Nick Malik is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, blogger and innovator in Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture. Co-author of three books and a popular speaker at conferences, Nick brings his 32 years of high-tech experience to bear as he creates Enterprise Architectural models and solutions to the CTO of Microsoft IT, his current employer. Developer of a number of novel methods in Enterprise Architecture, including the Enterprise Business Motivation Model, and the Minimal Sufficient Business Integration method, he strives to improve the maturity and professionalism of the practice of Enterprise Architecture worldwide.
Nick has a background in product development, internal software development, management consulting, and business operations accumulated across such diverse industries as hospitality, health care, insurance, high tech, and financial services. You can find his musings online at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nickmalik or on twitter as @nickmalik
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
This is the Part 2 of a two part interview series — For Part 1 see Nick Malik: International Top Authority in Enterprise and Business Architecture, Author, Speaker, Principle Microsoft EA — Part 1
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
In our initial discussion (Part 1), we talked about Enterprise Architecture, the core diagrams that are being used, your MSBI method and some of the unsung roles for business models in business architecture. We also talked about clarifying and defining enterprise. In this interview (Part 2), we are going to continue the conversation.
How do you see the evolution of the Enterprise Architecture field in practice?
"....In the past ten years I've seen a real evolution around business architecture as its own domain, and that caused natural concern because enterprise architecture will still want to be seen as the guys over the top of the umbrella, but it's also caused a great deal of maturity in understanding how we get away from the technology focus...."
Many people view Enterprise Architecture as a technology field, while others do not — which is it?
"....It's tough to make a case that enterprise architecture is not about technology when most of the people you meet with that title are technologists. How do you change a brand?....Today, enterprise architecture — it depends on who you ask as to whether it's a technical field. I believe the value of enterprise architecture comes from the non-technical aspect. I believe that the people involved don't have all the competencies in place yet in order to be the non-technical people they need to be...."
I see a conflict occurring; you have business architects out there and then I see these "upstarts" — the enterprise architects who traditionally used to come through the technical area, saying we also encompass the business architecture area as well. Now you have the business architects saying why are you intruding on our territory? How do you resolve all of that?
"....If a person is a domain architect, let's say they are a Business architect or a Technology architect or an Information architect or an Application architect and they want to call themselves an Enterprise Architect, they have to demonstrate at least reasonable proficiency in every other area....I think that it's very important that we make that move and recognize that business architects see themselves as part of the spectrum as domain architects within the field of enterprise architecture...."
From your discussions, it sounds like there is a lot of parallels with this concept that came out in 2006 from Gartner about a Versatilist, do you see that as well?
"....If we are trying to say a modern-day renaissance person, I would completely agree....Remember it's not about being versatile; that's not the core competency. Being versatile is a required competency, but the core competency is rigorous engineering skills and modeling. That is actually hard to teach, people have to think visually to be a good and effective enterprise architect...."
Let's focus on the Business Architecture side. As the domain of Business Architecture grows, what does it need to focus on?
"....We're finding that business architecture is at that early stage of maturity. There isn't a clear cycle of improvement for business architecture yet. That'll emerge....One of the other key challenges for business architecture is to focus on how they can integrate their thinking and ideas with other pre-existing ideas of management...."
Do you see "butting heads", where people have this idea of enterprise architecture and business architecture, but you also have this huge field of being a business analyst, and the IIBA is showing tremendous growth? What's going to happen here?
"....I see a possibility through this organization (FEAPO), of being able to build some common ground and understand how these different roles can merge together....I do think there's a path to grow to be a business architect from being a business analyst and I think there's a path to grow the other way too...."
Is there something specific that you're driving with the Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations (FEAPO)?
"....In March I went to a meeting of the FEAPO board and presented a proposal for developing a White Paper that would describe enterprise architecture specifically for non-practitioners (not for the architects themselves). Something consistent to tell our customers what it is we do and what it is we believe is valuable about what we do....I'm leading that project right now...."
Nick restates the 3 parts of the definition of Enterprise Architecture.
Should enterprise architects be focused on technological changes like cloud technologies or the consumerization of IT?
"....I believe to be an effective enterprise architect you have to be able and prepared to discuss technology issues. That said I don't think our value proposition comes from walking into a room with the "cool tool of the day"....The role of an enterprise architect is to be aware of the things going on; you have to be aware and know what's going on in cloud computing, social media, consumerization of IT devices, etc. as well as the important detailed things that have always been there (how systems integrate and standards of messaging, etc). You have to have reasonable competency...."
Would you extend that to a deeper familiarity with ITIL, CobiT, the IVI Capability Maturity Framework, Kanban?
"....I usually recommend TOGAF to a budding enterprise architect because it's a good place to start. ITIL and CobiT are core things you have to know. Also in order for an enterprise architect to be effective, there has to be a good governance model in place...."
Should enterprise architects be focused on innovation, cost containment, revenue growth or effectiveness?
"....Can I say all of the above?....Recognizing that your maturity of relationship and the organizations maturity of architecture, those are two very important factors...."
You've described a lot of different topic areas here and given your insights. Now for the audience, if they want to research this further what are your recommended resource links that they can go to?
"....There's a few books including: "Enterprise Architecture as Strategy" by Ross, Weill and Robertson...."Balanced Scorecards" by Kaplan and Norton....Read about value chains and value systems by Michael Porter...."Business Architecture" by William Ulrich and Neal McWhorter....Blogs: discussions on Linkedin....Inside Architecture...."
Music by Sunny Smith Productions and Shaun O'Leary