Yes, there are more and more job titles with the word "Architect" in them. This is a good thing if one recognizes that it means to "think like an architect." In my opinion, it is about a target-oriented perspective intended to leverage advanced knowledge of transformation processes, capability building blocks, and the representation of these to enable better-informed decisions faster for transformation initiatives. At the foundation of such thinking, therefore, is what I like to call "Decision Architecture" (DA). There are few if any Decision Architects I'm aware of (with that title), but architects are key enablers in the decision space for a myriad of use cases. Therefore, top-tier Senior Enterprise, Business, Data, Technical, and Security Architects are in effect also Decision Architects.
Decision Architecture depends on world-class processes and tools, including ones that are too poorly or rarely explained or easily enabled -- ones for Analysis of Alternatives, as one key example, something required at numerous points in any architecture life cycle, just as for portfolio, program, project, service, and product development/management. For this reason, certain EA frameworks, such as TOGAF, include a lot of guidance on decision points related to EA. However, no EA framework, to my knowledge, provides much in the way of strategy enablement (beyond advising one to be strategic) or help in conducting objective and transparent, complex analyses of alternatives. Therefore, EA Principals is partnered with several companies that provide such assistance without generally even shining the light on how critical they are to Decision Architecture. In this issue, 3 tools are discussed that can contribute. Others with whom EA Principals works are also outstanding in this regard, including the entire EA/MBSE suite at MID.de and IRIS-Business Architect for Business Architecture. We also work closely with several other outstanding tool vendors to better understand the often-unique contributions each one makes.
This topic is especially timely now with the insertion of AI, Machine Learning, and IoT technologies into the EA space, just as in business and technology areas in all verticals globally. Being keen on this topic and a close observer of Gartner events and presentations, it would be interesting to see a Decision Architecture Magic Quadrant someday to underscore the tools with the most vision and ability to execute in such a critical space. EA Principals is especially interested in working with companies to enhance the practices of Design Thinking and Analysis of Alternatives, both which can be greatly enriched based on such a decision-centric prism. Therefore, expect to hear more about DA in the months ahead and if you need more information in the meantime, please contact us.
Authored by Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor