With the reawakening of Enterprise Architecture (EA) in the past few years, the approach towards an Enterprise Architecture community gained popularity. This article provides 12 reasons, why your organization should consider an Enterprise Architecture Community.
Makes Enterprise Architecture Part of the DNA of Your Organization
Enterprise Architecture should not be a department; it should be part of the DNA of your company. Because EA is not only relevant to IT architects. It is particularly important for:
- project and product managers,
- digital business stakeholders,
- portfolio managers,
- cooperation partners etc.
Therefore, a community approach can be the right way to address a larger audience across departments and reporting lines.
Values and Makes Efficient Use of the Scarce Resources
A Glassdoor study from 2019 suggests that “Enterprise Architect” is the highest paid tech-related job position in the US. This is a well quantified indication of the scarcity and value that Enterprise Architects have in todays economy. Accordingly, organizations should try to maximize the benefits that they get from their workers. This can be done by optimizing the knowledge sharing from Enterprise Architects. An EA community is a good approach to do so.
Provides First-Hand Insights
In the past, one major critique on the role of Enterprise Architects was that they just stay in their ivory towers and do not really address real-life problems. A popular solution for this became that Enterprise Architects got additional roles, which bring them first-hand operational insights. While this is not always possible, a community approach is another possibility to ensure that your Enterprise Architects know what the company really drives.
Solves Unsolved Enterprise Architecture Challenges
Apart from this major critique, there are multiple further issues that remain unsolved for most Enterprise Architecture Departments. To name a few, becoming truly agile is one of them, another one is to accelerate the speed of activities to meet the speed with which software departments are developing. Another issue is that EA is often perceived to not deliver true value to an organization. As all these topics are intensively discussed across the globe, a community is an excellent approach to discuss best practices and understand what they mean for your organization in particular.
Addresses the Broadened Scope of Enterprise Architecture
In recent years, the scope of Enterprise Architecture broadened due to several trends, such as the popularity of platforms, the increased importance of data regulations and data privacy, the complexity of microservice architectures and hybrid / multi cloud environments, and the increased attention by business stakeholders that need their digital business models supported, and the exponential increase of new technologies on the market. All these trends lead to the fact that today´s Enterprise Architects need to be aware of more things, need to stay updated more frequently, and just need more skills and knowledge. A community can make this possible for individuals.
Handles More Technologies With Shorter Lifecycles
Not only are there more technologies on the market, but the lifecycle of an average technology also decreases. As a result, they are faster outdated, need to be replaced and new technologies need to be considered. Communities can help to exchange insights and experiences with new technologies; for instance, by discussing and aligning on a common technology radar for an organization.
Helps With Big and Complex Application Landscapes
Application landscape sizes further increase. The result is that an Enterprise Architect is confronted with an increased complexity, and additional required knowledge and skills. As every human has a natural capacity limit, this can lead to additional required resources. A community approach is a good way to use these resources efficiently and distribute them across an organization as needed.
Promotes Shift From Hierarchies to Teams
Modern EA organizations tend to flatten their hierarchies and prefer to work in teams. However, most EA Departments are still quite hierarchical, and they also need the hierarchy to take decisions and streamline activities. Communities are a good approach to establish such teams that are not affected by hierarchies within a department and hence can bring both approaches together.
Supports Lifelong Learning and Micro Trainings
With all the new technologies and additional relevant activities, lifelong learning becomes even more important for Enterprise Architects. In addition, current trends support the concept of micro trainings, which are trainings that have a much smaller scope than the traditional ones. For instance, instead of learning for a TOGAF exam or an ITIL exam, which will easily take 2 weeks, micro exams cover content for up to one day. Community meetings can be a good way to share knowledge and provide training insights similar to the concept of micro trainings.
Addresses Challenges From Globalization
Although the latest developments might reverse this a bit, the megatrend in IT is still towards globalization. With that, dependencies and interfaces across the globe become also relevant. While a central global department can hardly consider all details of a global IT architecture, a community is a good way to share and exchange knowledge between global and local Enterprise Architects.
Strengthens Business-IT Alignment for New Digital Business Models
New business models are often based on new technologies. However, business takes the lead for such developments. Consequently, there is an increased need for IT knowledge on business side, especially in terms on technology and architecture knowledge. While fostering the business architecture of an organization that helps to align business and IT, using a community approach to deepen cross business-IT discussions is perhaps an even better way to get business challenges solved.
Helps With Long-Term Intrinsic Motivation and Happy Architects
Finally, motivation and work conditions are always important, and they are even more important if you want your valuable and scarce resources to stay in your organization. Providing a platform and spotlight for employees where they can present their work, get attention, and be important, is an excellent way to increase the intrinsic motivation and engagement of architects.