Inaugural IT Architect Regional Conference a Success!

I spent a couple days 2 weeks ago presenting at and attending the IT Architect Regional Conference (ITARC) in Atlanta, sponsored by the International Association of Software Architects (IASA). The event, like the professional organization itself, is the brainchild of IASA founder and president, Paul Preiss. Paul is a former software architect who has taken on the cause of formalizing IT architect as a profession. Paul’s message is simple: “If IT Architect is to be a real profession, it must have an identifiable career path and the requisite accredited education and certification components.” To put his passion, scope and outlook in perspective, Paul put the following question out to the audience in his opening speech, “What is an IT architect’s responsibility to the world?” He spoke of the roles that emergency workers, construction workers, and other professionals played in the aftermath of Katrina and other disasters. Certainly there is also the need for software architects and infrastructure architects to help get things back up and running as soon as possible, as well as supporting rescue and recovery efforts. This analogy is very typical of the grand vision that Paul and others at IASA have for IT architects. It is a long way off, but IASA is taking steps to begin advancing the profession. EAdirections supports their efforts and will be taking an active role in helping to define and accredit (as well as deliver) the curriculum for IT architecture. 2008 will see the beginning of a formal, accredited curriculum for IT architects.
Question for our readers (feel free to respond in the comment section): If a profession requires a defined career path as well as formal education and certification, do you see Enterprise Architect as a node on the career path of IT Architect, a profession of its own, and/or just a role to be played in the strategic planning function of an organization?
I also enjoyed the perspective of Ralph Whittle on enterprise business architecture. Ralph co-wrote a book on Enterprise Business Architecture with Conrad Myrick that outlines much of what he had to say. I hadn’t read the book yet (I will now), so I was glad that I caught his session. His approach is similar, but more detailed and supported with specific company experiences, to the approach that we defined at the META Group utilizing Enterprise Value Network (EVN) analysis. Ralph bases his approach on defining the value streams of the enterprise, and then evaluating each stream (such as Order-to-Cash) along 4 dimensions: vertical, horizontal, extended value chain (supplier-to-customer), and time to market. This is really the valuable part of his approach – looking at it from these different dimensions.
EAdirections looks forward to participating in future ITARC events and working with IASA to advance the profession of IT architect.