There’s an old saying, “if you want to know who’s in charge, follow the money”. This is the case in nearly every institution or business venture you can think of, without exception. When it comes to IT budgeting, you’d expect IT managers (perhaps working alongside accountants) to be making the decisions pretty much all the time, right? Well, as it turns out, Enterprise Architects directly influenced around half of all budgetary decisions for their corresponding IT departments in 2012. Or, to state it in a more simple way, Enterprise Architects were the ones “pulling the strings” in at least 50% of cases worldwide, and if they didn’t have the final say, they at least played an integral role.
According to Gartner research:
“Based on the EA survey results from Gartner events in North America and Europe, analysts estimate that EA practitioners have a “final decision-making” influence on $331 billion in worldwide enterprise IT spend and a “great deal of influence” on $774 billion in worldwide enterprise IT spending. Overall, EA practitioners have an influence that is either “final decision maker” or “great deal of influence” on $1.1 trillion in worldwide enterprise IT spending.”
What does this mean, how does this affect you? For one thing, this data seems to indicate that businesses all across the world are paying close attention to what enterprise architects have to say. Given that EA deals directly with both structuring an organization as well as ensuring such things as communication and increased efficiency, it would seem that business-minded decision making processes are significantly influencing the direction of IT.
If you’re a vendor that sells products or services that are being marketed to the IT crowd, this news should tell you that it might be necessary to provide clearer value for those with a business-minded perspective. In other words, it might be necessary to diversify your language and marketing strategies to appeal to both the “techs” as well as those who are more comfortable in a board room. If you can present clear value to an enterprise architect, then you’re one step closer toward new sales and/or closing new deals.
It’s actually great to hear that enterprise architecture is assuming such an active role with regards to its influence in terms of both IT and business concerns. Just a few years ago it seems as if IT departments all across the globe were dealing with problems flooding in from nearly all directions. However, it could be argued that the greatest problem was the disconnect that existed between IT and the business elements of an organization. Well, as we’ve clearly witnessed, 2012 seems to indicate that there’s been a turning point with regards to the communication taking place between these two seemingly contrasting elements. Perhaps it is because business leaders are finally coming to understand the true value of their IT assets, or IT employees are taking a more active role in driving the profits of their parent organization? Either way, IT and business are meeting head-on and this Gartner report is proof positive that there is some level of integration taking place (in either direction).
Those companies that fail to factor in the influence of enterprise architects (or just outright neglect to market to them at all) are certainly placing themselves in a bad position. Simply put, this isn’t the kind of statistical information that you want to take lightly; it clearly indicates that we might be witnessing a fundamental shift in the way global IT budgets are calculated from here onwards. In short, don’t underestimate the power and influence of EA.
For those who are either employed in IT or are considering pursuing enterprise architecture (as a career), realize that this might very well be the best time to ‘get into the game’, so to speak. The demand for enterprise architects could very well spike at any time and it’s clear that they’re already directly influencing the course of global IT development.
All in all, EA is a solid area to specialize in and one will certainly find many employers who are eager to bring you on board. Perhaps the hardest part of landing such a position is in proving that you have what it takes; this is why all interested individuals should consider Certification in Enterprise Architecture. After all, it’s highly affordable and perfectly compliments one’s technical knowledge base. For IT professionals, having such a certification greatly adds to their overall business value and increases their ability to help virtually any business improve their profit margins.
However, certification in enterprise architecture isn’t just for individuals. Business leaders and IT managers might also want to consider pushing their IT employees toward group study of the fundamental concepts of EA. In this way, they might be able to better understand the motivations of enterprise architects as well as make better, more informed decisions when it comes to the direction and nature of their daily duties.