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Solid or dotted line

Who do Enterprise Architects (EAs) report to has become a very lively debate. For this debate let’s take the organizational construct I shared in my last blog as a given.

So the question is “Who do the architects that cover one or more of the light boxes above report to?”

As organizations move to product line management many product line mangers of capability areas (Procurement, Logistics, …) argue the Enterprise Architect for that domain should report to them. Chief Data Officers or Heads of Data Warehousing and Analytics would argue those enterprise architects (BI/Analytics, Data Warehousing, …) should report to them. Your CTO might say that the Tech Architects (Infra/Cloud, networking, …) should report to him/her.

That would lead to the Chief Architect having a virtual team with all enterprise architects reporting to him/her in a dotted line. I’ve met Chief Architects saying this model works well for them. I personally have a hard time believing that. You better have some serious clout in the company to make that model work.

I do believe in some sort of hybrid model. As long as the architects needed for the core mission of the EA team report solid line to the Chief Architect. As an example, if your CIO brings in a new Chief Architect to clean up the tech stack (journey to cloud, SD WAN, end-user compute standards, …) have the Tech Architects report to him/her. Once that is accomplished the CIO might want to clean up the application space. So now have the App and Data Architects solid line report to the Chief Architect and the Tech Architects maybe dotted line.

Here comes my opinion. The Enterprise Architects should all report solid line up to the Chief Architect. Just take a look at your business teams (Procurement, Sales, Mfg, Finance, …). Isn’t one of their biggest challenges that they don’t work very efficiently across their functional siloes. It’s in their interest but they can’t find the time. So make that the Enterprise Architects’ priority by having them report solid line to the EA leader(s) who focus on complex, cross-functional transformations.

I’m sure you have an opinion. Let’s hear it.

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