Archive for the ‘ Career ’ Category

The Open Group Conference Boston 2010

The Open Group convened Enterprise Architects the world over in what is probably the conference capital of the world – Boston, from 19 – 23 July 2010. Here are a few statements from the speakers on Day 3 – on the significance of IT people in general, the EA practice, the growing list of skills required of Enterprise Architects, and a little on cloud computing.

“IT people are the best people to address the relevance of IT within companies” – Jack Calhoun, CEO, Accelare, US

“Decisions cannot be made in a vacuum without having the proper data and the context for that information. Enterprise architecture can help businesses pose the correct questions and provide the necessary data to make better decision making scenarios.” – Paul Johnson, CEO, Pragmatica Innovations

The following statement shows that business does involve some level of emotion – the ability to inspire through a well-described vision in addition to providing hard data can weigh the vote in your favor.

“Because getting buy-in becomes more difficult the further up the decision-chain one goes, Mr. Skilton suggested that a combination of providing vision, quantitative analysis and qualitative information is necessary to begin the conversation.” – Capgemini’s Mark Skilton, Global Director, Applications Outsourcing

We better come up with a better title for the Enterprise Architect – Superhero?

Psychology, sociology and communications though are some disciplines I did want to get a degree for back in college. Maybe one day… Interesting how all my interests have come together under EA. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I find EA so intriguing. It’s multi-faceted and not limited to “IT”. It reaches beyond the cold boundaries of technology or corporate games. I guess it’s because behind all that technology are flesh-and-blood, living and breathing and feeling humans. In a way, I chose to go into IT to numb myself from the world and lose myself in bits and bytes and code but there’s no escaping the human drama.

“As a discipline, EA has evolved as a practitioner-based discipline that grew out of the need to have IT professionals that could have an overarching view of the enterprise. EA is also a way for the enterprise to take a holistic view of every level of the organization. Because EAs need to have a holistic view, they also need to be capable of systems thinking. With the focus of IT shifting to the business, EAs now need a set of skills that can encompass many disciplines including an amalgam of systems engineering, IT trends and processes, and organizational theory related fields such as psychology, public administration, communications and sociology.” – Beryl Bellman, Academic Director, FEAC Institute

The following statement made me LOL – probably the most adjectives in one statement ever. Funny but true. Just imagine the amount of pointless meetings you’ve had to sit in and you have the first adjective defined – garrulous.

“Most effective organizations are “garrulous, clumsy, superstitious, hypocritical, monstrous, octopoid, wandering and grouchy.” – Beryl Bellman, Academic Director, FEAC Institute

“Forrester does not believe that Cloud is the “next big thing” in IT—rather, the next big thing is smart computing—which includes smart networks, data centers, mobile devices, and smart applications—of which the cloud is actually just an enabler of these things.” – Forrester Research analyst Henry Peyret

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Posted by rochelleolviga

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Is the Demand for Enterprise Architecture Talent Increasing?

Based on Kelly Services’ annual Salary Guide, the answer seems to be Yes.

There are 2 positions listed in the guide that are related to the Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline – 1) Solutions Architect and 2) Enterprise & Architect. Below is the salary trend for these 2 titles over the past 4 years.

Solutions Architect – Minimum & Maximum Salary Trend

In what could be attributed to the recession, 2008 shows a decrease in Solutions Architects’ maximum salary. But this picked up the following year, going back to the same level as 2007.

Enterprise & Architect – Minimum & Maximum Salary Trend

Notice that this position appeared in the guide starting 2008 which shows the industry starting to recognize the significance of EA or its principles.

Job Descriptions

So what does the industry expect from a Solutions Architect or a Enterprise & Architect? These are the job descriptions from the guide.

Solutions Architect – Provide pre and post sales support in an IT vendor environment by developing the technical architecture and design of systems or applications. Provide technical leadership and subject matter expertise in various stages of the sales and project delivery lifecycle.

Enterprise & Architect – Design IT systems setup.

Does this mean that most Solutions Architects are consultants instead of in-house staff? In a way, this makes sense as to be a Solutions Architect, you need a broad range of experience made possible by working in a consulting company as opposed to working at the client side where exposure to various technologies is limited and the time to build a portfolio of projects is longer. This is unless the organization you work in is aggressive in its technology plan.

As for the Enterprise & Architect, the description is quite general. In fact, in a survey done by BP among its architects, it was found that the architect’s role was vaguely defined. So BP started a program that includes the TOGAF certification.

The TOGAF Architecture Skills Framework

Following the TOGAF Architecture Skills Framework, there are actually more than a few roles under a typical EA undertaking, namely:
1. IT Designer
2. Program and/or Project Manager
3. Architects – for each of these areas: Enterprise Architecture, Business Architecture, Data Architecture, Application Architecture, Technology Architecture
4. Architecture Manager
5. Architecture Sponsor
6. Architecture Board Members

As EA adoption in Singapore advances, we hope to see the industry-recognized position of Enterprise & Architect more specified and see more positions created under the EA umbrella.

Starting a Career in EA

If you are interested in an EA career, you may want to learn more about EA and how you can build upon your existing skills towards one of the EA positions listed above. Example: If you want to move into an Applications Architect role, these are the skills you need to have at an expert level according to the TOGAF Architecture Skills Framework.

Generic Skills:
– Teamwork
– Inter-personal
– Oral communications
– Written communications
– Logical analysis

Business Skills & Methods:
– Business case
– Business scenario
– Business process
– Business metrics

Enterprise Architecture Skills:
– Business modeling
– Business process design
– Role design
– Organization design
– Application design
– IT industry standards
– Services design
– Architecture principles design
– Architecture views & viewpoints design
– Building block design
– Solutions modeling
– Benefits analysis
– Business interworking
– Systems behavior

IT General Knowledge Skills:
– IT application development methodologies & tools
– Programming languages
– Brokering applications
– Information consumer applications
– Information provider applications
– Web-based services
– Service level agreements
– COTS
– Enterprise continuums
– Management utilities
– Infrastructure

Technical IT Skills:
– Software engineering
– Security
– Transaction processing
– User interface

Quite a comprehensive list but if you are an IT mid- or higher level manager and especially if you have a Software Engineer background, you should already have most of these skills save for the Enterprise Architecture skills. A good course on EA which includes creating a graded EA paper for a real-world case should give you a good start. Presently, the Institute of Systems Science at the National University of Singapore has such a course.

Reference: TOGAF 9 handbook

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Posted by rochelleolviga