A friend at work sent me an interesting article from Business Intelligence Review (www.bireview.com) 13 December 2007 about someone who recently went to the Gartner EA Summit in Las Vegas and what he learnt about enterprise architects.
He writes that “If you set out to write the most outlandish job description in corporate America, your classified ad might read something like this:
Wanted: Person or persons to chart IT and business transformation in a huge, old established corporation. Candidate(s) will model current and future states of business drivers, regulation and market dynamics along with the functional role structure of all business units and sub-units. Candidate must understand and relate technology projects and project portfolio, integration programs, application and information systems, business processes (and everything else we own) to business optimization for future planned market dominance. Salary TBD.”
Later the author recounts how “one vendor described, the perfect EA might be ‘half cowboy VP with clout, half academic.’ It’s a situational role.”
He goes to say that while “most demonstrations I saw represented the incipient need for EA more than its result. You could say that EA is in part providing some insurance against future risk and some assurance that investments will make more sense going forward …You can’t help but salute these individuals, their visionary companies and the work they are doing.”
From my perspective, I don’t know about the cowboy VP with clout piece, but what I do know is that EA is not a job for the faint of heart.
An enterprise architect must understand and be able to straddle both the business and technical sides of the house. EA’s have responsibility for architecture perspectives that range from performance, business, information, systems, technology, and security. They must understand not only the mission and business functions and processes and desired results of operation, but also how that translates into information requirements and various technology solutions. Further, EA’s need to be able to translate the business requirements to the techies. Simultaneously, EA’s must be knowledgeable in a broad swath of technology areas (such as systems, technologies, standards, IT security, information sharing techniques, IT best practices, IT governance, IT planning, service oriented architecture, modeling, and so on). Enterprise architects must be able to not only know the current technologies, but also have an eye out toward the emerging. EA’s must be able to explain technical jargon in simple, easy-to-understand language to business executives and program offices. EA’s develop the current and planned state of the enterprise and a path for getting from one to the other.
EA’s need to work across the entire organization, as well as up and down the hierarchy—from being expert in enterprise architecture, to also being highly knowledgeable in line of business segment architectures and developers’ solutions architecture. EA have to develop and maintain catalogues of information; business, data, and systems models, and high-level visual profiles that can “paint a picture” for executives in 5 seconds or less. EA must not only develop and maintain these information assets, but they must be able to analyze them and come up with meaningful, actionable findings and recommendations (like gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities) for executive management. EA’s should be experts in organizational culture and change management/tranformation. EA needs to be able to articulate its vision for the organization and to present regularly to staff, management, and executives. EA’s provide not only information products to the enterprise, but also governance services in terms of technical reviews of new IT projects, products, and standards. EA’s deal with internal subject matter experts and stakeholders and also external private and public sector entities that provide best practices, legal requirements, and other mandates.
EA is a challenging, invaluable, and awesome field to work in!
James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American politician and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States. Considered to be the “Father of the Constitution“, he was the principal author of the document. In 1788, he wrote over a third of the Federalist Papers, still the most influential commentary on the Constitution. As a leader in the first Congresses, he drafted many basic laws and was responsible for the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is also known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights“. James Madison also drafted the Virginia Plan, which “called for a national government of three branches—legislative, executive, and judicial…The concept of checks and balances was embodied in a provision that legislative acts could be vetoed by a council composed of the Executive and selected members of the judicial branch; their veto could be overridden by an unspecified legislative majority.” (Wikipedia)
As the Father of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Virginia Plan, James Madison was the original Chief Enterprise Architect (CEA) for the federal government. As the Federal CEA, Madison architected the performance, business, and information perspectives of the federal enterprise architecture (the information technology side of the equation—services, technology, and security—would come later with the post-industrial, technological revolution)
Performance—The mission execution and expected results are laid out in The Preamble to the Constitution, that states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Additionally, the Bill of Rights ensures that the government performs its business functions all the while protecting the rights of its citizens.
Business—The functions, activities, and processes are detailed in the Articles of The Constitution, including the functioning of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, as well as state and federal powers, and processes for amendments and ratification. Additionally, the checks and balances ensure that functions are well-defined and that limits are placed on each branch of the government to protect democracy and forestall tyrannical rule.
Information—The information requirements of the Federal government are provided for in the various branches of government. For example, the legislative branch, Article One provides for free debate (the archetype for information sharing and accessibility) in Congress. Additionally, the checks and balances between the branches, provides for information flow. For example, Congress enacts the laws, and these go to the Executive Branch to carry them out, and to the Judicial Branch to interpret them. Furthermore, the political value system, Republicanism, ensures that the people remain sovereign and that they not only elect their representatives and politicians, but also can provide information and lobby to affect the enactment of laws and regulations that will ultimately affect them. Citizens are asked to perform their civic duties and to participate in the political process, so there is a free-flow of ideas and information throughout the governing process.
James Madison is indeed the original federal chief enterprise architect and a very good one at that!
>To build a winning team for developing and maintaining a successful User-centric EA program, there are 7 key positions:
- Chief Enterprise Architect (CEA)—The CEA is the executive responsible for leading the enterprise architecture program; the CEA has the vision and the ability to communicate and execute on that vision.
- Requirements Manager—The requirements manager is the individual who is responsible for understanding the users’ requirements for EA information, planning, and governance.
- Solutions Manager—The solutions manager is responsible for developing EA products and services to fulfill (superbly) the requirements of the end-users.
- Configuration Manager—The configuration manager maintains the relevancy of the EA products by ensuring they remain current, accurate, and complete.
- Communications Manager—The communications manager markets and communicates all EA products and services, and is responsible for end-user training and outreach.
- Technical Writer—The technical writer produces EA product textual content for all EA communications media (such as the website, printed handbook, policy, practices, and so on)
- Graphic Designer—The graphic designer creates innovative visual and graphics displays for EA products, especially profiles (high-level, strategic views of the EA) and models (mid-level EA views that show relationships of processes, information flows, and system interoperability.
Of course, there are many others on the EA team that contribute to its success, including all the architects, analysts, planners, and data specialists.
Together, the 7 key positions and various specialists develop the organization’s User-centric EA and focus on helping the organization execute its mission and generating value to the enterprise through information, planning, and governance.