EA and SA in the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)

One of more than 200 papers at http://avancier.website.

 

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) is an international standard.

It defines roles for people involved in designing or changing business systems that use information and communication technologies.

This paper distils the essence of the enterprise and solution architect role definitions in SFIA.

These definitions inform the BCS professional certificates for enterprise and solution architect roles.

Enterprise and solution architect responsibility levels

This table shows how SFIA maps a small selection of its many roles to 7 levels of responsibility.

Role

Responsibility level

Enterprise architecture

 

 

 

 

5

6

7

Solution architecture

 

 

 

 

5

6

 

Project management

 

 

 

4

5

6

7

Business analysis

 

 

3

4

5

6

 

Business modelling

 

2

3

4

5

6

 

Requirements definition and management

 

2

3

4

5

6

 

System design

 

2

3

4

5

6

 

Database design

 

2

3

4

5

6

 

Software development

 

2

3

4

5

 

 

Database admin

 

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

SFIA defines the roles as being concerned with changing business structures, processes, systems and infrastructure to a target state.

Enterprise architects are concerned with setting strategies, policies, standards and practices.

It defines solution architects guiding the design and development of integrated solutions to meet current and future business needs.

Solution architects coordinate design activities, produce logical models of components and interfaces, and more detailed designs.

Enterprise and business architecture development

This is about creation, iteration, and maintenance of structures such as enterprise and business architectures

It embodies the key principles, methods and models that describe the organisation's future state, and that enable its evolution.

This typically involves the

         interpretation of business goals and drivers;

         translation of business strategy and objectives into an "operating model";

         strategic assessment of current capabilities;

         identification of required changes in capabilities; and

         description of inter-relation-ships between people, organisation, service, process, data, information, technology and the external environment.

         formation of the constraints, standards and guiding principles necessary to define, assure and govern the required evolution;

 

This facilitates change in the organisation's structure, business processes, systems and infrastructure in order to achieve predictable transition to the intended state.

 

EA at Level 7

         Directs the creation and review of an enterprise capability strategy to support the strategic requirements of the business.

         Identifies the business benefits of alternative strategies.

         Directs development of enterprise-wide architecture and processes which ensure that the strategic application of change is embedded in the management of the organisation.

         Ensures compliance between business strategies, enterprise transformation activities and technology directions, setting strategies, policies, standards and practices.

 

EA at Level 6

         Captures and prioritises market and environmental trends, business strategies and objectives, and identifies the business benefits of alternative strategies.

         Establishes the contribution that technology can make to business objectives, conducting feasibility studies, producing high-level business models, and preparing business cases.

         Leads the creation and review of a systems capability strategy that meets the strategic requirements of the business.

         Develops enterprise-wide architecture and processes that ensure that the strategic application of change is embedded in the management of the organisation, ensuring the buy-in of all stakeholders.

         Develops and presents business cases, for high-level initiatives, for approval, funding and prioritisation.

         Ensures compliance between business strategies, enterprise transformation activities and technology directions, setting strategies, policies, standards and practices.

 

EA at Level 5

         Contributes to the creation and review of a systems capability strategy which meets the strategic requirements of the business.

         Develops models and plans to drive forward the strategy, taking advantage of opportunities to improve business performance.

         Takes responsibility for investigative work to determine requirements and specify effective business processes, through improvements in information systems, data management, practices, procedures, organisation and equipment.

Solution architecture

The design and communication of high-level structures to enable and guide the design and development of integrated solutions that meet current and future business needs.

Changes to service, process, organisation, operating model and other aspects may be required in addition to technology components, and solutions must demonstrate how agreed requirements (such as automation of business processes) are met, any requirements which are not fully met or, and any options or considerations which require a business decision.

The provision of comprehensive guidance on the development of, and modifications to, solution components to ensure that they take account of relevant architectures, strategies, policies, standards and practices and that existing and planned solution components remain compatible.

 

SA at Level 6

         Leads the development of architectures for complex systems, ensuring consistency with specified requirements agreed with both external, and internal customers.

         Takes full responsibility for the balance between functional, service quality and systems management requirements within a significant area of the organisation.

         Establishes policy and strategy for the selection of systems architecture components, and co-ordinates design activities, promoting the discipline to ensure consistency.

         Ensures that appropriate standards (corporate, industry, national and international) are adhered to.

         Within a business change programme, manages the target design, policies and standards, working proactively to maintain a stable, viable architecture and

         ensures consistency of design across projects within the programme.

 

SA at Level 5

         Uses appropriate tools, including logical models of components and interfaces, to contribute to the development of systems architectures in specific business or functional areas.

         Produces detailed component specifications and translates these into detailed designs for implementation using selected products.

         Within a business change programme, assists in the preparation of technical plans and cooperates with business assurance and project staff to ensure that appropriate technical resources are made available.

         Provides advice on technical aspects of system development and integration (including requests for changes, deviations from specifications, etc.) and

         ensures that relevant technical strategies, policies, standards and practices are applied.