger’s perspective, it comes right down to having a deep understanding of how every degree of the group makes use of enterprise options after which figuring out how a change will have an effect on the group’s potential to maneuver ahead.
The Evolution of the Enterprise Architect
Because the function of enterprise architect evolves, Christ mentioned the most important change he sees is it transferring from a governance function — the enterprise architect as expertise cop or skilled purchaser dictating what expertise folks can use or purchase — to a strategic one.
“The EA is now serving to firm management not solely take into consideration evolving expertise wants but additionally serving to them make knowledgeable selections about them,” he mentioned.
Stanger agrees that whereas most small to medium-size companies will not have an outlined function for an enterprise architect, there’s a rising want for bigger organizations to rent enterprise architects to assist with their digital transformation plans.
“As with every higher-end job function, the EA place is one thing that there are a whole lot of alternatives on the market for folks,” he mentioned. “Generally you may see organizations the place that enterprise architect hat can match proper right into a CTO’s world or possibly even the CIO world. However, particularly in a big group, the enterprise architect function is greatest as a separate entity.”
Concerning the creatorNathan Eddy is a contract author for ITPro Immediately. He has written for Well-liked Mechanics, Gross sales & Advertising Administration Journal, FierceMarkets, and CRN, amongst others. In 2012 he made his first documentary movie, The Absent Column. He at present lives in Berlin.