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Enterprise architects' role evolving with business objectives

There could, or perhaps should, be a shake-up in many businesses' organizational layout. Jeanne Ross, director and principal research scientist at the Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) at the MIT Sloan School of Management, said one thing is coming to light -- enterprise architecture doesn't fall under the IT umbrella.

"Architecture is something a company needs to be good at," said Ross. "It means architecting the organizational structures and the roles, the processes, the responsibilities, the accountabilities, and I think it's clear this is not just an IT thing anymore."

While some organizations may be realizing architecture shouldn't be lumped with IT, changing workflows can be a daunting, unfamiliar task. Ross noted architecture simply isn't an expertise most companies possess.

"Architecting these things is actually very hard, and there is no career path right now that makes someone good at it," said Ross. "It's basically someone who has an aptitude for understanding how a process should be designed, how work flows from one process to another process."

While changing the mindset of a business may seem like a thankless, uphill battle, there are companies that have successfully done so. Ross highlighted USAA as an organization that restructured itself for the better while meeting business objectives.

"They went from having four major businesses to having the product lines separated from marketing and customer interface," said Ross. "Now there is one big organization called Member Experience, and there are still lines of business, but they don't talk to the customers. That is a major restructuring."

What kind of skills does an enterprise architect have to possess in order to meet evolving business objectives? Ross said the most important trait organizations should look for may not be a technical one. "You [a business] are looking for people who really have a vision," said Ross. "They understand the potential ways a company can be designed and operate for greatest efficiency."

Watch the above video for more on how enterprise architects role is changing with business objectives.

About the author:
Maxine Giza is the associate site editor for and can be reached at

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