Business Architecture

23 March 2013

Tom Graves recently participated in an Open Group TweetJam on Business Architecture. You can read about the results of this at http://weblog.tetradian.com/2013/03/20/opengroup-on-bizarch/

Unfortunately I didn’t hear about this in time to participate but I thought I’d record my own thoughts here.

The questions were:

  1. How do you define Business Architecture?
  2. What is the role of the business architect? What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?
  3. How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
  4. How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?
  5. How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
  6. What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?

How do you define Business Architecture?

Business Architecture is one of the primary domains within Enterprise Architecture. It deals with the architecture of the business, ideally from a business perspective and is expressed in business terminology.

It should not really be considered a separate discipline from Enterprise Architecture but often is by those who persist in misunderstanding that Enterprise Architecture is only about IT and not about the whole of the enterprise.

Business Architecture deals with the structure and design of how an enterprise operates, makes money or delivers value, how it organises itself in order to provide products and business services to its customers, clients and consumers. It should be expressed independently of how the business architecture will be mapped to the underlying application architecture and infrastructure architecture, but is more connected to the business/contextual view of the information/data architecture and will include the organisation architecture.

Business Architecture is centred on the business and the business strategy, not on IT or on the IT Strategy and should not be considered just a source of requirements for IT projects (which is the impression that TOGAF gives of Business Architecture).

In general Business Architecture includes the following deliverables:

BizArch deliverables
A Business Architect is primarily concerned with supporting and advising the senior executives, providing advice and guidance, and influencing decision making for the Business Architecture domain.

 

What is the role of the business architect? 

As a specialised type of Enterprise Architect, they are in a leadership role, close to business management working for the CxOs to evaluate and elaborate possible future strategic scenarios.

They have a responsibility to guide, recommend and oversee the realisation of the business strategies identified by the CxOs, but they don’t control the business strategy or make the actual investment and strategic change decisions.

What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?

As a type of Enterprise Architect, a Business Architect deals with strategic change, business transformation activities concerning topics such as:

  • Ecommerce changes
  • Consolidation
  • Cost reduction
  • Process improvement and efficiency
  • New organisation design
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Reuse of shared services
  • New markets
  • Regulatory and legal changes

One should not forget that, by definition, an Enterprise Architecture model covers everything about the enterprise including the environment and market which it operates in, its Business Strategies, its Business Architecture as well as the rest of the Enterprise Architect domains.

How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?

The role of a Business Architect is becoming much more distinct than it has been. many organisations are maturing their enterprise architecture functions that were previously just centred on IT architecture and are now specifically introducing a Business Architect role.

How the Business Architect role differs from other roles such as a Business Analyst, Business Change manager, Business Transformation Manager etc. is still playing out. I discussed this to some extent in a previous blog post – The difference between a Business Architect and a Business Analyst.

Another current difference is that a Business Architect is often closely associated with the Business units (and perhaps reports to a business line manager of sorts) and therefore is seen as being on the ‘Demand’ side of a business, whereas the rest of the Enterprise Architects (including IT Architects) are often lumped into the IT department and therefore are seen as being on the ‘Supply’ side. In theory, the Enterprise Architects, including Business Architects, should only ever be on the ‘Demand’side and not seen as part of IT. They should report to the CxOs, ideally seen as part of a CEO Office.

How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?

A Business Architect is a type of (a ‘real’) Enterprise Architect. Business Architecture is a sub domain of Enterprise Architecture.

EA domains

How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?

Of course they can. The distinction in the question is artificial anyway, since a Business Architect is just a type of Enterprise Architect that specialises in the Business Architecture domain.

But in reality many organisations do have an unfortunate  tendency to make up their own interpretation of what these roles actually are.

What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?

We will see more and more Business Architecture roles in the future as organisations mature their enterprise architecture strategy and capabilities, and they realise that they need to get to grips with their business model and how it is realised. They will need Business Architects to help them do that.

Business Architecture

For most enterprises embarking on large scale strategic planning and business transformation programmes it is all about staying robust, viable and efficient, continuing to deliver good outcomes and value to their customers/consumers/clients in the future. Enterprises should be wanting to stay competitive and efficient and beat the competition.
If the enterprise is to succeed, it must make strategic decisions and investments in change based on a thorough architectural gap analysis/impact analysis that is only possible with business architecture as a key part of their enterprise architecture function.

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3 Responses to “Business Architecture”

  1. Tom Graves Says:

    Nicely done, Adrian – a useful set of distinctions.

