Who is an Enterprise Architect?

There is much discussion in enterprise architecture circles about IT co-opting title Enterprise Architect meaning a person who does IT architecture
While it is unfortunate that the term EA has been co-opted by IT, it is easy to see why it happens.

It starts with many businesses having no enterprise architects or no idea of enterprise or business architecture really. Of course the business does have an ad-hoc or accidental architecture but no one thinks about it, they are content in not knowing what they don’t know.

If the business is simple enough, IT can take that ad-hoc architecture and codify it into something that works, or works mostly. But at some point there is too much complexity and someone has to codify the architecture before IT can make sense of it.. At this point the business usually starts complaining that IT doesn’t understand the business. In fact, without a defined architecture, the business doesn’t really understand the business either but they just don’t notice.

So someone in IT is going to get the job to define enough of the business architecture that IT can work with. If that person does it formally with something like TOGAF, s/he will end up being called the enterprise architect, as the first person to reveal at least some of the enterprise architecture. Of course it will be IT-centric too, since it is only being written for IT in the first place.

It is a misnomer of course. Revealing a part of the business architecture is not really an enterprise architect’s work but what should we call this person? The “Person who writes down enough architecture so IT can build something useful” isn’t a great job title either.

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