The Enterprise Architect

Theoretical Framework - EA as profession

One interesting question is whether the role of the Enterprise Architect could be considered a profession or not. The intent of this section is to clarify to what extent the Enterprise Architect is considered a profession. Sometimes this occupation could be part-time and from time to time, the job assignments relating to the EA foundation could be of low priority. The Enterprise Architect job title could vary from organization to organization, representing the same assignment.

Who could obtain the role as Enterprise Architect?

According to Handler (2009), 2,2% of all IT personnel only, have accurate skills for the role of an Enterprise Architect. Short & Burke (2010) state that an efficient team of Enterprise Architects is estimated to 2-4% of the IT staff of the organization. For an organization who has acknowledged the advantages from EA, still the number of Enterprise Architects operating within the field of EA is considered to be in a minority. For some occupations within the IT domain, the discussion about if the occupation is to be considered as an art, science, craft or engineering, has been on-going for decades in the area of software development (Janert, 2003). The next subsections will elaborate to what extent this discussion could applied to the Enterprise Architect.

How to differentiate Enterprise Architects from engineers?

The next subsection will elucidate the dissimilarity between an Enterprise Architect and engineers in the same work field. IFEAD (2005) reveals the architect’s role as different from the engineer or designer particularly in the area of style. Both roles are dealing with construction and design with an aim to obtain a certain function. What separates the architects from the engineers is the style perspective, where the style reflects the organizational culture, the norms and values and various rules and principles which guide the organizational movements (IFEAD, 2005). The architect differs on the style representation as a capability, from the engineer. The next subsection will question if working with EA is an art or a science.

Practicing EA – an art or science?

Since a profession is comprising a mixture of art and science, the profession will according to Squires (2005), affect, impact, and intervene their environment. The architect in the context of management as such is to some extent a science in the architect’s position aiming for governance involving rules and principles to improve organizational efficacy and productivity. However, if the occupation is requesting imagination in expressing ideas or feelings, a profession is to a certain degree an art (Gao, 2008). The contextual organizational considerations about knowledge deliberating the diversity of sources and the social epistemology will strengthen this variety (Gao et al., 2008). Unlocking people’s potentials designing a collaborative system is the art as key to enhance the organizational output (Wander, 2013), stressing emotional intelligence (Emmerling et al., 2008) in an aim to obtain an innovative culture (Berardo & Deardorff, 2012). While considering the architect’s position in affecting and intervening their environment, the occupation as Enterprise Architect is to some extent an art. In evaluating the scientific approach to this position, the practice of governance to the IS/IT domain is directing. The subsequent subsection will elaborate if the Enterprise Architect’s occupation should be considered as a profession or a craft.

A profession or a craft?

Revealed from the universal literature, the definition of a profession is a bit dissimilar contrasting the particular EA literature which utilizing the word “profession” in more generic terms. Nevertheless, a certification request of the Enterprise Architect is proposed by some authors of EA literature, founded on the universal literature’s definition of a profession. Abbott (1988) argues that a profession has certain patterns to be contented if it should be considered as a profession. A profession is established when evolved to be something somebody starts doing full time, hence not part-time. The work of a professional is to some extent an exclusive jurisdiction. Since the professionals’ activities are interacting with other professionals, there is an ecology of interacting systems present while an impact in one system will affect another. A profession is intended to deal primarily with human activities, as liable for serving humans with expertise in the jurisdiction of operation. The hierarchical status of a professional group will be evaluated by viewing their clients (Abbott, 1988). Dean (1995) implies a profession are founded on six properties: a) acting with autonomy; b) shows commitment to its clients in a servant attitude; c) conscious about the collegiality of other members of the profession’s group; d) have accomplished an academic, educational background; e) where this educational background is intended to be further developed by job training; f) the professional’s special skills and knowledge should be utilized by the professional in offering a service oriented attitude where the client is the focus. In addition, a profession has a widely spread acceptance of the purpose and objective of the profession where the profession is accredited to meet the prerequisites of the profession involving the code of conduct (Williams, 1998). Apart from acquiring the necessary knowledge in the profession’s domain from the university, a professional is compulsory to develop the basic knowledge of the expert role obtained several years later gathered through socialization within the field of the profession in practicing the profession (Dean, 1995). Since the client is essentially dependent upon the professional’s expert skills, the professional’s self-interest is to be overruled (Christensen, 1994). To monitor this ethical behavior, the professional’s membership is acting in a self-regulatory manner (Armstrong, 1994). In this context, the profession will both be empowered, likewise delimited to the profession’s regulatory influence of the domain, which as such will impact the society or the organization by a particular monopoly for the profession’s domain (Armstrong, 1994). Therefore, the EA literature like CAEAP (2012) requests for a certification of the Enterprise Architect position to fulfill the prerequisites for the Enterprise Architect as being a profession. Likewise, The Open Group (2011) stipulate a certification to recognize formally the skills of the architect in service. In addition, Zachman (1999) advocates the risks in omission the architectural representation, intended by the Enterprise Architect, where Zachman stresses the importance in developing this profession. A profession is something somebody starts doing full time. The work of a professional is to some extent an exclusive jurisdiction. Professions influence other professions. A profession is intended to deal primarily with human activities. A profession are founded on six properties in: (i) acting with autonomy; (ii) shows commitment to its clients in a servant attitude; (iii) conscious about the collegiality of other members of the profession's group, has a widely spread acceptance of the purpose and objective of the profession where the profession is accredited to meet the prerequisites of the profession involving the code of conduct; (iv) apart from acquiring the basic knowledge in the profession's domain from the university, a professional is compulsory to develop the basic knowledge of the expert role obtained several years later gathered through socialization within the field of the profession. In essence, to empower the role of the Enterprise Architect, drafts have been issued requesting for certifying the profession. The next subsection will elucidate the architect’s position to coordinate strategic alignment.

