Here’s my prediction – enterprise architects will be out of jobs within the next two decades if their companies continue to adapt – unless they listen to Eminem’s Lose Yourself.

The seas are a’ changing

But, we still need these enterprise architectures. So I kinda fibbed. What I am actually saying is that the job role of the enterprise architect will change beyond recognition.

Because you know what – this is the current situation now (from the always awesome XKCD):

And it changes on a daily basis. Nowhere else is this more apparent that in the IoT space. Look at the graphic below to get an idea (from Postscapes – another excellent resource):


MAN, THE WAN PAN LAN WHAT???

The sinking safety net

In context, it means that in the past – and some say the present – having an architect for your IT department was crucial to stick to the safe route. And thus the phrase “No one gets fired for buying IBM”.

But the pace of innovation and business needs are progressing at a lightning pace – and that also means that companies that don’t adapt – are going to go extinct (speaking very generally). And this means that the Enterprise Architect that has built her foundations on the pillars of risk adversity and fear of failure is going to inadvertently drive the business to the ground.

To be sure – enterprise architects and even CIOs don’t have easy jobs at all. To get just a glimpse – this is a good article to read regarding the paradox of the role.

The new wave, just like the old wave

So, what are we to do? Woe be to architects everywhere! Never fear – I will proffer my sage observations from the sidelines in age old bullet point form:

  • Chaos is the new black – No it does not mean that we aim for chaos you fool! We should always aim for process, standards, control, quality and reliability (e.g. test coverage, strict API standards). But with new approaches to the enterprises already being pioneered like micro-services – things are going to get messier. The job will to wrangle that mess.
  • Fail Fast, Fail Quickly, Fail Often, Fail Safely, Fail Forward – This has been hyped to death but there is truth in those words. Here’s my 2 cents – People often forget “Safely” and “Forward”. That’s what separates the real entrepreneurs from the true utter failures.
  • Learn, learn, learn – Things are moving faster, and by my estimation, fragmenting more and more. Unfortunately, change is the new normal and the time spent learning new technologies and watching where the winds of technology blow will only increase in proportion. Not enough hours in a day will become more and more the case.
  • Apply fast – Following on from the previous points – you will need to apply new technologies in a small, fast, controlled manner to quickly appraise it. Because, as we all know, the actual challenges of integrating the latest and greatest technology is that – well – they may be the latest but there are a ton of bugs, workarounds of defects associated with them that you will only get to know when you actually use it.

There are a ton of other considerations, especially since enterprise architecture is such a complex undertaking. However, there is still one final question left to answer.

WTF does this have to do with Eminem?!

I remembered the lyrics – and it just struck me that the challenges are similar to what the protagonist in the song faces.

Facing stakeholders:

He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down

Trying to move everyone forward on adoption:

Make me king, as we move toward a new world order
A normal life is boring, but superstardom’s close to postmortem
It only grows harder, homie grows hotter
He blows. It’s all over.

And of course, this sage piece of advice from the old man himself:

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment. You own it, you better never let it go

Go ahead – listen to the song: