Ironically, the very existence of an Enterprise Architect may result in your company’s IT system being anything but innovative and simple. Is it innovative to use AJAX because it’s cool? Is it simple to use EJB’s because your IDE has a nifty wizard for them?
I’m not down on the need for an Enterprise Architect – that is how I would describe myself. Yet, companies need to be really careful when they hire one of these that they don’t end up with architects who are so up with the latest technologies, that they become consumed with using them at every turn, even when not necessary (and I would classify most of the new technologies as unnecessary for the vast majority of projects.)
See my post on the costs and overhead of adopting new technologies. Far too many companies have had their software over architected, never benefiting from it, and in many cases having it re-designed when the next architect is hired.
I don’t disagree with anything in the original post, but I’ve seen this technology abuse so much in this field, and seen first hand how much it costs companies, that I also have to add my word of warning.
So the answer to the question of this post, is most definitely yes, that’s the entire reason for hiring one, however, with a big condition added, which is, the company should not qualify the candidate simply for their knowledge of all the technologies out there. There needs to be a sound and conservative approach to software architecture that will prevent the architect from over complicating the solution.