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Time to move enterprise architecture into domain of strategy

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Too many organisations still link their enterprise architecture efforts to
IT, says Paul van der Merwe, consulting manager of Real IRM. Commenting on
the findings of research conducted at the recent Enterprise Architecture
Practitioners Conference in Kempton Park, Van der Merwe says 63% of
delegates surveyed reported that they had initiated enterprise architecture
to help align business and IT.

"This shows that organisations still focus too intensely on business and IT,
and not on informing and enabling business strategy, which is the ultimate
value and purpose of enterprise architecture," says Van der Merwe.
"This was reinforced several times during the conference, where we asked
delegates to answer a set of questions which would provide a snapshot of the
enterprise architecture market in South Africa."
As an example, enterprise architecture management is made up 53% of IT
management (CIO 42% and IT manager 11%), with the CEO and chief strategy
officer comprising just 19% (CEO 14%, chief strategy officer 5%).
"The chief strategy officer (CSO) should clearly have responsibility and
final answerability for enterprise architecture," adds Van der Merwe. "As
long as the majority of enterprise architecture functions still reside in
the IT camp, its overall value and purpose will not be delivered."
This is reinforced by empirical research conducted by Harvard, which shows
that organisations which compete on the basis of their digitised processes
in line with enterprise architectural principles are more competitive, more
profitable and more flexible than those which have not.
Other findings of the survey, conducted among the 165 delegates at the
conference, the third of its kind in South Africa:
* The median experience of enterprise architecture practitioners is growing:
44% of practitioners have between two and 10 years' experience, and 15% more
than 10 years.
* Enterprise architecture enjoys the widest takeup in financial services
(22% of delegates were from this sector), followed by energy and
petrochemical (13%) and telecoms and government (10% each).
* 47% of delegates were Open Group members, with a further 26% aiming to
join. Real IRM, which convened the conference, represents The Open Group in
South Africa and has been pivotal in making this region one of the fastest
adopters of enterprise architecture.
* Breadth and depth of knowledge (32%) and interpersonal skills (28%) were
cited as the most important enterprise architecture competencies.
* 56% of delegates underwent their enterprise architecture training
externally, with 26% completing a certification programme, and 27%
conducting courses and training. "Certification is becoming a key
requirement for anyone wanting  a career in enterprise architecture," notes
Van der Merwe, "and the survey's results reflect this."
* 72% of companies are working on an information architecture, with 39% of
delegates reporting they were in the initial phases. Information
architecture is emerging as a distinct domain, separate from data and
business architecture.
* Of delegates working on service-oriented architecture (SOA) initiatives,
most were still in pilot phase, with 61% reporting SOA budgets of under
R1-million, and 82% of project teams smaller than 10 people.
"The results were enlightening, showing an industry moving towards
broad-based adoption and maturity," Van der Merwe summarises. "The
conference itself was hugely successful, with delegates reporting a high
calibre of interactions and learnings. The conference will be held in Sun
City next year, and we expect the number of delegates from across the world
to keep on growing."