The Enterprise Architect

Five research topics

The Role

When studying the topic of the role, the role description is essential with a focus on how the employee organization looks at the Enterprise Architect's position, expectations for the role, measurable goals, utility mapping based on role and responsibilities. There is no standardized and generally accepted role description of the Enterprise Architect profession and there are no legal or regulatory criteria in place that defines the role and what qualifications and credentials are necessary for the profession (CAEAP, 2012). The Enterprise Architect’s role has a number of emotive "characteristics" that the role and occupation must deal with and relate to (Steghuis & Proper, 2008). Researchers within the area who studied the role of the architect describe and highlights diversified prominent feature in the role. Strano & Rehmani (2007) claim that the Enterprise Architect’s main tasks are to align IT operations with business strategic goals by managing the complex set of organizational interdependencies. Steghuis & Proper (2008) state that communicate and maintaining a business strategy to operational management is essential for the architect role. The authors describe further that the Enterprise Architect is intended to participate in the Enterprise Architecture team and to assist team colleagues in their efforts to develop the team’s objectives, which from an operational point of view, the primary task is to create a strategy for and to govern the architecture landscape. Hoffman (1988) states that it is imperative that the management of the company focus on this shared strategy internally for the IS plans for the organization’s survival and success. The Enterprise Architect’s role includes setting up a maturing EA roadmap that will serve as a guiding tool during a maturing phase. This roadmap will comprise consideration of the business processes in an as-is state, but also the future to-be scenario (Steghuis & Proper, 2008). Steghuis & Proper (2008) state that an Enterprise Architect is mainly supposed to address the main objectives effectiveness, efficiency, agility, and durability. Strano & Rehmani (2007) argue that today the role includes multidimensional organizational disciplines such as change agent, communicator, leader, and manager. The Enterprise Architect’s role description indicates a wish to keep updated with current research, promotion, and discussions on the subject for example by lectures, training, education, reading newspapers, networking, and collaboration with other architects. Within the role declaration is a desire to be involved in spreading and clarifying the need for EA within the organization (CAEAP, 2014). The role's composition and abundance can vary depending on if it operates within a smaller or a larger organization (Roeleven & Broer, 2009). Nsubuga et al. (2014) argue that especially during strategic analysis and during Enterprise Architectural design, the Enterprise Architect plays an important role. IASA (2012) claims that there are no sharp boundaries between closely related IT architectural roles, and they argue that depending on organizational and personal characteristics, the roles are flowing together. Sushil & Stohr (2014) argue that the future organizations must include not singular architect roles and features, but organizations need to adopt multidimensional users, roles, and functions. The role of the Enterprise Architect should be considered as more important in the future than in history (Gøtze, 2013) and the role is considered to be under continuous progress (Bredemeyer & Malan, 2004; Wagter et al., 2012). Enterprise Architects should look across organizations to find future solutions and opportunities besides solutions to reuse, both in terms of a past, present and future perspectives (Oppenheim, 2011).

