Benjamin Zeller

Benjamin Zeller

Principal Director of Enterprise Architecture

Accenture DACH
Accenture’s Benjamin Zeller on how enterprise architecture creates sustainable business value, facilitates collaboration and drives digital change

Professional services leader Accenture has an extensive history of solving its clients' toughest challenges by providing unmatched services in strategy and consulting, technology, operations, Industry X and Accenture Song.

As a leader in enterprise, application and systems architecture, Accenture’s Architecture Services division delivers strategic, tactical and operational enterprise architecture consulting services to help clients embrace their future.

With a background as a software engineer, Benjamin Zeller, Principal Director of Enterprise Architecture at Accenture DACH, first joined Accenture in 2009.

“My background is in software engineering,” he says. “I worked as a software engineer for a number of years, but already back at university, I was mostly interested in the architecture of the software. In other words, I was less interested in the actual functions of the software, but rather fascinated by how it was written, the structure of it and its architecture.” 

From there, Zeller began familiarising himself as a software architect.

“When I started with Accenture back in 2009, I started directly with enterprise architecture. From there, my perspective broadened and I began to look at not only isolated pieces of software but at an entire portfolio of software within a company context, and I had to optimise that. 

“That was basically my journey from software engineer to software architect to enterprise architect. It was about broadening the perspective, moving away very strictly from the code and really focusing on strategic questions and how technology slash software contributes to business value and business success.”

Today, Zeller describes the concept of enterprise architecture as the ‘tip of the spear’.

“We are a small group of strategic technology futurists that work on the tip of the spear of the technology strategy and advisory business,” he comments. “We don't start by talking about infrastructure or application or technology; we start by talking about the business, about capabilities, how the market works and how the industry mechanics function. Only when we have understood that do we use our experience and our skillset in a technology space to translate that into achievable and effective solutions.”

As Zeller describes, there are two major challenges to being a good enterprise architect. “One is to combine deep technological understanding with the capability of strategic thinking and to tailor your communication to the audience and their specific needs because you are always talking about the same thing. You are just talking about different aspects of the same thing. 

“Yes, we are always referring to the technology landscape, but if you are talking to a team lead or an application owner, you need to do that in a completely different way compared to when you talk to the CFO or the CEO. So that combination of interest and skillset for technology and the ability to communicate tailored to a specific target group, and conceptualise in a specific context, is a very rare skill.”

Keeping up with change is another, constant challenge.

“Of course what I learned in university, 10 or 15 years ago, is still valid, but there are so many additional things that came along the way. And of course, you should be technologically fluent in those new aspects at the same time. 

“That can only be achieved if you have an intrinsic interest in the topic and stay up to date with the latest developments.”

Read the full story HERE.

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