Friday, June 5, 2020

The Knowledge, Experience, and Skill of Enterprise Architect

Besides the “hard skills” such as business domains knowledge, project management experiences, and organizational restructuring skills; one of the most important “soft” skills of an EA is empathy. 

Architecture is more of an art than a science and being an Enterprise Architect requires the breadth and depth of knowledge from many aspects, enriched professional experience, and more skills than certifications.

There are many channels to mature as an Enterprise Architect. Enterprise Architects with different maturing paths may see the same organization from varying lenses and with very different challenges.

Business domain knowledge: As we all know knowledge is power. In fact, knowledge as a soft business asset is more intangible, complex, and dynamic compared to the physical asset. With the exponential growth of information and hyper-connected nature of the digital business, the border of knowledge domains has a blurred scope, knowledge does not stand still, and it is expanded in the continual base. Knowledge doesn’t always inform you of true understanding, and it is not an isolated fact but needs to flow and transfer for achieving its business value. The enterprise architect who has domain knowledge can apply EA as a useful tool to co-manage knowledge by overcoming silo, context over content, global over local, cross-disciplinary over single disciplinary, with the goal to maximize business potential and achieve KM value.

With EA as an effective tool, Knowledge Management can be well embedded into the key business processes and it involves the exploration of the knowledge interdependencies that contribute to the value of critical knowledge. Knowledge cycles drive the emergence, extend through and beyond the scope of the organization. Enterprise architects with solid domain knowledge can design an interactive knowledge architecture and take dynamic knowledge disciplines, allow knowledge to flow frictionlessly, connect dots to create fresh ideas, and increase the contemporary “business consciousness” = KM Tools + KM Process + KM Standard = KM.

IT management experiences: Highly effective IT management uses ITA as a useful tool to communicate and navigate, to ensure IT delivery is about People, Process, and Technology, not just technology. Effective IT management is a linchpin to integrate all crucial components into business competency and run a high-performance digital business. It means you need to understand every island of operation and every workflow process. Enterprise architects with IT management experience can work with IT leaders both within IT and on IT, across the business scope, and seek ways to deal with enterprise complexity and solve critical business issues smoothly by focusing on top prioritized business issues and being able to see beyond tactical solutions and reaching strategic dimensions.

IT organizations need to maintain their value in an environment of increasing growth and complexity of their business units. Enterprise Architecture enables early prediction of a system’s qualities, holistic understanding, and their purpose to achieve the goals for the thing being architected to unlock organizational performance and maturity. Enterprise Architects with IT management experiences can leverage IT Architecture to co-create a decent IT-enabled business capability map and use that to frame activities/artifacts, co-develop the capability-based strategy.

Organizational restructure skills: Digital enterprises are inherently and intensely complex and unpredictable systems, amplify multiple effects, and shape business structures and systems continuously. In the industrial age, many organizations are running in silos, with the overly restricted top-down organizational hierarchy which slows down the business speed. Enterprise Architect with organizational restructure skills can work proactively to dismantle business bureaucracy, experiment with different types of organizational structures to enforce business alignment, enablement, and adaptability.

The architectural views are any aspects of the enterprise concern to a stakeholder. Enterprise Architects with organizational design skills can help to restructure the digital company which is solid enough to give some sort of forms or meanings and open enough to its environment and allow the movement of people, ideas, and information frictionlessly. Limited hierarchy works best in a creative environment in which the free flow of ideas and their prompt implementation is a key element of business success.

Besides the “hard skills” such as business domains knowledge, project management experiences, and organizational restructuring skills; one of the most important “soft” skills of an EA is empathy. Empathy allows an EA to "wear the shoes" of his/her business stakeholders, and to see the world from their position, their measures, and their defined goals for success.


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