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Zero One: Cisco Tackles Business Architect Skills

Everyone from line-of-business executives to engineers to channel partners needs skills for mapping business outcomes to a technology roadmap.

Tom Kaneshige

September 19, 2017

3 Min Read
Learning

Hoping to seize on the top priority in digital transformation, Cisco has created new “business architect” training and certifications. These classes are essentially designed to bridge technical architecture principles with business goals and outcomes.

Cisco’s three business architect certifications – analyst, specialist, and practitioner – are simply a sign of the times. There’s a skills gap among technical leaders and line-of-business (LOBs) executives that’s holding back digital transformation efforts. Forrester says only 15 percent of companies feel they have the right talent in place to succeed in digital.

Put another way, without bedrock talent, digital transformation craters.

Cisco has been aggressively expanding its business-transformation learning portfolio to take advantage of the demand for new digital skills. Its business architect certifications announced today are the second wave of this expansion.

Related: Zero One: Cross-Training in Digital Transformation

Business architect training is for both technical people and LOBs. Technical people must be able to articulate what they do with business outcomes and how they’re achieving them with technology. They’ve always had a need, but now the stakes are higher in the new digital economy.

LOBs are somewhat new to technical training, and they have to up their technical acumen. Given the maniacal focus on digital business transformation, more and more technical people are serving directly inside business units instead of a centralized IT department. Think data scientists inside marketing departments, or Internet of Things architects inside product groups.

This means LOBs need new business-architect skills not only to understand how technology can deliver business outcomes but to evaluate and hire technical candidates.

“While the [technology] budget has shifted from the CIO department to the line-of-business, the outcome that is being driven still requires a technical background,” says Learning@Cisco’s Tejas Vashi, senior director of product strategy and marketing.

Related: Zero One: Cross-Training in Digital Transformation, Round 2

Here’s a snapshot of Cisco’s three new training and certifications:

Business architect analyst: This one-day, e-learning course helps candidates, such as an LOB executive, engineer or channel partner, answer perhaps the most important question of all. What are the business outcomes you want to drive from digital transformation? Then the business architect analyst employs a baseline methodology that ties a business outcome to a technology roadmap. Cost: $280 for training, $150 for exam.

Business architect specialist: This three-day, instructor-led course takes the technology roadmap to the next level, going into the actual creation of the roadmap. The specialist focuses on change management and step-by-step mapping of business priorities to outcomes and technologies. Cost: Cisco’s learning partner sets cost for training, $250 for exam.

Business architect practitioner: This three-day, instructor-led course is the final piece of the roadmap, whereby the candidate masters the skills and methodology to enable the journey by studying real-world case studies. Skills include measuring the tangible business outcomes at every phase of the roadmap. Cost: Cisco’s learning partner sets cost for training, $350 for exam.

Tom Kaneshige writes the Zero One blog covering digital transformation, AI, marketing tech and the Internet of Things for line-of-business executives. He is based in Silicon Valley. You can reach him at [email protected].

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About the Author(s)

Tom Kaneshige

Writer, Channel Futures

Tom Kaneshige writes the Zero One blog covering digital transformation, AI, marketing tech and the Internet of Things for line-of-business executives. He is based in Silicon Valley. You can reach him at [email protected]

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