What's in a Title for Enterprise Architects?

Susan Hall

To avoid appearing any more ignorant than I normally do, I regularly quiz my fellow staffers on the finer points of IT. My question yesterday to fellow blogger Loraine Lawson has started a discussion about enterprise architects.


In writing my post "Enterprise Architecture Role Becoming More Collaborative," I asked Loraine whether it would be appropriate to link to this job description: "SOA Enterprise Architect." (You should check out our new IT Downloads center, formerly known as Knowledge Network.)


This sample job description, submitted to our site by staffing firm G.1440, was based on the unique needs of a client in Baltimore. It reads in part:

Our client is looking for a SOA Enterprise Level Architect to work on a large government project. This person must have experience helping organizations select an appropriate enterprise framework (such as the Federal Enterprise Architecture framework or Zachman Framework) and develop the artifacts called for in the architectural framework selected for use. The architectural framework selection process will take into account the Enterprise Architecture as well as best practices for realizing a service-oriented architecture (SOA) given significant legacy IT assets.

Loraine thought this was a case of putting job skills in the title. She told me that EAs should be knowledgeable about service-oriented architecture, but:

They see SOA as one tool, so it'd be like being a writer who only uses verbs, I think.

She also tweeted the question. Answering were Todd Biske, an author and working EA, and Gartner analyst Michael Rollings, who agreed that the enterprise architect title should stand alone. Wrote Rollings:

... did CFOs change titles to say "Basel II CFO"? to me, "xyz enterprise architect" is senseless title expansion.

Do you agree? Or is this just a sign that the discussion has not moved beyond defining the role?

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