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Author's profile photo Former Member

SAP Enterprise Architect: A Role of Increasing Importance

In the past 6 months or so, there has been demand for “SAP Enterprise Architects” within SAP customer organizations. I had the wonderful opportunity to interact with the HR folks within many of these organizations to get insight into what their expectations are for this role as well as provide guidance around what to look for in an exceptional Enterprise Architect candidate.

 

The requirements for these new roles go something like “…will possess a blended skill set in enterprise, infrastructure, and business architecture…capability to design and optimize enterprise wide deployment of SAP technology solutions…”, “…drives SAP technology and architecture change within the environment…”, etc.

 

Having managed a “pure-play” Enterprise Architecture culture in the past, it was initially strange for me to hear the words “SAP Enterprise Architect”; the common notion being Enterprise Architecture should be technology independent and should focus on the “big picture”, including “city plans”, EA frameworks, high-level technology decisions, etc.

 

Many executives set goals to expand SAP penetration in enabling their company’s business processes, thereby squeezing the maximum value out of their SAP investments; and Architects, whose key responsibility is to influence technology decisions and drive the overall strategy, are pivotal in achieving this corporate goal. When talking to these HR people, I quickly realized a common theme, that two individuals, one with broad vision of Enterprise Architecture and other with deep SAP skills wasn’t working out well for them. Hence the need for candidates with excellent architectural skills combined with deep SAP roots is starting to rise.

 

In order to support the growing need of architecture practice relative to SAP landscape, SAP has come up with a TOGAF based SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework. Several customers are already taking advantage of the framework and successfully enabling their businesses via SAP [Few of them even presented their success stories at ASUG and SAPPHIRE NOW 2010 Annual Conference].

 

But unfortunately, while there are lot of veterans with deep SAP knowledge, the practice of Enterprise Architecture is relatively young and still maturing; hence such a combination is hard to find. This became apparent when the ASUG EA leadership team conducted the recent survey, where approximately 80% of the respondents replied that they are practicing architecture focused on one or more domains (application, BI, security, etc) and very little percentage practice Enterprise Architecture as a holistic discipline.

 

As we continue to mature the practice of Enterprise Architecture in the context of SAP ecosystem, look for upcoming blogs on the topic of Enterprise Architecture…

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      I thought of this as I attended Ann Rosenberg's excellent session on Monday.  At too many places I've seen where EA starts in IT; I think it needs to start in the business, and you are right, as a holistic discipline.  It's not just an IT job, but the job of the business.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thank you Tammy! I completely agree with you; EA practice cannot thrive by focusing just on technology solutions; business & process context is a must.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I don't necessarily believe that the combination of holistic EA and SAP skills is all that hard to find. I feel there is a disconnect between people doing the hiring & people looking for work. Both parties need to be educated on what the exact requirements are when determining a match.

      Having said that, I agree that EA as a discipline is still very new, but for some reason I come people all the time that perpetuate to have 10 to 15 years of EA experience. On the flip side of the coin, I also see people straight out of university that have at most a year's working experience also calling themselves Enterprise Architects. It's actually quite sad that EA as a practice can add so much value to business but it's slowly losing credibility.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I thought SAP Enterprise Architect = Business Process Expert...
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Miloslav,

      From my understanding of BPX (BPX gurus, correct me if I am mistaken), a business process expert is a Subject Matter Expert on one or more E2E processes within the enterprise. If my statement is true, then the BPX role is different than an Enterprise Architect, as EA tend to focus one or more levels higher than BPX. They see the holistic view of the enterprise and lay down the 'city plan' within the context of which BPX and others tend to execute their individual processes. Hope that helps...