Lead architect. Business architect. Technical architect. Lead Architect

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1 Tactical Guidelines, G. James Research Note 20 September 2002 Best Practices for Selecting Enterprise Architects A good enterprise architect needs not only excellent technical skills, but business and behavioral competencies as well. Develop a set of competencies for each enterprise architect role that balances vision and pragmatism. Core Topic Business Management of IT: Workforce Strategies Key Issue What factors will drive the selection, development and sourcing of people? Tactical Guidelines When selecting enterprise architects, look for individuals with business and behavioral competencies. Technical competencies are not enough. Build a profile of the ideal candidate for an enterprise architecture role, listing target competencies and defining a level of expertise. Use the role profile as a guide. Don't expect an individual to have all of the competencies at the indicated level of expertise. Look for enterprise architects who combine pragmatism with vision. Architecture is concerned with managing an enterprise's technology and application portfolio to achieve cross-functional, strategic goals. However, these strategic goals need to be balanced against short-term goals with a project or department focus. Enterprise architecture is not simply a technical undertaking. To be effective, enterprise architects need a set of competencies that includes business and behavioral capabilities. In "The 25 Competencies of 'IS Lite': Briefly Defined," we describe a set of such competencies for IS professionals. There are a number of enterprise architecture roles that require different combinations of competencies. While specific positions will depend upon the individual enterprise, it is useful to consider three architecture roles: Lead architect Business architect Technical architect Lead Architect The lead architect is responsible for the enterprise architecture function. The lead architect should participate in seniormanagement forums for the development and implementation of business strategies. Lead architects should contribute to discussions about the development and implementation of business strategy by: Identifying and implementing cross-enterprise IT initiatives Defining new service models that require business process redesign and application changes Gartner Entire contents 2002 Gartner, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 Identifying and assessing new opportunities with a significant business process design and IT component Business Architect Many enterprises have learned that maximizing their performance in today's environment requires the integration of customer-facing applications with back-office processes. This requirement for effective integration has prompted the creation of the business architect role someone who understands business strategy and processes, and who can help design business solutions that link disparate processes and application systems. The business architect must possess a good understanding of the business and a broad knowledge of IT and applications. In small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs), business architecture duties can be readily handled by one person, perhaps even by the lead architect. Technical Architect Technical architects must have a proven ability to work with technical details. Although technical architects cannot be expected to have extensive skills in all areas, previous in-depth knowledge ensures that they have a good grasp of key concepts in their assigned area, are able to investigate and validate information, and can build new technology strategies in their area of expertise. Responsibilities of the technical architect include conducting R&D projects to test new techniques and. Generally, technical architects focus on either data, applications or technology. However, these are not clear demarcations. For example, data and application architects must understand the that apply to their domain: database management systems, application servers and component-based development tools, to name a few. Because of the large numbers of employed even in small enterprises, it is not possible for a single individual to have the skills to cover all areas. Most enterprises will need several technical architects. In SMBs, these might be part-time roles. Architecture Competencies Figure 1 lists the top 10 competencies for the three architect roles we have outlined. This list is only a guide, since the desired competencies will vary from enterprise to enterprise. The extent to which each competency is exhibited will vary, with some individuals having a basic capability and others possessing extensive expertise. It is unrealistic to expect any individual to have all competencies at the "coach" level. Furthermore, each 20 September

3 competency isn't required at the same depth for each role. For example, the lead architect will benefit from a high level of competence in "influencing and persuading"; a technical architect will be able to get by with less expertise in this area. Attempt to balance competencies across the architecture team so that individual skills are complementary. Because of the political nature of architecture work, all architects must be able to communicate effectively, as well as listen, understand and acknowledge other points of view. These capabilities need to be combined with influencing and persuading skills so that once an architecture position has been adopted, support can be generated throughout the enterprise. This focus on communication is a characteristic common to successful architecture groups. Figure 1 Sample Top 10 Architect Competencies Lead Architect Business Architect Technical Architect Understanding existing systems Applying procedures, tools and Understanding existing systems and technology methods and technology Understanding business Understanding business Integrating systems organization, politics and culture practices and approaches Communicating/listening and Communicating/listening and Designing technical architecture Focusing on customers Focusing on customers Communicating/listening and Leading, inspiring and building Thinking creatively and trust innovating Focusing on customers Focusing on results Focusing on results Thinking creatively and innovating Thinking strategically Thinking strategically Focusing on results Building relationships/ Building relationships Thinking strategically teamworking teamworking Influencing and persuading Influencing and persuading Influencing and persuading Source Gartner Research Technical Competencies Business Competencies Behavioral Competencies Coach Advanced Proficient Basic Another challenge for architects is to combine strategic thinking with pragmatism. For this reason, Gartner recommends the "focus on results" and "thinking strategically" competencies for all three architect roles. Although difficult to find in a single individual, this blend of capabilities is important. Architects who adopt a rigid, doctrinaire approach will fail to pragmatically assess and identify opportunities for architectural progress. 20 September

4 All three architecture roles require a thorough understanding of emerging, although the actual involved will vary from role to role. Technical architects need a deeper understanding of specific, whereas lead and business architects must be knowledgeable enough to assess possible business applications. Lead and business architects must place a greater focus on business and behavioral competencies than the technical architect, since they need to work closely with business people to identify and negotiate opportunities to apply architecture standards and guidelines. To do this, they need to build relationships and establish trust and credibility. Identification and Development of Competencies Enterprise architects usually hold a bachelor s degree in computer science or a related discipline, or have equivalent experience, along with a demonstrated ability to think strategically and drill down into technical or business details. They must have at least 10 years of IT experience. Candidates for technical architecture roles should have backgrounds that indicate a deep level of technical understanding. Possessing up-to-date technical skills is not as important as the ability to quickly acquire and apply those skills. Individuals who are focused on just one area will lack the broad perspective necessary to be a good architect. A knowledge of multiple focus areas indicates flexibility and a willingness to master new disciplines. Such a well-rounded candidate may have worked with a vendor in a pre- or post-sales role or with an IT professional services company. These types of jobs demand quick learning of new as well as good interpersonal and communication skills. Candidates for a business architect role can have less technical depth but must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of the business drivers, legislative and financial constraints, barriers to entry into the industry, and the influence of alternative products and services. Industry consulting practices are valuable sources of business architects. People with extensive, high-level experience as business analysts also make good candidates. Identifying business and behavioral competencies is more difficult than recognizing technical competencies. However, because these competencies are not confined to IT, your enterprise's HR team can assist with candidate selection and skills development. 20 September

5 Bottom Line: Using our rundown of recommended competencies, develop a profile for lead, business and technical enterprise architects. However, don't expect an individual candidate to possess all the competencies in the profile. 20 September

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