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…