Responding to the EA skills quest

EA organizations are under increasing pressure to contribute tangibly to business results and to differentiate in greater terms than architectural domain skills alone.  At the same time, compressed business cycles compel organizations to respond to events or opportunities at a more rapid pace.  This often means resourcing and organizing into effective teams and projects quickly.  EAs are often involved in multiple projects and teams and expected to have sufficiently broad experience, combined with multiple competencies to contribute to organizations’ responses.  Many EA organizations see this skills tension increasing and often struggle to sufficiently develop or resource teams for the ever growing number and diversity of issues they are involved in.  Increasingly, the contextual application of EA to real organizational issues and new opportunities is overtaking the traditional role of EAs in many businesses.  For many EA teams and their stakeholders, the way in which value is derived from investments in EA is through increased contextualization and enhanced adaptability.

Successful EA organizations respond to these challenges by deepening domain expertise blended with impactful behavioral competencies.  In many organizations, EAs are characterized by their ability to identify the effects of technology choices against the backdrop of the forces, markets and models that characterize the organization’s industry.  EAs increasingly use their knowledge of the organization’s structure and culture, combined with insight of its differentiating or obstructing processes to guide the call on the appropriate use of technology.  EAs often are the touch point for designing measurement, assessment and quality improvement programs which positions EA in the center of business, functional and financial performance concerns. Effective EA organizations apply a depth of skills to a wide range of situations and experiences, building new perspectives, competencies and roles.  In turn, they gain the confidence of business stakeholders and are seen as a team that can fulfill multiple roles in diverse projects, often providing greater insight than other specialists.
Many of these expertise changes are combined with a focus on a clear set of behavioral competencies.  While every situation will call on a unique blend of behaviors, EAs do especially well when they develop or strengthen their behaviors in customer experience, contributing to multi-discipline teams, analyzing problems contextually, communicating clearly in the listener’s terms and leading change.   
EAs can help guide their own personal development through examining the challenges faced by their organization specifically or the industry sector in which it operates.  Contextualize their current activities against that backdrop and determine which competencies and areas of knowledge will be needed to meet those challenges.  Many EAs already do this at a high level and in an unstructured way. Others look to how they can more mindfully reveal their value-add through the increased expertise, knowledge and leadership they can demonstrate.