An Inside Look at Enterprise Architects – The Power Behind the IT Throne
Network World’s Enterprise Architect TechPersona research highlights the strong influence of enterprise architects within business and IT, and the characteristics needed to succeed in the role
Framingham, Mass. – July 15, 2016 – Network World – the premier technology media brand providing network strategy for the connected enterprise – released the Enterprise Architect TechPersona study, providing insight into the skills and influence of this key role that is charged with aligning IT and business strategies (Click to Tweet). Results show that the modern day enterprise architect must possess business and technology knowledge to help craft business roadmaps that leverage current infrastructure capabilities while building in the agility needed to accommodate rapidly evolving needs.
The Fuel that Keeps the Enterprise Going
The majority of architects classify themselves as enterprise architects, infrastructure architects and solution architects. In order to be successful in their role, 88% of IT architects report they need to be “bilingual” and communicate in terms that both IT and business colleagues understand. Additional priorities within their role consist of mapping capabilities to business needs (88%), architecting solutions (86%), and keeping up with the pace of technology change (86%).
One architect interviewed said, “Most of the architects I’ve come across have done development in the past, because you need to start with the very basics, doing the development, then working your way into design, analysis, on up into architecture.” To keep up with business transformation, architects are constantly in education mode. On average, enterprise architects spend 9 hours per week educating themselves on business needs and problems within various departments in their organization.
“The enterprise architect role today is becoming more critical because virtually every business project has a core IT component and companies need players involved that have a big picture view,” says John Dix, editor-in-chief of Network World. “Organizations are constantly struggling with change and the enterprise architect role helps to ensure projects are mapped out with realistic goals and the infrastructure is there to support those goals now and in the future.”
Collaborative Structure is the Key to Success
Enterprise architects are looped into the technology purchase process very early on – 75% determine the business need, 83% determine technical requirements and 79% evaluate products/services. Their involvement in tech upgrades continues to be prevalent as 73% of architects report that they regularly meet with infrastructure subject matter experts to review IT strategy and changes.
Enterprise architects consider IT management and CIOs to be their closest peers and the individuals they work most often with, which is not surprising since this growing role currently lacks traditional peers and team structure. Additional individuals they work closely with include solutions/applications architects and technical consultants. When it comes to leaders outside of IT, architects collaborate the most with Line of Business directors and managers, business strategists and product/solution managers. These meetings don’t go unnoticed, as 85% of architects agree that they have originated ideas that have directly impacted the business model and go-to-market strategy and 85% acknowledge that they cultivated strong relationships with senior business stakeholders.
“We continue to hear from multiple sources about the significance and rising influence of IT architects,” says Brian Glynn, chief revenue officer of IDG Enterprise. “This research further emphasizes this viewpoint and brings to light the heavy burden placed on architects. These are the individuals paving the way for a technology roadmap through their involvement in the tech purchase process, their ability to see eye to eye on IT and business ideas, and the large amount of time spent meeting with technology vendors.”
Keeping Technology Investments Up-To-Date
When considering important skills for the enterprise architect role, 82% state it is critical/very important to be able to make the business case for new technologies. In a typical work week, IT architects spend close to six hours meeting with technology vendors they are currently doing business with and an additional four hours discussing opportunities with vendors they currently are not doing business with. Meetings with new vendors are split between new/emerging vendors or startups (36%) and traditional/established vendors (64%). When architects and engineers meet with vendors, they invite other architects, IT management and technical consultants to join the conversation. Beyond conducting business with vendors on a daily basis, enterprise architects also use them as a resource. The research finds that enterprise architects turn to technology vendors when faced with technical challenges (63%), with peers following behind at 47%. However, given the two-sided architect role, maintaining and gaining close peers can be a challenge – just one in five felt that they had the opportunity to connect with peers in a similar role to the one they occupied.
For more detailed information, download the Enterprise Architect: The Power Behind the IT Throne white paper here.
About the Network World Enterprise Architect TechPersona
The persona of the architect was crafted through qualitative and quantitative research to gain a full understanding of their role.
Qualitative: Ten (10) 30-minute telephone interviews were conducted with individuals in Architect roles at enterprise organizations to inform the Enterprise Architect TechPersona research and quantitative questionnaire development.
Quantitative: As a follow-up to the qualitative research, a 20-question online survey was fielded across the IDG Enterprise audience (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, ITworld, and Network World). The quantitative results are based on a total of 271 qualified completes. In order to be included among the qualified completes for either phase of the research, respondents were required to be involved in converting business strategies into IT strategies, assisting infrastructure in mapping their future strategies to align with the rest of IT, or providing solution architects/engineers with roadmaps/specifications.
About Network World
Network World is the premier provider of information, intelligence, and insight for network and IT decision-makers responsible for the digital nervous system of the connected enterprise: the network. With an editorial focus on delivering news, opinion and analytical tools for key decision-makers who architect, deploy and manage business solutions, Network World offers a unique and powerful combination of audiences and resources across digital (networkworld.com), events and strategic marketing solutions to meet marketers’ objectives. Network World is published by IDG Enterprise, a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading media, events, and research company. Company information is available at www.idgenterprise.com.
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Marketing & Research Specialist