Enterprise Architecture is a complex and time-consuming practice that aims to collect and analyze knowledge about an organization. The outcome of this exercise must be an exhaustive set of information useful for effective decision-making.
To successfully execute the EA discipline, we must understand who is in charge of doing so, and hence the question that we will try to answer in this article. But before we do so...
We have frequently witnessed siloed Enterprise Architecture practices when a single man would attempt to reach the discipline's goals. In some cases, such circumstances lasted for years, and in other cases, they got uncovered and shut down shortly after inception. In all cases, such EA activities delivered no value, and the approach proved to be ineffective.
Hence, the first kind of teamwork that we want to emphasize is between EA and other specialties. You can call this union a partnership, but we wanted to call it a team to highlight the existence of a shared goal. Enterprise Architecture solves business and technology challenges, and without teaming up with respective organizations and their leaders, this exercise will never succeed.
Another manifestation of teamwork is within the group responsible for Enterprise Architecture. It is typical and natural that organizations hire practitioners who hold the titles of Enterprise Architect. However, such specialists alone rarely (or, let's face it - never) reach the EA objectives. If so...
Although the discipline's name is Enterprise Architecture, that does not mean that you only need EAs to execute the mission.
Perhaps it is fair to say that maybe a solo EA would succeed in the past, but times have changed since then. The constant emergence of novel technological trends suggests that the Architecture team needs competencies from various areas nowadays.
For example, in today's environment, we have Data Architects, and who, if not them, better understands the information that flows within an enterprise? Similarly, application development practices have become mainstream in almost every organization, and Solution Architects are SMEs in this area of work. And if so, perhaps we need these specialists to conduct an adequate analysis of any business entity's information systems.
After all, who all do we need to form an Enterprise Architecture team?
The truth is, there is no silver bullet answer since it changes from one to another case. However, the group will need representatives from the business and technology side of things, abstractly speaking. Afterward, you need to look at your organization and determine what these areas mean in your case. First things first - you need business representatives by all means. If data is a central and critical aspect, you need a Data Architect, too. If you develop homegrown software solutions, you must also add Solution Architects. And if you use technologies - either in the form of off-the-shelf solutions or hosting environments for homegrown software - then you need technology SMEs as well.
We mentioned siloes earlier. To avoid such structural anti-patterns, you need to establish a partnership between the EA and other business areas. Where do you need to look?
It helps if you start with stakeholders - those who need the knowledge from EA exercise to make decisions. Again, the answer will be different from one case to another, but it always exists. Recall why you started the EA journey in the first place, who needed help, and you get to the correct answer.
Typical partners are stakeholders from various enterprise areas (business, software development, DevOps, etc.) and executives and senior leadership. Such partnerships are essential to maximize the benefits that the Enterprise Architecture delivers and share the knowledge repository that the EA carries naturally.
Yes, Archipeg - a cloud-based EA SaaS - is all about teamwork, simplification, and strategic execution of change. We believe that maximizing the positive impact of Enterprise Architecture is only possible via this path of unification and cooperation. We exist to make businesses successful via Enterprise Architecture and its practitioners.