Mike Walker has joined Gartner

I’ve got some very exciting news to share with all of you. I have accepted the position of Research Director within the Enterprise Architecture practice at Gartner!

As many of you know that read my blog I often comment on the analyst community and more specifically the leader in that community, Gartner. I have a great deal of respect for not only to research but also the Gartner EA team. I will be joining a stellar team of luminaries that have been providing enterprise architecture guidance for a very long time. It is very humbling to be part of this already high-octane team.

You might be wondering, why did I decide to join Gartner? It was a bit of an interesting discovery for me. I spent my career primarily in two world’s. First as a practitioner space as an enterprise architect or a chief architect and second at a technology vendor in roles such as advisory/chief architect roles. Each of these roles and organizations provided great experiences in their own right and provided me a great deal of experience and enjoyment.

However, when when I looked at Gartner as a possible career choice, it offered a very different value proposition. As a practitioner working for a single company my role and scope of influence was only with that one company with an occasional speaking engagement or blog posting. But even when I did speak publicly many factors limited my ability to provide the candid guidance that I would of preferred to give. This was primarily due to intellectual-property or competitive factors.

With large technology firms I was able to get that broad and pervasive megaphone that allowed me to amplify my message across many companies to maximize the impact that I could have. However there is one major drawback, I work for a technology firm and no matter what you still have some level of accountability for the company’s bottom line or another way of stating that would be to enable the sale of technology. While I personally have avoided having “big evil vendor” pitches there is still a very legitimate perception that there is a technology bias.

So I ask myself a question, is it more important to sell technology or to sell enterprise architecture? The answer was very clear to me. It had been for many years but it's just like trying to remember something that's on the tip of your tongue you know it's there but you can't quite put your finger on it. Once I realized that enterprise architecture was the area passion for me, everything else on the place.

Moving to Gartner is the most logical choice for me given my true passion for advancing the Enterprise Architecture profession, communicating its value and ultimately sharing proven practices. if I wants to advance the enterprise architecture profession. Gartner provides the platform, the breadth of clients, the credibility and none of the technical shackles that you would find at a large mega vendor.

Not only do I think it's a good move for me but I also think I would be good at being an analyst. After all, many of my roles have comprised of an advisory component to customers, writing white papers and speaking at conferences.

As for my existing customers, many of you are Gartner customers. If you still want to continue to engage with me I would really like that!

Related articles

Five Take-Aways from Gartner Symposium 2013
Recapping the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit 2013

2013 Conferences Mike Walker will be Attending

Mike The Architect: 2013 Conferences Mike Walker will be Attending

For those conference goers out there I wanted to let you all know that I will be at a few US based conferences this year. There may be a few more later in the year but this is what I know for now.

Like many others, I have really enjoyed discussing EA topics, debating the latest trends and frankly, learning from you. Earlier this year I had a great time talking to many of you at the Troux World Conference. That’s the real highlight for me.

If you are attending the event listed below and want to have a meet up please direct message me on Twitter @mikejwalker.

Here are the events I’ll be at for the next few months:

I will be presenting at the Open Group Conference but not at HP Discover (missed the submission window!) and Gartner.

Again, looking forward to seeing you!

It’s Official, I’m a Open CA Level 3: Distinguished Chief Architect

Mike Walker's Blog: Mike Walker Open CA Certified Level 3 Distinguished Chief Architect

As some of you may have noticed on my twitter feed, I have been activity doing research the Open CA certification. Through the research and it’s reputation, I decided that I would take it based on my findings. I am happy to announce that I passed my Level 3: Distinguished Chief / Lead Architect certification!

I have to say, what a great experience this was. Not because it was easy, it was actually quite a lot of work and it is a very serious certification that wasn’t easy at all. But rather, I was amazed by how professional the whole process was. The formality from the beginning to the end showed there was no variability in the process and no hint of any sort of subjectivity in the process. This is what an Enterprise Architecture certification must provide. Additionally, the certification board that interviewed me was top notch. I was humbled to be interviewed by such professionals with their level of experience and knowledge in EA and other fields.

