Before all else, be armed – with a budget
27 January 2010
Being an Enterprise Architect is a role I enjoy but I recognise the scenario described by Rik Laurens at http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/2010/01/enterprise_architecture_the_on.php
I think the main underlying issue is that the Enterprise Architect doesn’t, in any organisation I have engaged with, actually ever command a budget.
With money comes the power to spend it and influence others who will come to rely on that money being spent in their direction on their project etc.
Without the money weapon, an enterprise architect must rely on their powers of influence and persuasion with the C-level executives, and their governance sign off power at end of project phases and giving approval at project board meetings.
As the enterprise architecture discipline has not yet reached the tipping point where the majority of organisations realise its key importance and give respect to the Enterprise Architect, this influence and persuasion is still often overruled by JFDI thinking when the going gets tough.
Enterprise Architects do always have to continually demonstrate value and ROI, even if it is indirectly achieved by the delivery projects months away when they implement what you have defined in the EA roadmap.
However I think that Enterprise Architects do need to closely align themselves with the C-level decision makers (CIO, Business management etc.) in an organisation rather than with the project teams to achieve the necessary power and influence.
I know this sounds a bit Machiavellian, but if you are aligned too much with delivery then you’ll be seen as a [project level] solution architect and not as an [strategic] enterprise architect which is where you want to be in the first place.
It’s a fine line to walk.
Before all else, be armed [with a budget].