Enterprise architects are put on this earth to create social change

Enterprise architects are put on this earth to create social change

Summary: Enterprise architects have the toughest job in the world: changing peoples' minds.

TOPICS: IT Priorities

The job of enterprise architects is not just to smooth over existing arrangements to make technology run better for the business. Enterprise architects are put on this earth to overthrow the existing order of things.

That's the view of Nick Malik, who made the point that enterprise architects are in the business of revolution:

As an enterprise architect, I am in the business of creating social change. I'm actually paid to get things to change (how's that for a cool job). Of course, I'm paid to make the changes within corporations, and the benefit goes to the corporation by making them more effective, efficient, or timely in their desire to 'make tangible' their own business strategy. However, the reasons and rationale aside, my job is all about change.

Of course, this entails one of the hardest jobs in the world--getting people to change. To change their jobs, their workflows, their preconceived notions, and their thinking.

Nick said that the key to getting people to make positive change boils down to one word: empathy. "Empathy is the single most powerful, most important, and most useful personality trait that an enterprise architect can have, bar none," he pointed out. It means more than just sitting in a meeting with an end-user and taking good notes--it means "connecting at a deep level with the people that you are being asked to work with."

One can sense an undercurrent of Agile methodology in Nick's statement--the idea of tech professionals sitting down and working in small groups with end-users on a regular basis, release by release, until everyone is happy with the final outcome.

Enterprise architects need to take a leadership role in this process, he continued. And ultimately, "only by connecting with another individual can an enterprise architect understand what is motivating that person to change, and what is keeping them from achieving it."

Topic: IT Priorities

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  • Yes, EAs are all about changes

    but they are also need to be a responsible transformational leaders and that's what at least my clients expected from me. Whether you layout roadmaps, build strategies or bring in new value additions, corporations always look at you as a leader for progress.
    Ram U
  • EA is not transformation

    I disagree. I define an enterprise's architecture as the structure of its data + the structure of its processes + the interactions between the two, informed by the enterprise's goals and objectives. I define the EA's job as creating (for start-ups only), documenting, rationalizing, optimizing, educating about, evangelizing about, and consulting about that architecture. The EA should also have authority and responsibility for architectural oversight of all creation of, and changes to, the enterprise's data and processes -- the "bones" of its architecture -- to ensure that those data and processes stay consistent with the enterprise's architecture, or that the architecture is adapted to accommodate them. (However, the EA should not have direct responsibility for those creations and changes; that's for solution architects.)

    None of that is directly about transformation. EA is an _enabler_ of transformation, and because of the EA's holistic view of the enterprise from an architectural viewpoint, he/she should be a valuable consultant to enterprise strategists. But he/she has plenty to do with the charter I've laid out above.