There has been quite a bit of news over the years on the changing role of the CIO. Shifts are happening to the role of the enterprise architect, as well. Although the EA role has always been about holistic, enterprise-level thinking, it is taking on more concerns about the extended enterprise, including the suppliers of products and services. It is incorporating more of the concerns HP has been trying to address with the Instant-On Enterprise.
There is an article in The Open Group site titled: Enterprise Architecture’s Quest for its Identity written by Len Fehskens, who used to work at HP. His article focuses on how the EA role is not really an application, infrastructure or even an IT role. The role is about the entire enterprise and creating an environment that meets its objectives. One thought he puts forward is that enterprises continuously adapt, changing based on the pressures they are under. It is made up of people, relationships and groups, not just the buildings… and IT systems.
This is forcing the Enterprise Architect role to take on more organizational change management thinking. It is no longer just about plugging software and hardware components together, taking latency out of the organization. It is about being able to assemble groups of services to a common cause – in a repeatable fashion.
A second article I came across looks at how architects work. It is still focused on a big picture view, but within IT domain. It is titled: IT architects emerge as tech's new gurus. “Architects must ‘ask the right questions’ about products and services and then make judgments about ‘how they fit into the whole”. Once again reinforcing the perspective that it is no longer about just a single enterprise, but the extended enterprise as well.
As organizations think about architects, it is becoming less about technical expertise and situations where you slide requirements and pizza under the door, waiting for great solutions to pop out. It is looking at the softer side of how people, businesses and industries work together and the kinds of support required to be successful.