Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Enterprise Architect Is Dead ... Long Live the Enterprise Architect

I got pinged by a headhunter this week.

They are seeking an Enterprise Architect.

Since I recently vowed to *always* look for a new job, I told them "Sure! I'm interested for the right opportunity and compensation." Then I promised to get an updated resume out by tomorrow. After that, I grabbed a cup of ...

... my favorite beverage during work hours ...

Then I called up my friend and colleague, whose name has been changed to protect his innocence, "T. Mountain", who used to work as an Enterprise Architect for a 6 Billion dollar a year company. And a darn good one, I might add, based upon my personal experience and knowledge of his experience, attainments and manner of working. We had worked together at a brokerage firm many years back. 

I called T. Mountain because I remembered that he had been laid off from, oh what the heck!, the company shouldn't be protected from the guilt of their stupidity! ... He got laid off from Lexis Nexis. When I got T Mountain on the horn, we had the following exchange...

TheHackerCIO: "So tell me, you got the Ax at Lexis right?"

T.Mountain: "Yes, ... actually they eliminated the role."

TheHackerCIO: "What did they say? Was it like, 'So we no longer have an Enterprise and therefore we have no need of an Enterprise Architecture." Or was it, "We no longer desire to pay any attention to architecture, because we'd rather be agile and not plan anything we do."

T.Mountain: "Actually, they kept Domain Architects and Solution Architects. So they just eliminated the Enterprise Architecture role. 

TheHackerCIO: "What is s Domain architect?"

T.Mountain: "They handle a particular subject area domain, so they are kind of technologists who are also SMEs about some aspect of the business."

TheHackerCIO: "I see! So did they say, 'We've decided that we no longer want to have enterprise-wide integration and planning. We want to move back to where each Domain can be a separate, uncoordinated "tower," or "stovepipe," unconnected to any other system in the enterprise. We want to avoid having systems in separate groups aligned to a common strategy or business purpose?"

<laughter on both sides >

T.Mountain: "No, they just said they no longer required the role, but of course what you say is the natural implication of their actions."
TheHackerCIO: "I'm asking you about this partly to laugh about the Dilbertian nature of their stupidity, but also for a serious purpose. I'm applying for a contract as an EA and I thought that those kinds of roles had died. I knew you got axed."

T.Mountain: "Yes, the EA role was eclipsed for a period, but it was a brief cyclical downturn. Many of the people at LexisNexis are upset that we are now gone. And I've seen a lot of resurgence in enterprise architecture demand recently, especially in my LinkedIn searches."

TheHackerCIO: "Well, that's good to know. And of course the key to such a position is that you have to have some power as well as responsibility, or else you can't succeed.

T.Mountain: "That's right. Be sure that your boss has executive sponsorship, so that EA is actually respected and has enough power to actually deliver value. At Lexis this was not the case."

TheHackerCIO: "Of course not."

T.Mountain: "We had the Domain Architects and Solution architects ... they just ignored our direction and suggestions."

TheHackerCIO: "Of course. Thanks for your time ..."

And so, I remain .....


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