The Business Architect Consultant

by Jeff Scott, on Jun 12, 2017 2:08:27 PM


Business architects will operate more as internal consultants than architects. The traditional idea of creating a global reference architecture as a driving force will give way to more targeted work. Business architects will largely be called upon to solve specific business problems and help with specific decisions. They will operate more like internal consultants, bringing a broad set of tools to bear on the problem of the day.

I am now seeing this happen in some of the more advanced business architecture practices I work with.

At the time I published this prediction, some of my peers strongly disagreed with this statement and many still do. Their main argument is that business architecture is rooted in working with enterprise level models and that if you aren’t doing that, then you aren’t a business architect. This line of thought is a result of how we have defined business architecture. If we define business architecture as a set of enterprise blueprints, then the role of the business architect is relegated to developing and applying those blueprints.

If, however, we define business architecture as a different approach to solving business problems, then business architects can capitalize on their success in the traditional business architecture space to expand their services – and impact – to general business consulting.Business Architecture - Accelare
Why might architects want to do this?

1. Business architecture’s current model limits the tools that can be used which in turn limits the problems you can solve. Seeing business architects more as internal consultants provides a broader range of opportunities to create broader impact.

2. External consultants’ processes are well respected by management. In most organizations, more respected than business architecture. Why not position yourself to gain that level of respect?

3. What is your next career step? I interviewed a dozen successful business architecture leaders and not one of them had a clear plan for growing their career. Becoming an internal business consultant seems a good next step for business architects. 

Why might your company want you to do this?

1. Business architects have a better understanding of the environment and current situation than external consultants. In fact, external consultants frequently engage business architects to help them in this regard. One of the biggest impediments to implementing external consultant’s recommendation is that their solutions don’t fit the culture and context.

2. Internal consultants are more incented to collaborate with senior and middle managers creating more powerful coalitions to get things done. External consultants often want to work independently so they can move faster and not get bogged down by getting people on board with their solutions (See preceding comment).

3. Internal consultants are on the hook for results. External consultants generally are not.

4. And oh, yeah. Internal consultants are cheaper.

So here is a question you should spend some time thinking about. Given the above, why would your management team choose to hire an external consultant instead of engaging a business architect to solve their issue?

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

All business architects are consultants, but not all consultants are business architects. This gives us a great advantage to compete with external consultants if we choose to expand the way we think about business architecture.


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