The Coordinator of Strategic Alignment - the profession of alignment mission

Henderson & Venkatraman’s (1999) work on the Strategic Alignment Model emphasizes the functional integration of business operations, IS/IT, the organization's infrastructure, and the organization’s IS/IT infrastructure. Alignment is considered as multifaceted dimensions among a variety of aspects (Pessi et al., 2013). An alignment expressing intrinsic and extrinsic values which are reliant on the contemporary organizational culture and leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006) where especially the extrinsic characteristics from EA is of certain interest (Magoulas & Pessi, 2011). Strategic alignment requires a holistic and purposeful view of the business and its ability to take advantage of technology, in enabling future business (Andriole, 2008). In this environment, the Enterprise Architect is a noteworthy player intended as a core member of a business IT strategy group and in one or more IT steering committees, which groups are aiming for to create harmony between business strategy and IT strategy (Haes de & Grembergen van, 2004). Papke (2014) identify four elements in alignment to realize the beauty of business as the customer, brand intention, culture, and leadership. When these four elements, as a code of business, are aligned, the business Excellency could be achieved. If misaligned, the opposite occurs (Papke, 2014). Alignment is about strategic commitments, aligning emotions, trust, and dependable as implemented in the business culture (Leibner et al., 2009). Lyngso et al. (2014) advocate the business organization, the business behavior and the business information systems interacts with conditions revealed from legal, moral, market and technology, that together will shape the business’ forthcoming opportunities and threats in alignment of the business. The business strategy is formed by the key elements of sponsorship, strategic partnership, and readiness for change combined with strategic alignment (Yaeger & Sorensen, 2013), where electing the most appropriate persons for these assignments are crucial (Drucker, 1985). Alignment comprises culture preferences such as participation, expertise, and authenticity, and leadership preferences expressed in participation, expertise, or acting as servant aiming for team activities to endeavor excellency (Papke, 2014). Strategy advocacy requests ideas, trends, innovation and shifts in the context that together appeal on strategic opportunities (Langer & Yorks, 2013). The Enterprise Architect’s position as coordinator of the alignment business and IS/IT intents are crucial to the modern organization, where particularly the extrinsic values derived from EA should be considered to realize the beauty of business. For some organizations, there are subordinated roles to the architect that the next subsection explores.

Subordinate roles to the Enterprise Architect

EA is considered to have a few sub-professions apart from the Enterprise Architect such as: The Technical Enterprise Architect The Technical Enterprise Architect is responsible for the internal technical environment and its architecture, involving the technical standardization (Hanschke, 2010). The Business Enterprise Architect The business landscape models are the responsibility of the Business Enterprise Architect, where these Business Enterprise Architects emanates from another department of the enterprise than IT (Hanschke, 2010). The Application Enterprise Architect The Application Enterprise Architect is intended to deal chiefly with the enterprise’s application landscape, its architecture and how this architecture will match the EA model (Hanschke, 2010), and the strategic planning, as corporate objectives and time frames to be defined (Mulins, 2013). These few subordinated roles to the Enterprise Architect, could be found in some organizations, covering more specific and detailed domains than the Enterprise Architect’s holistic perspective on the business. For the concurrent Enterprise Architect, quite a few challenges are prevalent. Nonetheless, these challenges could vary from organization to organization; a few examples will be presented in the next subsection.

