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Enterprise architects work with stakeholders, both leadership and subject matter experts, to build a holistic view of the organization's strategy, processes, information, and information technology assets. The role of the enterprise architect is to take this knowledge and ensure that the business and IT are in alignment. The enterprise architect links the business mission, strategy, and processes of an organization to its IT strategy, and documents this using multiple architectural models or views that show how the current and future needs of an organization will be met in an efficient, sustainable, agile, and adaptable manner.
Enterprise architects operate across organizational and computing "silos" to drive common approaches and expose information assets and processes across the enterprise. Their goal is to deliver an architecture that supports the most efficient and secure IT environment meeting a company's business needs.
Enterprise architects are like city planners, providing the roadmaps and regulations that a city uses to manage its growth and provide services to its citizens. In this analogy, it is possible to differentiate the role of the system architect, who plans one or more buildings; software architects, who are responsible for something analogous to the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) within the building; network architects, who are responsible for something like the plumbing within the building, and the water and sewer infrastructure between buildings or parts of a city. The enterprise architect however, like a city planner, both frames the city-wide design, and choreographs other activities into the larger plan.
A holistic enterprise architecture (entarch) strategy has the potential to allow both the Business and IT strategies to cohesively enable and drive each other. Therefore, enterprise architecture may be regarded as one of the key means to achieving competitive advantage through information technology.
- Alignment of IT strategy and planning with company's business goals.
- Optimization of information management through an understanding of evolving business needs and technology capabilities.
- Strategic responsibility for the company's IT systems.
- Promotion of shared infrastructure and applications to reduce costs and improve information flow. Ensure that projects do not duplicate functionality or diverge from each other and business and IT strategies.
- Work with solutions architect(s) to provide a consensus based enterprise solution that is scalable, adaptable and in synchronization with ever changing business needs.
- Risk Management of information and IT assets through appropriate standards and security policies.
- Direct or indirect involvement in the development of policies, standards and guidelines that direct the selection, development, implementation and use of Information Technology within the enterprise.
- Build employee knowledge and skills in specific areas of expertise.
Skills and knowledge
- Systems thinking - the ability to see how parts interact with the whole (big picture thinking)
- Knowledge of the business for which the enterprise architecture is being developed
- Comprehensive knowledge of hardware, software, application, and systems engineering
- Knowledge of IT governance and operations
- Knowledge of financial modeling as it pertains to IT investment
- Interpersonal and leadership skills - servant leadership, collaboration, facilitation, and negotiation skills
- Communication skills, both written and spoken
- Ability to explain complex technical issues in a way that non-technical people may understand
- Project and program management planning and organizational skills
- Customer service orientation
- Time management and prioritization
- Worthen, Ben (2005-03-01). "Wanted: Enterprise Architects". CIO: 47–50. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
- Nick Rozanski, Eóin Woods (2011). Software Systems Architecture: Working with Stakeholders Using Viewpoints and Perspectives. p. 73. ISBN 978-0321718334.
- Open Group Standard TOGAF Version 9.1. The Open Group (2009-2011). p. 612.
- Rosen, Mike Ten Key Skills Architects Must Have to Deliver Value, November 2008