What’s the job?
‘Business architect’ is becoming a more regular job title, according to Forrester Research. It’s the role that's ushering in organisations' transition from IT to business technology. Typically business architects report to the programme director and work alongside the firm's most senior business process executives and stakeholders. They may report to the IT department, or to the business.
Why the need?
No matter what the industry, business process management (BPM) projects need an effective IT architecture. Working hand-in-hand with the change manager, the business architect takes the lead in developing that architecture. The business architect fleshes out the business model and describes the need for business technology across the organisation and the role that process plays.
What’s the business piece?
Business architects have deep pockets of business knowledge but also see the big picture. Necessary talents encompass process discipline skills in methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma. They’re a hybrid beast and so need a rare combination of business domain knowledge, process experience, transformation talents and methodology skills. On top of that, you need a winning personality to bring disparate parties together.
What’s the tech skill-set?
The best business architects have got their hands dirty designing and building technology platforms and can intellectually strip a system down to the hardware and software nuts and bolts. Additionally, they know all about large-scale, cross-functional processes and systems: supply chain management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), finance, or customer resource management (CRM) are meat and drink to them.
Where’s the demand?
The crux of the job is working with complex systems on a vast scale, so any company in search of a business architect will have cash to splash. No surprise, then, that many business architects end up in financial services where the business environment of compliance and regulation is complex and fast-changing. But other sectors working on a similarly large and complex scale will be destinations for this breed of hybrid tech professional. Utilities and transportation outfits, energy trading exchanges, telecoms and retailers are advertising business architects jobs on CWJobs right now.
Who can make the jump?
Business analysts and project managers are sitting pretty to make the jump to business architect. However developers and programmers are taking an interest in the hybrid role because, unlike coding, it’s not a role that can be put off-shore. Business analysts are revered by their peers and subordinates, not only because of their grasp of tech complexity but their breadth of business knowledge. Because knowing your sector lies at the heart of success, once BAs find their niche, they often stay.
With thanks to:
John Rymer and Alexander Peters of Forrester Research; Neil Hedges, senior manager, Robert Half Technology
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