The Competence

A fundamental part of a profession is the skills necessary to operate successfully in the profession. However, the study focuses in addition on how a continuous up-skilling can be made in continuously strengthen the role. Just as there is no uniform and agreed standard of the Enterprise Architect role, there is neither a consistent depiction of the skills required for these professionals. Researchers within the area who studied the competence of the Enterprise Architect profession describe and highlights diversified prominent skills and requirements. The Enterprise Architect’s competence can be described in terms of relatively extensive requirements on both a personal and professional level of skills (Gøtze, 2013). The architect’s competence must include accurate knowledge, insights, attitudes and behavioral skills, and have the ability to apply these in their profession as Enterprise Architects (Wagter et al., 2012). Steghuis & Proper (2008) highlight the top five skills for the Enterprise Architect as analytical skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, abstraction skills, capacity, sensitivity, and ability for empathy. Steghuis & Proper (2008) recognize diverse core competencies and skills for an Enterprise Architect: the architect should possess analytical and communication skills, where negotiation is a regular component influencing the daily work, which will necessitate sensitivity and the ability to show empathy to the adjacent individuals. Indeed, abstraction capacity of complex artifacts is required as an essential skill, which will involve the ability to act as a change agent. The authors describe the skills of an Enterprise Architect of being a good leader and to have an understanding about software development (Steghuis & Proper, 2008). Meanwhile, Hsin-Ke & Peng-Chun (2012) argue the competence as a collection of related abilities, commitments, knowledge, and skills that enable a person to act successfully and effectively in their profession. Tambouris et al. (2012) state that the architect’s competence should embrace different skills and disciplines within the business, technological, management, and social areas. Wieringa et al. (2009) argue that the Enterprise Architect should have an understanding of complex situations in terms of accountability and reflection. The Enterprise Architect must be a creative visionary and able to see the need for business changes and possesses the ability to adapt in a proactive way (Lankhorst, 2013). CAEAP (2014) states that the Enterprise Architect should be able to show integrity and discretion within the profession since the profession in many cases concerns complex and sensitive areas of the business. The Enterprise Architect must be well experienced with the organization's various activities and its development through a continual learning process. The Enterprise Architect should be a skilled communicator and negotiator (Gøtze, 2013; Ouriaghli & Nsubuga, 2012; Wagter et al., 2012) in order to build trust among the several different stakeholders as well as having the ability to think strategically while acting tactically (CAEAP, 2014). Since the profession is continuously working on the creation of architectural design (Nelson & Stolterman, 2012), the knowledge of modeling and architectural design is an essential core competence (Potts, 2013). CAEAP (2012) states that core competency are the ability to maintain, in both a long- and short-term strategic alignment, between the business model and the operating model with mitigating risks. Wagter et al. (2012) argue that skills as being a communicator and negotiator are crucial for the profession in order to build trust among the stakeholders concerned. As long as the role of the Enterprise Architect develops, there will be additional core competencies of relevance for the professional (Gøtze, 2013). In addition, it requires understanding from the EA to work within an organizational climate which is characterized by an ambidextrous style (Tushman & O'Reilly, 1996).

The Power

The power topic focuses on the profession's influence; what it means in terms of the allocation of responsibility, authority, and empowerment. The study highlights the architect's responsibility in the form of the role's prerequisites and available resources to achieve the goals. The Enterprise Architect’s authorization and responsibility, in both a managerial and a task- oriented way, are essential to being able to perform the profession in a successful way. The profession must have equivalent power relative the liability and the responsibility to be able to perform within the profession. Authors within the academic scholar describe this responsibility differently and highlight diverse responsibilities as the most important for the EA profession. Steghuis & Proper (2008) argue that there is no universal set of responsibilities for the role of the Enterprise Architect, and Unde (2008) illustrates the responsibility of implementing the organization’s vision and strategy for IT. This responsibility includes defining the standards and guidelines in composing a governance mechanism to align implementation to the agreed standards and guidelines. Steghuis & Proper (2008) describe the EA responsibility in terms of creating, applying, and maintaining the EA. Strano & Rehmani (2007) argue that since the Enterprise Architect is becoming an increasingly significant player in business management, its responsibilities, in the same way are increasing and new responsibilities are emerging within this profession. Several technological innovations are today taking place, outside the centralized IT governance, where there is evidence that these developments are supported by empowerment by the organization (Smith, 2013) where this empowerment to make decisions can affect the organization, its direction and activities (Pessi, 2009). McPhee (2014) states empowerment is realized through the building of trust, and describes that empowerment are central for unleashing the real potential of employees and individuals. Gøtze (2011) emphasizes the importance of having available resources to dispose and govern, to achieve the expected results in the EA mission. This responsibility includes defining the standards and guidelines, in composing a governance mechanism to align implementation to the agreed standards and guidelines. Often this resource issue is a reason that organizational EA initiative is not successful (Gøtze, 2011).

