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IT Architecture Is Not Enterprise Architecture

For many years I have observed lots of confusion with some basic definitions such as IT and Enterprise Architecture

For many years I have observed lots of confusion with some basic definitions such as IT and Enterprise Architecture among other terms. I will not try to define the meaning of Enterprise Architecture by myself (despite I have my own view on this) as this is something being right now redefined by the Open Group (which by the way used to call their events “IT Architecture Practitioner Conference” and changed only recently to “Enterprise Architecture Practitioner Conference”).

Looking at job definitions related to Architecture positions, I have also identified a clear misunderstanding of “who is supposed to be doing what…”. In addition to that, I’m frequently asked “what’s the difference between an Enterprise Architect and an IT Architect”.

First, let’s assume that everyone agrees on the fact that Enterprise Architecture includes

-Business Architecture
-Information Architecture
-Application Architecture

-Technology Architecture

Whatever the framework is.

One of the main differences between Enterprise Architecture and IT Architecture is the Business Architecture. The diagram below explains at a high level the purpose of each layer.




Among other activities, an Enterprise Architect will drive, supervise and review technology diagnosis and assessment activities. He will be an active member for the IT Strategy development, identify opportunities for technology-related improvement based on benchmark data and doing high-level cost benefit analysis-(Contribution to the overall alignment of IT delivery to the needs of the business). He will develop the enterprise architecture artifacts including current state architecture, target state architecture, architectural roadmaps, referential architecture patterns and technology standard. Also I recommend he acts as a solution architect during the pre-project and development phases of an IT program or oversight of future state designs including technology, solution, information and business architecture. Other activities are related to the access to the future state architecture for adherence to target state direction, or validate deviation justification and recovery plans.He may develop and implement training and documentation for enterprise architecture processes, procedures and framework, work with a team, coordinate, review and integrate the deliverables of information and technology architects into cohesive solutions architecture, taking into account the user requirements, technical requirements, etc.

An IT Architect could be an experienced software engineer with experience in cross-platform, cross-regional application architectures. He would be exposed to modern software engineering methodologies, such as object oriented analysis and design, web architectures, design patterns, iterative-incremental software development, test-first. He should also be familiar with the following methods and platforms: UML, J2EE, .NET, relational databases. And finally experienced in documenting and communicating software architecture, including communication to key senior stakeholders in business

There are various definitions of these roles. Most of them are clearly defined in some frameworks, but there are still lots of confusion in the market and among recruiters.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Serge Thorn

Serge Thorn is currently developing and delivering new Enterprise Architecture consultancy and training services, implementing Governance and managing IT Operations.

Before he was in charge of International Governance and Control, implementing different best practices around IT Finance/Procurement, Audit/Risk management, Vendors Management (with Service Level Management) in a Bank.

Previously Serge worked in a Pharma in charge of the Enterprise Architecture worldwide program and Governance, the IT Research & Innovation, following the reorganization of the IT Department, implementing Service Management based on ITIL Best Practices and deploying new processes: Change, Configuration, Release, and Capacity/Availability Management, responsible for the Disaster Recovery Plan and for the System Management team.

Prior to this, he was responsible for the Architecture team in an international bank, and has wide experience in the deployment and management of information systems in Private Banking and Wealth Management environments, and also in the IT architectures domains, Internet, dealing rooms, inter-banking networks, Middle and Back-office. He also has been into ERP and CRM domains.

Serge's main competencies cover the perfect understanding of banking activities, and industry, the design of new systems, IT strategies, IT Governance and Control, Innovation, new technologies, Enterprise Architecture (including BPM and TOGAF 9), Service Management (ITIL V 3), Quality System ISO 9001:2000, team management, project and portfolio management (PMI), IT Finance, organization and planning.

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