Make the business grow; but don't spend money to do it. Sure, a mandate like this can make you want to pull your hair out. But this is also fertile opportunity for SOA, and other new-world IT strategies such as event-driven architecture and open-source software.
Brenda Michelson of Patricia Seybold Group says this is the reason we may be seeing more enterprise architects in our midst. Such individuals can pave the way to greater business agility with simpler, smarter technologies.
Michelson provides a checklist on the qualities needed in enterrpise architects: They need to be up on the latest trends shaping IT, but business-savvy as well. They need to have expertise in at least two of the foundational disciplines of business architecture, application architecture, information architecture, platform architecture, network architecture, security architecture, as well as applications and systems management architecture. "An enterprise architect's skill set must include architecture practice expertise, great thinking capabilities, and strong people/professional skills. For an enterprise architect to be successful, he/she must be able to take a valuable idea from inception to implementation, gathering support along the way."
These are admirable organizational skills that are needed, of course. But at the end of Michelson's checklist is a quality that sums the challenge up pretty well: "Can innovate, simply." SOA is all about innovation, and it's also about solving complex technology tangles through simplicity.
Simplify, simplify, simplify. That may be the toughest job of all for this new emerging class of enterprise architects.