The Style of Acting

The approach if the architect's mindset is reactive and proactive is characterized in this topic. A style of acting approach can be both of a reactive and of a proactive nature, and provide innovative power or be more of a revisions oriented structure. The flexibility in an organizational strategy is considered to be both proactive and reactive (Zhigang et al., 2012) where the approach is derived from the maturity of EA (Bente et al., 2012). Akenine et al. (2014) delineate proactivity related to EA likewise as part of the maturity, where the phases are ranked as unconscious, conscious, reactive, proactive, controlled, and effective. Transforming an organization from acting reactively to a proactive mentality will be a process of organizational consciousness conferring to Rishi (2012), which may involve the people affected by the new approach (McGonagle & Vella, 2012). An organizational proactive strategy is implying an approach to increase agility to react to market changes, which is a core capability of the organization (Bloomberg & Schmelzer, 2013). The role of an Enterprise Architect will most likely call for several engagements. Bakker & Leiter (2010) have found three aspects that will determine work engagement: vigor, dedication, and absorption. Apart from work engagement, Sonnentag (2003) has noted that recovery is essential to attain a proactive behavior at work. Armstrong (2014) believes that organizational members who are impacted by ambiguity and turbulence may react reactively to assignments as immediate actions instead of acting proactively to prevent problems that may arise. Grant & Ashford (2008) determine proactivity at work associated to the in-role or extra-role. The in-role behavior bounds what is expected from the role, whereas the extra-role determines the opportunity for the individual to strengthen its role by amplifying an organizational position. The organizational style of management in communication with the organizational members, summarized as ‘office politics’, could affect the way of acting proactively or reactively to particular assignments (Kakabadse, 1984). Related to the office politics is the career involving the power for a certain member of the organization, where Kammeyer-Mueller & Wanberg (2003) have investigated the relation between proactivity and work adjustment while Crant & Bateman (2000) have studied the leadership’s influence on proactivity. If the leadership shows a lack of proactivity, the followers may act reactively (Sinclair & Collins, 1992). Too much reactive response towards arising issues may cause a stressful environment, where proactivity may reduce stress according to Rishi (2012). Frese et al. (1996) depict a proactive behavior as a self- starting action in gaining the organizational vision and mission, expressing power of initiative. A high workload may act as a driver for proactivity, though work engagement is non-prevalent (Eyre, 2012). Akın’s (2014) research indicates that growth in self-compassion as essential to acting proactively. Siedel & Haapio (2011) argue that proactivity may be affected by two organizational efforts being promotive in promoting an appropriate action and preventive in preventing what is inappropriate. Proactivity is a readiness for planned and unplanned changes to the environment while considering the evolvability, vigor and elasticity of the available solutions (Dencker & Fasth, 2009). In an evaluation of the possible solutions to be developed, scenario management could be a vice effort to attain, in gaining a proactive behavior in favor of a reactive, according to Desouza (2005). Dikkers et al. (2010) advocate the responsibility of management to foster the organization in the proactive manner contrasting the reactive. Nevertheless, a request from the management for proactively behavior might disguise an assignment of delegation (Sinclair & Collins, 1992). Tichy (1982) advocates the democratization of the workplace that affect the organizational management where there is a need to adopt a more proactive role in their leadership. Nonetheless, the deadlines and time to accomplish an assignment is to be synchronized among the actors involved to obtain temporal dynamics rendering Weiner et al. (2012) (p.326). Gøtze (2012) argues the Enterprise Architect should focus the problem finding in favor problem solving, to perform more proactive in its role. The Enterprise Architect’s profession is envisioned to proactively promoting architectural development (Ouriaghli & Nsubuga, 2012). According to Bredemeyer (2002), the successful Enterprise Architect seeks proactively for a network of relationships where the collaborative incentive is to find a joint objective and through partnering work in an aim to realize these goals (Bahrami & Evans, 2010). This mutual objective will induce proactive enterprise transformations where the dynamic capabilities will evolve (Abraham et al., 2012).

