The cloud architect is responsible for the entirety of cloud computing initiatives within an organization and for directing the architectural aspects of a cloud brokering team across all aspects of IT and the business. It is also important to note that Gartner observes permutations of the cloud architect role, most notably cloud evangelist, cloud strategist or cloud administrator. Names are just names, but each of these permutations is far too limiting for the scope of responsibilities the cloud architect must perform. A cloud architect must evangelize, strategize and delegate. But he/she must also primarily architect, design, facilitate, lead and direct cloud initiatives on multiple fronts.

Gartner observes four approaches to ful€lling a cloud architect role within an organization.

  1. Formal title, principal responsibility
    A formal organizational job title, description or job posting. HR must be very involved in this scenario, and the role must be de€ned just like a CIO or CTO title. In this case, an executive sponsor is very well de€ned in a formal approach. This is the clearest path to cloud success.
  2. Informal title, principal responsibility
    A dedicated role or function within the IT organization placed on a single individual. The role is often not de€ned in terms of the HR organization. In other words, HR often sees this role as any other senior IT role (e.g., “architect,” “consultant” or “analyst”). However, within IT, this is a very formal job function with very clear responsibilities and clear executive sponsorship. Success can be had in this approach, and is often the fastest approach due to minimal HR change.
  3. Informal title, partial responsibility
    A senior-level architect with additional responsibility for cloud oversight and leadership. Organizations taking this approach accomplish little progress with cloud adoption, and executive sponsorship is often unclear. Therefore, this is the slowest approach to cloud success.
  4. Formal title, partial responsibility
    This approach often puts a “€€figurehead” individual in place, but the lack of authority means the architect is not empowered to make the decisions necessary. This is a delayed approach that often requires changing the approach before signi€cant cloud adoption progress will occur.

If your organization desires to seek out the most quali€ed cloud architect individuals in the market, approach No. 1 will likely be necessary. It may even be necessary in this situation to de€ne a very attractive job title, such as “chief cloud of€cer” or “chief cloud architect” to attract professionals with the right skills and leadership attributes. If HR will not name new roles like the “cloud architect,” then approach No. 2 is likely the sweet spot for your organization.

Approach No. 2 still places a high degree of accountability and responsibility on the cloud architect, but minimizes organizational red tape and bureaucracy by not requiring HR to spend a lot of time de€ning a public position and investigating market positioning.

Approach No. 3 should be avoided or reserved for only the most resource-constrained organizations. A common problem that Gartner observes with approach No. 3 is that, because “cloud” is only an additional responsibility for the individual, other duties and tasks often take precedence over cloud architecture, and the entire cloud program suffers as a result.

Finally, Gartner does not recommend approach No. 4 because it requires a signi€cant amount of HR work but unfortunately provides none of the responsibility and power that the role truly warrants.

Source: Analyzing the Role and Skills of the Cloud Architect – Gartner Technical Professional Advice


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