Need prove immediate business value in EA plans
Enterprise architecture groups need to pay attention to the ‘mechanics of management’ a consultant has advised, if they are to successfully balance the long-term goals of enterprise architecture against pressing recessionary short-term business needs.
Speaking at the Open Group’s Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference Thomas Obitz, principal architect for Infosys Technologies, said that enterprise architecture groups need to refocus initiatives on enterprise priorities and employ best practices that deliver and demonstrate business value.
When Infosys completed its annual assessment of enterprise architecture in business, Obitz said there was evidence that the enterprise architecture team was subject to headcount reduction and cost cutting just like other parts of the organisation. The enterprise architecture group must be able to justify what it is doing to demonstrate the value of enterprise architecture.
The challenge for any IT organisation is anticipating the business needs. IT can lead and guide businesses in a positive way to make the right choices, and the enterprise architecture group can play the political part of helping the businesses make the right choices.
Terry Blevins, lead architect for Mitre Corp recommended that enterprise architects understand who is making decisions and what information they need to make those decisions, and then build their architecture to support those decisions and decision-makers.
Henry Peyret, senior analyst at Forrester Research said that in this regard the job of an enterprise architect requires a complex mix of hard and soft skills.
Certifications are needed as enterprise architecture transforms from an art to a science but he cautioned that the industry needs to be wary that enterprise architecture certifications are really addressing aspects of the job that relate mostly to technical skills.
Peyret went on to say that most enterprise architecture certifications today are partial and focus only on hard skills and not enough on soft skills, which are recognised as critical for enterprise architecture effectiveness but are hard to evaluate.
The recommendation is that enterprises use enterprise architecture certification as one but not the only criterion for hiring, and that they certify entire teams so they develop a common vocabulary.