Have you wondered why CIOs do not become CEOs? What prevents them from achieving at the highest organisational levels? It’s because they don’t have their hands on revenue, unlike CMOs, CFOs, brand marketers, and sales directors. So all that remain in the realm of ICT are seen as purely administrative and like all administrative functions are organised as a commodity. This is by the way also the key reason that traditional companies will never use their IT departments to push any digitalisation agenda ahead of the market as the agenda in ICT is only actioned when the digitalisation reaches the commoditised mainstream level.
There are those that will argue the usual argument on business technology as the way to change this, but for the last twenty years that argument was always used to sell software to the CIO and make him fell better about becoming a CEO. The real key consideration here is that architecture in ICT will always mainly be driven by the IT budget and about commoditisation, while the enterprise strategy is usually driven by the revenue streams. In the past ICT often was included in the strategic enterprise goals, but as most ICT ideas get more mainstream and ICT is losing a lot of its special and hidden qualities less people are usually needed to translate between business and ICT.
This change on the other hand means that most architects will need to make the decision if they move into the governance of a commodity or they want to be part of strategic initiatives. Strategic initiatives however are set by those that control the revenue, but unlike in the past when those had no ICT knowledge the modern revenue controlling executive often has some knowledge and usually a strong opinion on software. This often leads to situations where a new CFO insists on an ERP platforms of a specific supplier before starting with the company. This change again also requires a fundamental change at architecture level as the classical model of the business being reduced to giving the requirements only no longer holds true.
Therefore architects working outside the core commoditised ICT will often need to work the specific preferences and often downright detailed decisions of executives and mainly focus on those areas that have not been covered. This often has the great potential of the architect being a valued partner of the revenue controlling executive and as such part of the real power in the enterprise. However at the same time the architect will need to know much more on all areas of the business and be more flexible as the solution will be less playable and more influenced by partial dictate then the classical frameworks will suggest. Or the architect can still remain in the frameworks, but then work as part of the ICT commodity.