A Body of Knowledge For The Ages - Iasa ITABoK 3.0
There’s a number of firsts with Iasa’s (https://www.iasaglobal.org/) third iteration of their skillsets library defined in the IT Architecture Body of Knowledge (ITABoK), the ITABoK ver. 3. Enterprise Architecture skillsets by ITABok.
But, what exactly is the ITABoK?
According to Iasa’s founder and CEO, Paul Preiss, “It is a shared body of knowledge of best industry best practices that is contributed to and by practicing architects, all around the world.
“At the core of it, is a body of knowledge to drive practice. It is not just a framework, but a practical set of tools and guidelines to connect things together as today we live in a connected digital world.”
So, at first glance, practical experience drives the ITABoK, and there is a huge collection of practical applications that resides within, and keeps getting added to over the years since 2004.
Preiss shared, “It is one of the first IT architects’ BoK that catalogued all the viewpoints (templates or ways to describe architecture) that are out there. And in a way, Iasa moves a little slower than say, a vendor or consultant community, because we are looking for things that we can prove out, and is repeatable and proven skillsets by as many architects as possible.”
The key to how it works, is that it effectively connects the concepts that make architects successful in their career which in turn will make a successful digital transformation in an enterprise.
“In our experience, architects are successful by creating realistic change in a project, or initiative with a program-level scope,” Preiss explained.
Preiss also pointed out that taking an entire corporation to the cloud environment, could be seen as a goal, which is different from change at a project level.
Basically, the IASA is looking to create innovative and business-driven goals, and the ITABoK aims to help organisations achieve that, by creating skilled people to do that, and the techniques and tools for them to do so.
But what is the ITABoK? And how has it evolved over the years from version 1 to 3?
When the ITABoK 3 is finally published in November 2017, people may notice that it has become more relevant and prominent for C-level execs, and that it tries to address two challenges that every CIO, CTO, CDO or CEO is facing in today’s digitally disruptive environment.
Preiss said, “The number one challenge faced by CxOs, is faced by every company, everywhere – finding qualified and knowledgeable people who can do digital transformation.
“The ITABoK is driven by how you can create people who can implement digital transformation… it is what the entire BoK is about – how to create a digital transformer, business technology strategies, or as the enterprise architecture world likes to call it, an enterprise trouble-shooter.”
Basically, this is someone who creates business outcomes from technology change.
The second main challenge for execs today is still related to relevant skills and talent; basically organising a group of people to accomplish milestones that are efficient and effective for an enterprise, as opposed to simply grouping them into project-level teams, or engaging strategic milestones consultants.
Preiss observed, “We are either aiming too high or too low.”
So, while ITABoK 2 was about how to make individual architect, all the way up to a group of 15 architects successful, the ITABoK 3 is about how to make larger and connected architect teams, or digital transformation teams, highly successful and relevant today.
Another way to look at it, is that the ITABoK 3 addresses trying to connect a CIO’s, CTO’s, or CEO’s vision to strategy, that can be translated to executable actions by the relevant skills, knowledge and attitude.
Visualising the ITABoK 3 Framework
Most architecture frameworks out there are based on antiquated notions of IT, instead of trying to answer the question of “what does a digitally enabled company supposed to look like in this digital world?” Preiss had said.
The ITABoK 3 graphic was borne out of Iasa’s need to have something that would allow them to think in terms of the way organisations plan and transform in a digital enterprise environment. Methods like Plan, Build, Run & Manage, were too IT-centric in terms of how to run a PMO or IT shop, and also Preiss observed that IT departments were not innovating as much, anymore.
“The method we came up with, was to connect a number of different elements together. Where we ended up, was these elements loosely grouped into Think, Change, Use and Review,” Preiss said.