Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Who is your Chief Architect?

If you work in a moderate to large organization there is a better than 50/50 chance someone there has the title of Chief Architect. That's too bad, 'cause it's probably wrong.

There are a number of descriptions for Enterprise Architecture. The one I like says, Enterprise Architecture is the discipline that aligns business aspirations with business capability. For most companies, 'business capability' is driven and delivered via technology.

Given the heavy dependence on technology, it is not surprising that a number of Enterprise Architecture Groups are lead by individuals who have a background in Information Technologies. The leader of such teams are often called Chief Architect.

If your organization has a team called Enterprise Architecture, ask yourself if they are really architecting the enterprise. Or, as I often find, are they performing IT architecture for the enterprise? In many cases this title, "Enterprise IT Architecture" is a better, more descriptive title for the team and its function.

There is nothing wrong with that, by the way. Enterprise IT Architecture is an important and valuable function.

But, if there is going to be a person and or a position that carries the title, Chief Architect, for an organization; who should hold that title.

In most cases, it should be the CEO. The Chief Architect for the organization is the person that determines the foundational and structural elements of the organization, and determines what functions are necessary for success. That's the CEO, president, founder, or other top-of-the-pyramid person.

There are as many permutations of organizations and structures as bullets in Jack Bauer's gun, so your individual situation may be a good exception, but most of the time - the title of Chief Architect belongs to the CEO.

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