The Main Focus

The profession’s orientation in terms of being more or less close to the business or the IS/IT arena is categorized as one of the primary focuses in this study. The balance between these two organizational distinct fields and the interactions between them to create a favorable position for the Enterprise Architect is explored by this topic. The Enterprise Architect's preferred main focus is to operate in a balance between the business and the IS/IT domain to achieve an architectural harmony (Magoulas & Pessi, 1998). Aerts et al. (2003) have found the organizational enterprise to be distinguished as either IT or business orientated viewed from an architectural perspective. Perks & Beveridge (2004) consider the Enterprise IT Architecture as to be in focal while Corporate Architecture referring to Berg, van den & Steenbergen, van (2006), and Whittle & Myrick’s (2005) description of Enterprise Business Architecture, have a bias towards the business domain. Berg, van den & Vliet, van (2014) propose the Enterprise Architects to “follow the money” in an effort to facilitate more efficient and sustainable decisions to seek alignment with the organizational management. Dent (2009) has the regulatory scope, where the focus for the Enterprise Architect is to be aware of the regulatory minefield. In a similar way, Land, Op’t et al. (2009) comprehend the Enterprise Architect’s knowledge to reduce business risks. Strategic Alignment: The Strategic Alignment Model origin from a MIT research program where Henderson & Venkatraman (1999) define alignment as coherence of the dimensions of functional integration and strategic fit. Reich & Benbasat (2000) stress the social dimension in a good relationship between the executives in the IT and business domains, which include the straightforward connection between the business and IT planning accomplishments. Besides this social process of orientation, alignment is a capability in itself (Beimborn et al., 2007), which will to a significant proportion include a design progression (Benbya & McKelvey, 2006). Magoulas et al. (2012) advocate that alignment occurs in different perspectives such as the socio-structural, infological, functional, socio-cultural, and as alignment of the context in itself. Though, alignment is considered as IT to be coordinated with the business strategy, evidence for a future with the opposite progressing defined as reversed alignment (Sauer & Willcocks, 2004). Chan & Reich (2007) have questioned alignment since alignment will not provide an end state. Pereira & Sousa (2005) define alignment as the measured coherence level that IS/IT will contribute to the business, monitored as a business necessity. Identified conflicts in alignment have been recognized such as the indefinite organizational functional model and value model (Soetekouw, 2010), the alignment trap (Shpilberg et al., 2007), the alignment environmental context may appear as diffuse (Chan, 2002), and the inability to accommodate social changes (Atkinson et al., 2003). In the contemporary organization, Land, Op’t et al. (2009) see the business and IT as a fusion. Burton (2010) describes the IT management’s prime struggle in the contemporary business as issues regarding trust and awareness among stakeholders involved. The business domain has anticipations on that EA is the solution to present issues, whereas there is a vague settlement on the problem nor how the resolution should be conceptualized (Burton, 2010). In contrast, the business domain is considering the IT domain as weak in delivering benefits to the business that Brynjolfsson (1993) refers to as the productivity paradox. Despite EA is regarded as a core business competence, the balance between the IT and the business domain is infrequent, advocate Bredemeyer & Malan (2004). The cost cutting in the ICT domain has quietly been going on for years, which has an inevitable impact on this balance, interjects Harris (2004). Bytheway (2014) supports the idea of the investment in information and technology in an aim to assimilate the business and the IT domains into a cooperative organization where technology is ubiquitous, as a prerequisite for the forthcoming globalization of the business. If an organization is separated in a business and an IT domain, there is an expectation from each domain to be treated as a separate one as well (Potts, 2008). Kotusev et al. (2015) stress the need for EA to coordinate the alignment between the two: “Enterprise Architecture is a description of an enterprise from an integrated business and IT perspective” (p.1). Ross (2006) claims that the IT assimilation of the business domain could be regarded as a maturity indicator for the organization. This movement has already started in some organizations while these organizations have considered and adopted information and technology as core for future business success, and essential for the organizational survival (Steiber, 2014). Meyers (2012) concludes most organizations will not afford to hire a heard of Enterprise Architects. Though, a single Enterprise Architect could add benefits to the organization, still a critical mass of architects in the EA team is required to obtain effectiveness conferring to Short & Burke (2010). In this light, Luftman (2000) dispute the awareness of the maturity levels of the domains involved, to obtain efficacy. The alignment process will be facilitated by a common and shared language among the stakeholders involved, in essence to sharpening the alignment process (Sidorova & Kappelman, 2011). Thus, various stakeholder groups may request either result from (Fox & Kemp, 2009) or guidance from architecture (O'Donovan, 2011). To establish a balanced and cost- efficient view on these challenges the sense of “we” is crucial for a successful alignment (Sanker, 2012).

The Enterprise Architect - Five Research Topics

© Enterprise Architect, 2015. Version 0.27,  2015-10-11
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