A big thank you to the Open Group and the members of the board that interviewed me.


Some maybe wondering what is Open CA. How is it different from what people commonly think of from an EA certifications or the differences in Open CA and TOGAF certifications. The Open Group has two certification programs: TOGAF and Open CA (formerly ITAC). These two are very different certifications. They are for two different purposes. 

  • TOGAF Certification – in simplest terms, TOGAF certification validates that you know the TOGAF specification to a great level of detail. This certification excludes validating that you are an architect. So by this rule, a non-architect that studies the TOGAF materials can be TOGAF certified. One can learn the TOGAF book and do a multiple choice computer based exam. If the exam is done in good standing, the architect is certified. TOGAF certification looks very much like most exam based certifications (e.g., PRINCE 2) certification for project managers.
  • Open CA Certification – is primarily concerned with the competencies that an architect possesses. In other words, how an architect thinks through solving a set of broad highly impactful enterprise problems to realize business value. For Open CA certification, it is not needed to be TOGAF certified or even know the TOGAF framework , that is one of many validated frameworks. One must prove to be able to have done architectural work in real life situations for many years. Open CA certification is very much like PMI certification for project managers that require detailed documentation, letters verifying your experience and a set of interviews to validate what was documented.


It is extremely important to have the TOGAF certification as well as the Open CA. Both are important and both have roles. As I stated above, TOGAF certifies that you have the skills to know what are the architecture practices, methods, models, tools and mental models. However, Open CA certifies that you have the competencies to do architecture well by validating how you do architecture.


So the difference in my mind: TOGAF = Skills and ITAC = Competencies


There are approximately 2,500 Open CA at three levels combined and 7,200 TOGAF 9 certified architects in 50 countries around the world.

The Open CA certification is an international standard. There are three levels:

  1. Certified IT Architect

  2. Master Certified IT Architect

  3. Distinguished Certified IT Architect


Level 1 is the easiest to get, level 3 the hardest.


To get Open CA certification, a certification package must be created by the applicant. This certification package must contain proof of the various Open CA conformance requirements, including signed documents letters from people you worked with. A level of quality control here is  that these reference letters can not come from a direct report of yours nor can it come from one of you direct line managers either.

After the certification package is applied, the architect is invited to visit a certification board. The architect must then present a case from his certification package to the certification board. The certification board will ask questions to the architect. And if all goes well, the architect can receive certification.

The requirements that lead to the certification package are not easy to conform to. Below are some resources to give you more information:


The Open CA certification is very hard to get, but it is a very valuable title to have as an architect.

Presenting at TechEd 2009


Hello all! I will be presenting at this years TechEd on The Role of the Architect in Turbulent Times.  If your around swing by or if you would like to get together at the event to chat let me know.

Here are the details of the session:


Role of the Architect in Turbulent Times


With faltering economies and the resulting shifting of priorities, architects must be ready for change in their role. Innovative new technologies such as Cloud Based Computing, Software as a Service and Virtualization open up new and exciting opportunities for architects to show value in their organizations. In this session we discuss how the role of the architect has changed, introduce new architectural patterns and show how to “do more with less”.


Finally Made it to the Top


A teammate and I were chatting about search ranking and I was telling him about how I am battling it out (maybe battling out is a bit of an exaggeration) with other Mike Walker’s in the world especially the one from the National Enquirer. 

I am happy to announce I have done it! After many years of being second to Mike Walker from the National Enquirer I have finally moved up to the #1 position, but for how long. I won’t last past the next movie star scandal.

Thanks everyone that have linked to me and subscribed to my blog!


Results 110 of about 17,700,000

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Two New Walker’s Join the World

I am excited to announce a new Microsoft employee product, two new Walker’s. On Thursday January 22nd the proud mom and dad (me) delivered two healthy baby boy twins.

 The Walker Family

As some of you may of noticed, my blogging has dropped significantly over the past two months. My wife (wonder woman) had a really tough time and needed to support her through her long and difficult pregnancy. Now with the twins born, will have my hands full over the next month so you will not be seeing too much blogging from me.

Thanks to all that read my blog and will be writing soon.