What is a Business Architect career path? What is the entry point to the career of becoming a business architect and an exit ramp to other positions? There is no simple answer, and a lot depends on two factors: a) the person and b) the company. As the business architecture discipline is a relatively new discipline, with a lot of ambiguity about the scope, focus and critical components, the business architect role is evolving. None of this is set in stone and is subject to change based on perceived value-add of the discipline as well as the quality of personnel who take up the role of a business architect.
Capstera defined a business architect as: “A business architect models the essence of an enterprise by determining the what, how, who, when, where and with what, to influence and impact the strategic decisions, operational improvements, and capability realization thru IT enablement.” For other definitions, please review the blog post on business architect role definitions.
In our opinion, there is no fixed path to becoming a business architect. It is not the role itself, but the aptitude and attitude of the individual, and the ability to synthesize disparate pieces of information into a cohesive and coherent blueprint of enterprise business model, capabilities, value streams and the like. There is a lot of controversy and divergent opinions about the distinctions and differences, commonalities and convergence between various roles, but in particular, the business analyst and business architect elicit spirited discussions.
Business Analyst: Subject to competencies and skills like big-picture thinking, business-oriented thinking, and others, a business analyst is a logical pathway to becoming a business architect. A similar role, but more IT-oriented, the business systems analyst (BSA) could transition to a business architect.
Product Analyst: A person working in product management could become a business architect by developing a broader perspective.
Systems Analyst or IT Analyst: Assuming the folks in these roles either have or can develop the business perspective, becoming a business architect would be a good career growth step.
Strategy Analyst: A person working in a strategy role, who can develop an ability to broaden their focus from strategy to broader business issues, would be a good fit to be a business architect.
Project or Program Analysts: If a person in the role of a project analyst or program analyst can go beyond an execution orientation to a business blueprint perspective, it is possible to transition to the role of a business architect.
Grow in the same functional role to a higher title: There is no reason to develop in the same technical part and elevate to a more senior title. For example, in product management, there can be a progression from product analyst all the way to say SVP of product management. Similarly, a business architect can grow and elevate his or her title to say SVP of business architecture.
Become an Enterprise Architect: Subject to possessing the broader scope of skills and competencies and knowledge of other domains included in the enterprise architecture roles; a business architecture can transition to an enterprise architect.
Lateral move into Product Management: Product management positions can be a good starting point for a business architect, as they share some similar skills. Of course, some very different skills are necessary for a product management professional, but there are definite points of convergence.
Strategy Roles: Strategy roles may need additional skills, but a business architect who can see the forest for the trees, and has exposure to management frameworks and business concepts will be able to make the transition.
Other IT or Business Roles: It is entirely dependent on an individual, but there is no hard and fast rule and no ceiling to what a business architect can become. As with an accounting professional or a marketer who rises to become a CEO, there is nothing that stops a qualified business architecture leader to grow beyond the limitations of a functional role.
And of course, what you make as a business architect regarding salary and compensation depends on the expansiveness and impact of the role, as well as well the future career growth path.
Are you a business architect? Which business architect career path is swift and easy? What are the other business architect career paths available?
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