Dana Gardner’s panel on EA skills in a downturn #ogtoronto

I was in a panel here on Monday, hosted by Dana Gardner and also including John Gøtze of the Association of Enterprise Architects, and Tim Westbrock of EAdirections, where we discussed the issues of extending the scope of architecture beyond the enterprise. This was recorded and will be included in Dana’s usual podcast series within a couple of weeks; I’ll post a link to it when I see it, or you can subscribe in iTunes and catch it there..

Today, he’s moderating two more panels, and I sat in on the beginning of the one about which skills and experience differentiate an enterprise architect in a downtown, although I unfortunately had to duck out to a client meeting before the end (the disadvantage of attending a conference in my home city). This one featured James de Raeve and Len Fehskens of The Open Group, David Foote of Foote Partners, and Jason Uppal of QRS. From the conference program description:

As the architect’s role continues to evolve in scope with the increasingly global and distributed enterprise so to do the core skills and experiences required of them. Professional certifications, such as ITAC, ITSC and TOGAF, can be career differentiators at any time, but are particularly crucial during periods of economic downturn such as we’re currently experiencing.

This panel will examine the evolving job requirements of today’s enterprise architect, discuss the value of professional certification programs and how certifications help to not only legitimize and validate the profession, but also provide much-needed demand for the skills, capabilities and experience that certified professionals have within their organizations.  The panel will also include perspectives on how certification can affect market demand and salary levels for those certified.

It’s almost impossible to capture everything said on a panel or who said what, so just a few unattributed comments:

  • A lot of organizations are in panic mode, trying to cut costs but not lose (any more) customers; IT is afraid of being blamed for costs and inefficiencies
  • There needs to be more coherence around the definition of EA so that this position doesn’t get squeezed out during budget cuts due to lack of common understanding of what EAs do (I’m thinking it’s a bit late for that)
  • Issues in governance are becoming critical; architects need to have knowledge and skills in governance in order to remain relevant
  • Architects need to have the low level technical skills, but also have to develop the higher-level strategic and collaborative skills
  • Many organizations don’t have a career development framework in place to develop an EA team
  • In many cases, you will need to perform the role of architect before anyone is willing to call you that (that seems obvious to me): it’s as much about experience as about any sort of certification
  • HR doesn’t, in general, understand what an architect does, but sees it as just a fancy title that you give to someone in IT instead of giving them a raise (much the way that we used to give them the “project manager” title 15 years ago)

I hated to leave mid-session, but I’ll catch the replay on Dana Gardner’s Briefings Direct in a couple of weeks. I’m hoping to be back for at least some of the panel later today on cloud security, and likely stick around for CloudCamp tonight.

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