Enterprise Architecture is the discipline not just for Enterprise Architects, it's the thinking process every business leader should master; and it's the discipline every mature organization needs to practice. Not everyone is EA, but everyone can learn how to think like architect- systematic thinking, holistic thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, analytics thinking, synthetic thinking, non-linear thinking, abstract thinking and whole-brain thinking., etc.
1. Who are EAs by Nature?
Who is Enterprise Architect? What’re the strengths and skills of an effective EA? Synthesize all the enterprise factors into a cohesive decision framework, and facilitating appropriate business initiatives to execute the resultant strategy. Different role may have different thinking pattern
- The first skill an "architect" must have is "abstraction" - being able to step back from details and see patterns, generalization, standards, context, and a bigger picture.
- The first skill an "engineer" must have is "specification" - being able to focus, and apply with precision, on details by using abstracted standards and patterns from architecture.
- The first skill a "scientist" must have is "analytical, synthesis, and empirical techniques" - being able to focus and precision on "proving" the consistency of observed phenomena, such as pattern.
- The first skill a "technician" must have is "application" - being able to apply the packaged knowledge from the scientist, architect, engineer, and other teachers to their vocation.
Some EAs are also scientists, the others are also engineers, or technician. It is fairly easy to transform a technician into an engineer. It is harder, and takes more time and a major conceptual shift to transform an engineer into an architect (going from specific viewpoint to a general/abstraction viewpoint). And it takes either a totally different path to become a scientist, or many years as an architect to become a scientist, even a naturalistic rather than empirical one.
2. The Three Most Important Characteristics of an EA
The three most important characteristics of an EA are, and not necessarily in this order:
- A flexible open-minded "outside of the box" creative and critical thinker, who can take new strategies and assimilate them into the business or enterprise so that the new strategy becomes a part of the culture. EA has enterprise level of knowledge, he/she must be able to pass it to other people. Therefore architect is also a teacher by nature.
3. EA as ProfessionEnterprise Architect is actually a combination of Architect roles such as
Business Architect (advisory to the Business, process-level);
Solutions Architect (End to End Solutions);
Application/System Architect (Technology-specific), Data Architect policing every group (Business and IT) within an enterprise for aspects such as process improvement, standards, business agility etc. They also sit at policy/law making and enforcement group for the enterprise. Thus, you may not be an Enterprise Architect; but you can get a lot of benefit by thinking like an EA.