The voice of business architecture. And more.

In the Name Of

Imagine a world where a company started referring to their fry cooks as chefs or another calling their meter maids detectives.

This mis-titling is already happening. Companies are hijacking the business architect title and applying it to business analysts and technical project managers in the same manner as those who title cooks as chefs or parking enforcement officers (formerly termed as the not so politically correct title, meter maids) as police officers or detectives. It makes little sense. In their defence, they have no business architects, so they may not understand that the title might have been reserved.

Myself, I’ve been finding it hard to connect with companies as a business architect because so many have subsumed business analysts and technical project managers under this title. Firstly, this is title inflation; secondly, the title business architect already exists, so it makes it difficult for a business architect to find appropriate placement with that name.

Titles are arbitrary, and there is nothing inherently wrong with saying that these roles and responsibilities fall under a certain title. Complications arise when there are already perfectly suitable titles for the roles in question. I understand that many companies would prefer to inflate titles instead of salaries. These same companies title software coders as software engineers because it sounds better. Many of these coders are competent developers, but they certainly don’t rise to the level of an engineer. And as with business architects, it makes it difficult for real software engineers to come in at the appropriate level. These people have probably already paid their coding dues and have levelled up.

In the case of business architects specifically, the internal talent organisation needs to ask what, if anything, is being architected? And just as you wouldn’t likely ask a building architect to engineer or construct your home, you shouldn’t expect the business architect to engineer or construct your solutions.

One common thread in this confusion is that these faux business architects operate under IT. This is a huge red flag. The role of a business architect is to create an environment for apt transformation. Full stop. This includes a value-prioritised business roadmap with concomitant policies, procedures, and governance. This is a business function and decidedly not a technical function. A major partner with the business architect is the enterprise architect. This is the person on the technology side, whose focus is on technology aspects. These people are two sides of the same coin.

The next level down might have business engineers and solution architects who will interact with infrastructure and software engineers, who will interact with development teams and project managers. There are also business relationship managers from the technology side, who align with some specific business function or discipline and help to interpret and coordinate business needs, but this role does not interact with the customer. It just assumes that the business has done this and takes it on faith that the business knows what it’s doing.

In any case, I’ll close this segment here. I continue to be disappointed at the lack of diligence and good faith on the part of talent organisations. As for me, I seem to have a knack for specialising in areas most companies are not mature enough to engage in and not even mature enough to understand the value. And IT organisations have no vested interest in creating a solid operational (not technical) foundation as it provides them with justification to hire a gaggle of firefighters instead of a few monitors.

Meantime, I’ll continue to seek connexions with mature companies that understand the difference.

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