Professional Development Needs of the Business Architect
This article presents the results of an online survey to explore the educational needs of the business architecture community. The survey targeted both current business architects and others interested in the field.
We found most business architects have little or no formal education and perceive a lack of high-quality development options. Our findings also revealed a high interest in learning practical techniques, both technical and non-technical. Most favor some type of virtual presentation format.
Survey respondents indicated time, money, a shortage of high-quality educational offerings, and management’s lack of recognition of business architecture’s value, all presented significant challenges to furthering their professional development.
The objective of this survey was to capture the widest possible view of educational needs in the business architecture community. The survey targeted current business architects as well as others interested in the field. The Business Architects Development Survey was distributed to Penn State’s enterprise architecture and business architecture interested parties list, readers of The Business Architect blog, and members of the LinkedIn Business Architecture Community.
The largest portion of survey respondents (38 percent) are business architects, with enterprise and technical architects making up another 28 percent. The remainder of the respondents came from roles that typically lead to positions in business architecture (see Figure 1).
Cost, time, and perceived lack of options are all significant obstacles to business architecture professional development (see Figure 2). Though travel was reported as a very low concern, comments indicated that it was a significant contributor to both cost and time issues.
A large number of comments indicated senior management’s lack of perceived value of the business architecture function made it difficult to secure resources for professional development in this area. There is also a strong sentiment that current professional development offerings are lacking.
Despite the lack of high-quality professional development offerings and concerns over both cost and time commitments, less than 20 percent of respondents have developed a sufficient business architecture development program (see Figure 3). Seventy-five percent have no internal development program.
Interest in business architecture topics trends toward practical application of business architecture tools and techniques with less interest in basic concepts and practice management (see Figure 4).
Interest in learning specific business architecture tools and techniques is high. Over 40 percent of survey respondents expressed interest in 11 of the 13 tool choices listed in the survey (see Figure 5).
Survey respondents also expressed a high degree of interest in non-technology business architecture skills with a very high degree of interest in measuring the value of business architecture (see Figure 6). These data align with the BA value comments seen in Question 2. Business architects would find acquiring resources for professional development much easier to justify if they could articulate a strong value proposition for the business architecture practice.
Survey respondents reported a strong preference for virtual classes with almost no interest in one-on-one coaching (see Figure 7). Most think a hybrid model of virtual and real time form the best option.
Survey respondents are equally split on their value of certification with one third regarding it as highly important, one third giving it moderate importance, and one third assigning little importance (see Figure 8).
Respondents valued certification through an industry professional body over university certification despite there being no widely recognized professional body to perform certification (see Figure 9).
More than 75 percent of respondents reported interest in a business architecture master’s degree. (see Figure 10).
High-quality business architecture education and training, delivered through reputable universities and other providers, will be a crucial component in the continued evolution and expansion of the business architecture profession. Business architects are playing important roles within their organizations with little or no formal education in the field. Professionals interested in business architecture do not see high-quality education options available to them. Time, money, and poor value propositions are all concerns but are within the business architects’ control. There is significant interest in a wide range of topics. The lack of focused interest provides little guidance to focus educators’ efforts.