\u00a0Three years ago, demand for enterprise architects \u2014 \u00a0those who focus on building a holistic view of an organization's strategy, processes, information, and IT assets in order to support the most efficient and secure IT environment \u2014 was declining. Some were whispering that the days of the architects were over. But this unique skillset has recently staged a major comeback: According to the Harvey Nash\/KPMG 2017 CIO Survey, enterprise architecture (EA) has become the fastest-growing, in-demand skillset in technology, up 26% from last year\u2019s report. \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0\nIn fact, the second and third-fastest growing in-demand skillsets \u2014 Business Process Management and Data and Analytics \u2014 while separate, are key components of an architecture, and buttress the push for enterprise architecture expertise, says KPMG.\nWhy the shift? Most notably, new digital innovations make for a more complex project landscape, which means re-architecting may help organizations grapple with a world in which customers expect to use one channel just as easily as another, or even move between channels during a single transaction.\u00a0 \u00a0\nEnterprise Architecture, Evolved\nDemand has also picked up because the 25-year-old discipline of EA has substantially evolved from its early days, when it was seen strictly as a technical way to wire up an organization\u2019s infrastructure, says Roland Woldt, Director of KPMG\u2019s Enterprise Architecture practice at KPMG. \u201cStandardization was the big topic at that time,\u201d he says. \u201cIT had to get control around the efforts they created and deployed on the client\u2019s server,\u201d he says. Next, IT-focused EA expanded into applications \u2014 moving beyond hardware standardization and towards \u201cgetting the most bang for your buck\u201d \u2014 as well as integrating data into different applications.\nIndependently, a second stream of thought around efficiency emerged: Business Process Management (BPM). BPM homed in on process improvement and documentation with a focus on reducing the gap between business and IT. Based on that premise, EA organizations were created whose underpinnings were based on BPM methods, but confusion came up as they developed their own language that was neither \u201cbusiness\u201d nor \u201cIT\u201d \u2014 forgetting how to communicate what value they bring to the table. \u00a0\nNow, the pendulum has swung back toward a focus on tangible solutions and results with a modern twist \u2014 the idea that all layers need to be integrated, including strategy, business, applications and infrastructure. This has now become what Michael Idengren, Manager at KPMG\u2019s Enterprise Architecture group, calls \u201ccapability-centric architecture.\u201d EA, he explains, has primarily become focused on business outcomes. \u201cIt\u2019s all about what capabilities do you need to make a digital transformation happen?\u201d he explains. \u201cEverything behind that \u2014 for example processes, or what software to purchase \u2014\u00a0 has transitioned into second-level detail discussions.\u201d\nWith its many moving parts and relationships, EA has become incredibly complex in a universe where companies are no longer simply building a better mousetrap \u2014 instead, \u201ccoopetition\u201d means they may partner with competitors in some areas while doing battle in others, and\u00a0 dealing with vendors of vendors and customers of customers. \u201cEA needs to understand that entire value chain,\u201d says Idengren. \u201cIt\u2019s the architects that are responsible for wiring everything together and providing a service to everyone else \u2014 whether they are dashboard builders or analysts \u2014 to summarize the complex information and provide visibility and transparency.\u201d\u00a0\nEnterprise Architecture Stages a Comeback\nEA became less valued over time, says Woldt, because organizations didn\u2019t appreciate the rigor, structure and standards that came with it, or the time it was taking to establish a mature Enterprise Architecture function. Unfortunately, now companies who want a greater focus on EA lack the people who can understand the complexities of all of those moving parts and relationships and how to use the organization\u2019s information \u2014 leading to an uptick in demand for the very things they removed.\u00a0\n\u201cNow, EA is coming back, because organizations need people who understand what\u2019s going on,\u201d says Woldt. \u201cAnd, they want it in a one-stop shop of strategy, EA and project delivery, merged together in a unified portfolio management.\u201d\u00a0\nThere are plenty of challenges organizations need to overcome as they journey toward EA success, says Woldt. One is fighting a lack of understanding of frameworks such as TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) or disciplines such as BPM. \u201cLogical thinkers are good on using these labels, but others are overwhelmed,\u201d he explains.\nIn addition, in many cases organizations still have to convince people that EA is necessary. \u201cSo many people are busy implementing a single tool, with no availability to look left or right, and are under pressure to deliver by cutting IT budgets, devaluing the IT function, etc.,\u201d he says.\nA Diverse Set of Roles is Needed for Successful EA\nEnterprise architects may now be in demand, but what makes a good one? Is it\u00a0 a chief architect, or the modelers and analysts that provide specific services to an architecture group? According to Idengren, there will be a diverse set of roles required: \u201cYou need people who understand history of the organization, deep subject matter experts,\u201d he says. \u201cYou need internal leaders who know how to communicate with executives, working with groups to provide services and match up with a consultancy that can come in and create a roadmap to success.\u201d\u00a0\u00a0\n\u201cArchitects don\u2019t grow on trees,\u201d adds Woldt.\u00a0 \u201c[There is] not a 3-day class to create one.\u201d There is some self-selection by curious people who want to figure out how things work, with candidates from different domains \u2014 some, for example, from a business, process and organizational background, while others with more of a technical background who are curious to see what technology can do.\n\u201cWhat you will see over time is that those people grow out of their comfort zone,\u201d he explains. For example, an expert in lean\/agile principles could become interested in other domains, and how different areas relate to each other. \u201cThe next step is wondering how to move the organization from one transition state to another and, finally, that person has to come up with a roadmap and sell it,\u201d he says.