Key encounters for the Enterprise Architect

Similar to the EA itself, the Enterprise Architect could be considered to have challenges to deal with to create a successful EA environment such as the people issues and balancing dual challenges, which requires the “both-and” approach which could be found as mentally tricky. The Enterprise Architect has a few encounters to deal with, such as: The language used The coherent language used in interpersonal communication, visualization tools to describe the business and conceptualization will make the foundation of an EA framework (Sessions, 2007). Vann (2004) stresses the prerequisite of a commonly accepted language to make change and development efficient. Moreover, a generally accepted pattern language, as a concept, originating from the towns buildings construction (Alexander et al., 1977), is recommended by Kotzé et al. (2012). Lankhorst (2013) argues the essentials of the generic modeling language in itself and the naming conventions utilized in business process mapping for a correct understanding (Weske, 2012). Balancing dual challenges - ambidextrous The more obvious challenge for the Enterprise Architect is to balance the dual challenges to come, which address an individual skill for the architect to act ambidextrous. This balance in dual action, as ambidextrous (Duncan, 1976), request for other skills involving temporal dynamics (Weiner et al., 2012). For the ambidextrous organization, the challenge is to cannibalize the own organization to survive the future (Tushman & O'Reilly, 1996). Other dual challenges are flexibility versus efficiency (Adler et al., 1999), centralized versus decentralized information (Hugoson et al., 2010) innovation speed versus EA in intellectual excellence (Besker & Olsson, 2015b) portrayed as an ivory tower (Bok, 2009; James, 1917), or by inverting the paradox of excellence (Kale, 2015). People issues Gartner Group has in a study found the “people issues” as a top challenge for the architect, followed by the business issues (Burton, 2010). Legal and regulatory compliance One business challenge is to achieve legal compliance from business and information, comprising the regulatory competition (Larouche & Cserne, 2013). Another is the global activities of business and IT systems, where a local adaptation might be necessary, though on an increased complexity (Varella, 2014). A third is the business aspects of outsourcing (Janek, 2012), involving outsourcing of the IT operations (Burnett, 2009), and off-shoring (Oshri et al., 2009). As a fourth aspect to remark is the legal compliance on cloud computing (Edvardsson & Frydlinger, 2013), involving influences by a deviation in net neutrality (Marsden, 2010). As a fifth dimension to mention is the compliance with the internal control systems such as SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) (Marchetti, 2005). Demonstrating the business value derived from EA The business value derived from EA is essential to determine and to follow-up on (Wijegunaratne et al., 2014), and could be considered as either cost reduction or value generation (Schekkerman, 2005). In addition, the quality aspects derived from EA is vital (Wout van't et al., 2010). The net benefits derived from information, systems or service quality (Besker & Olsson, 2013) could be expressed by utilizing the Delone & McLean IS Success Model (Delone & McLean, 2003), whereas architectural knowledge and other constituents of EA, could be more complex to measure. Active knowledge from EA The organizational knowledge has to be up-to-date and rapidly available to support new initiatives and sudden situations (Lillehagen & Krogstie, 2008). Besides, architectural knowledge as such is relevant to the organization in the long run, nonetheless this knowledge is severe to defend (Andersson et al., 2008). Innovation The mindset of architectural innovation (Henderson & Clark, 1990) is more important in the future than in the past (Besker & Olsson, 2015a). A clear and open mindset by management is crucial for serendipity as fortunate and pleasant surprise of discovering new areas (Makri et al., 2014). Time for change Several architects perceive frequently resistance to change (Besker & Olsson, 2014) and 60-80% of change initiates fail (Passenheim, 2010). Change and transitions could be long-lasting events according to Kotter (1998) while the most frequent resistance to change could be found from people close to the top executives. The more experienced users, the more resistance to adopting a change in methods and rules, argues Fitzgerald (1998). This subsection describes a variety of assignments and the organizational approach that could affect the Enterprise Architect while the presence may vary from organization to organization. The challenges for the EA may require a list of desiderata not just revealed from the architects in operation, but also from the organizational culture in empowering and acknowledging organizational roles with a particular purpose in strengthen the organizational forthcoming. Before entering the chapter of primary interest for this study, the aim of the initial theoretical framework presented in chapter 3 has aimed to elucidate the multifaceted and multi-disciplinary context of the Enterprise Architect’s work field, where several challenges that positions this profession in the organization are prevalent. The architect’s occupation could be elucidated from various perspectives: evaluated as a craft or profession, scientifically or as an art, or as engineering to some extent. Independently of the organizational perspectives on the architect’s position, the extrinsic values derived from EA are essential to the architect’s capability as coordinator of strategic alignment. The next chapter is intended the primary focus of this study: the Enterprise Architect.

Enterprise Architecture as a profession

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