More than 3 flavours of Enterprise Architect

31 July 2008

Jeff Carlson has written an interesting post on The 3 flavors of Enterprise Architect.

Personally I have never come across an Enterprise Architect with an Operations background, although I think that this type of Enterprise Architect would be useful for many organisations. The Operations viewpoint is a key input to overall business and IT strategies, but often this input only comes from a ‘Manager’ and not an Architect, and is consequently less valuable.

Many Enterprise Architects come from a Technical/Solution Architecture background where they have only ever been working at a project level, leading the development and integration of software solutions and are capable of deep diving into very technical domains and programming subject areas. These types are very critical at a project /solution level, but many organisations I have spoken to are less keen on them as Enterprise Architects, because they are not so good relating to the business and executive stakeholders or indeed anyone outside of the IT organisation. Often however they end up as Enterprise Solution Architects in a Technical Design Authority type of Enterprise IT Architecture team. Organisations that have these TDA kind of EA teams also tend to have completely separate Business Architecture teams.

For myself I class myself as in another category of Enterprise Architect – One that has come up the Systems Analyst/Business Analyst/Process Improvement/IT strategy/IT management route to becoming an Enterprise Architect.

I focus on Strategy, Business Architecture, Information Architecture and Application Architecture, but far far less on Technology and Infrastructure Architecture.

I find that my kind of Business Strategy/Business Architect kind of Enterprise Architect is becoming quite fashionable, even the more so since Technology and infrastructure is an outsourced  commodity these days, and many application architectures are primarily integrated assemblies of COTS applications with just a few core business applications being developed by offshore development partners.


2 Responses to “More than 3 flavours of Enterprise Architect”

  1. Todd Gardner Says:

    I found this post quite insightful. I am working to mature the EA program in my organization, but I seem to have come from a different background than most Enterprise Architects – an IT Infrastructure/Governance/process background. I often find other so-called Enterprise Architects are really just Software/Solutions Architects that saw an EA title as a promotion.


    • I guess that I came to Enterprise Architecture from a Business Analyst / OO consultant / Software Development Process Consultant / Application Architect route.
      It does seem that many organisations start with Technical/infrastructure architects and suddenly call them Enterprise IT Architects as a type of promotion, but increasingly I see that organisations are looking for ‘real’ Enterprise Architects like myself who have a strong Business and IT strategy and Business Architecture perspective and do not want to just hire Solution or IT architects because they do not have the right kind of broad outlook.
      I also find that I’m working with CIO’s and Strategy and Architecture Managers, Programme Managers rather than Project managers.

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