TOGAF divides enterprise architecture into 4 domains: Business, Data, Application and Technology. The most illusive to define being the business architecture domain, the business architect role is often reduced to that of a business analyst’s thus missing the added value a business architect can bring into an organization. A business architect is the most important role when it comes to the future of the organization, as he works on the “what” part of the future while technology most work on the “how” part. A business architect also serves to bridge the gap between the different silos making sure there is a wholistic vision that incorporates all the needs of the organization and the IT strategy to match it.
Lately I came across what must be the best business architect’s role definition in “Be the Business : CIOs in the New Era of IT” in this must read for any aspiring CIO the author defines a business architect as someone who architects the future vision of the business; someone who looks at where the overall enterprise is going. Business architects need to be able to think strategically, but equally as important, they need to make that strategy actionable. She goes on to list what she looks for in business architects, “They can think conceptually, abstractly, and they speak the language of the business. But I’m also looking for people who have a systems architecture background, so that they understand how systems work together. It’s a tough skill-set, and because of that, we augment the team with some outside resources.”
I believe as more organizations become more technology centric and with the unique vantage point IT has across all silos and domains the role of the business architect is going to gain prominence over the next few years as a cross functional blended executive who is able to both represent business within technology circles as well as representing technology within business circles.