An Enterprise Architect has to have many different skills. These can be EA related skills like IT portfolio management, management related skills like communication skills and leadership as well as operational IT skills which are needed to accompany IT projects [Kel11].
Definition of the Term Role
According to [11b] a role is defined as:
“1. The usual or expected function of an actor, or the part somebody or something plays in a particular action or event. An Actor may have a number of roles.
2. The part an individual plays in an organization and the contribution they make through the application of their skills, knowledge, experience, and abilities.”
In the context of EAM, many different skills can be identified for the role of an Enterprise Architect. A couple of them will be exemplified in the following.
According to TOGAF the generic role of an Enterprise Architect comprises the understanding and interpretation of requirements, the creation of a useful model, the validation, refinement and expansion of this model as well as the management of the architecture [11b]. More roles related to EAM and the skills related to those roles are detailed in the TOGAF Architecture Skills Framework explained below.
In [Kel11], three different types of tasks are identified, which the role of an Enterprise Architect needs to be able to perform. The first type are strategic tasks comprising the support of the IT strategy development, the IT portfolio management and the strategic planning. The second type of tasks are the operational tasks comprising the communication management, the architecture governance and the accompaniment of interesting projects. Finally, basic EAM tasks are part of the role of an Enterprise Architect. These are the operation of an enterprise architecture tool, the development of a meta model and the development of standards.
[Man12] identifies a couple skills that are important for the role of an Enterprise Architect. These skills are for example the ability to create a holistic integrated view on the enterprise as well as the ability to model. Furthermore, skills like the understanding of the business model, process knowledge, knowledge of foundational IT architectures and technologies, experience in project management, leadership skills and communication skills are important for an Enterprise Architect as well. Finally, it is emphasized, that the role of an Enterprise Architect is more of a management and leadership role, and not merely the role of a technical specialist.
According to [Lap12], the skills which are important for the role of an Enterprise Architect change depending on the understanding of what EAM is in a certain organization. The first option is, that enterprise architecture is understood as being the glue between business and IT (Enterprise IT Architecting). In this case, the Enterprise Architect should have technical competencies and engineering knowledge. Another option is, that enterprise architecture is understood as being the link between strategy and execution (Enterprise Integrating). If this is the case, Enterprise Architects should be able to facilitate small-group collaboration and to apply systems thinking. Finally, if enterprise architecture is understood as being the means for organizational innovation and sustainability (Enterprise Ecological Adaptation), the Enterprise Architect should have skills related to fostering dialogue, applying system and system-in-environment thinking and facilitating larger-group collaboration.
The previous paragraphs show that there is not one overarching definition of skills for the role of an Enterprise Architect, but many slightly differing ones. Nevertheless, all definitions agree, that Enterprise Architects need skills in the management as well as in the technical field.
A very extensive list of roles and skills related to EAM is presented in the TOGAF Architecture Skills Framework. The most important roles for EAM mentioned in the framework are the Enterprise Architect, the Business Architect, the Data Architect, the Application Architect and the Technology Architect. Also, further roles related to EAM like the Architecture Board Member, the Architecture Sponsor and the IT Designer are listed [11b].
Additionally, seven categories of EAM skill sets are detailed. These skill sets comprise generic skills (e.g. leadership, team working, etc.), business skills and methods (e.g. strategic planning, budget management, etc.), enterprise architecture skills (e.g. modeling, applications and role design, etc.), program or project management skills (e.g. managing business change, project management methods and tools, etc.), IT general knowledge skills (e.g. brokering applications, migration planning, etc.), technical IT skills (e.g. software engineering, security, etc.) and skills related to the legal environment (e.g. data protection laws, contract law, etc.). A table is provided for each category of the skill sets, indicating which level of proficiency a role should display for each skill. The proficiency of a skill can reach from background to expert knowledge as indicated in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Levels of proficiency a role should display for each skill. [Source: TOGAF® Version 9.1, an Open Group Standard. Standard. The Open Group, 2011.]
An example of such a skill table for the skill set “Generic Skills” is provided in Figure 2. In this example, the person occupying the role of the Enterprise Architect should have expert knowledge with regards to all skills listed, while someone in the role of a Technology Architect only needs expert knowledge in teamwork skills, inter-personal skills, oral communications skills, written communications skills and logical analysis skills [11b].
Figure 2: Skill proficiency table for the skill set “Generic Skills”. [Source: TOGAF® Version 9.1, an Open Group Standard. Standard. The Open Group, 2011.]
Summarizing, the TOGAF Architecture Skills Framework lists EAM roles, the skills required by each of those roles and the level of knowledge each role should have regarding theses skills. This way, the TOGAF Architecture Skills Framework aims at simplifying the training and recruiting of Enterprise Architects in an organization [11b].
TOGAF® Version 9.1, an Open Group Standard. Standard. The Open Group, 2011.
W. Keller. TOGAF 9.1 Quick Start Guide for IT Enterprise Architects. Tech. rep. Wolfgang W. Keller, 2011.
J. Lapalme. “Three Schools of Thought on Enterprise Architecture.” In: IT Professional (2012), pp. 37–43.
T. Mannmeusel. “Management von Unternehmensarchitekturen in der Praxis: Organisatorische Herausforderungen in mittelständischen Unternehmen.” In: Analyse und Gestaltung leistungsfähiger IS-Architekturen Modellbasierte Methoden aus Forschung und Lehre in der Praxis. Ed. by J. Suchan C; Frank. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 2012, pp. 35–57.