    And thanks for the mention, too! :-) (though I’d have to reassert that most of the content there is not my own work, but the comments of others in that TweetJam discussion – I just documented the conversation and added a few notes of my own, that’s all).

  2. Bernard Morris Says:

    In reading all these related blogs it reminds me of chants I hear at football matches when the established premier league teams have to play a lower league team in the league knockout competition.
    Fans are constantly chanting the words of The Who song “who are you ooh ooh”

    As somebody who has worked extensively in business architecture for several years – I have to say I am over it.

    How do you define Business Architecture?
    Why the hurry – it is still evolving
    Use wikipedia for now

    What is the role of the business architect?
    Like any architect, to firstly listen to what the business is needing to achieve and why it can’t already be achieved and subsequently to coordinate the design of a target state that everyone, including providers, can understand. That includes the challenge, their role in the transformation and the potential to deliver the change over as long or as short time as it needs to take.

    What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?

    Everything exposed in the As-Is that is improved in the Target State just like professional architects have done for years

    How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?

    The role is not changing just getting better understood

    How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?

    It is totally business driven

    How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?

    Absolutely necessary to draw effectively upon EA information for BA and in turn BAs can help up date EA with the adopted change information. Business Architecture only requires information at the High level Design. BAs need EAs to maintain all the IT information.

    What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?
    The total integration of all business components leading to much speedier and reliable decision making through effective prototyping supporting change.

    I really think people are looking for everything and everyone to do the same. That wont happen for a long time.

    In the meantime the pressure is on business managers to change and adapt quickly to the ‘unknown-unknowns’.
    They need flexibility in their thinking and architecture that will do the same.

    Business Architecture needs to belong to the business not the architect.

    Once established, with the assistance of the business architect, it is a facility for business managers, subject matter experts and local design teams to project changes in the architecture to support collaborative decision-making.

    It should allow managers to hypothesise several times with projections of how the business could perform better through various changes and improvements in the business architecture.

    There will be no time for past models and standards that seriously slowing things down.

  3. Erik Iglesias Says:

    Adrian:
    All this is nice, and I read it the last … 7-10 years? Where I somehow support, make or whatever about BA. But in the reality in an organization, and after reviewing 8 banks, 4 utilities, 5 telcos, 2 governments and 4 big IT solution suppliers here in the CEE region, I must to attack a little these „axioms“ …
    „It should not really be considered a separate discipline from Enterprise Architecture but often is by those who persist in misunderstanding that Enterprise Architecture is only about IT and not about the whole of the enterprise.”
    Yes, because the IT architecture has clear dedicated competences, responsibilities… Even EA has dedicated roles and competences (EA principles, governance, coherence between BA, ITA,DA, TA… ), but BA has often NOT dedicated competences and responsibilities, often you are not able to dedicate a person to a BA position to do day-to-day work with real outcomes that the organization consumes in a long-time …
    Also when EA “covers” also BA, often the EA HAS TO DO several works that also is necessary from BA … (but it is another dicsussion)
    … to explain the point before: if we analyze your table: the point 1 is actually a clear responsibility of Marketing and product mgmt at least in the 90% of companies, the 2nd is responsibility of Management (maybe BoD…) and maybe Finance Mgmt … 4, 5, 6 and 8 also actually often are behind the responsibility of Marketing. 9 will be NEVER responsibility of ANY architecture (Business Strategy and Decision making is the primary and ultimate responsibility of Line managers, architects helps, supports, visualize …) 10 is often responsibility of Program, Project and Portfolio Mgmt… and 11 is EA responsibility.
    Many of these activities are –simplified – one shoot work (or 3x per year let say) and the BA role responsibility is to facilitate/support the creation, to modelate/visualize any impacts, risks, opportunities, to assess it … and – in the best case – to propose improvements and … drive improvements? (this is a line and PM role competence). Sometimes I have a feeling that the only usefull business model is to have external BAs than internal for full time…
    “A Business Architect is primarily concerned with supporting and advising the senior executives, providing advice and guidance, and influencing decision making for the Business Architecture domain”
    So it is in another words, an addditional role of several specialists, often the 2nd / deputy in the team … do I understand well?
    “As a type of Enterprise Architect, a Business Architect deals with strategic change, business transformation activities concerning topics such as:…”
    As I see, you give to a BA the responsibility that – till now- was on a team of roles … line managers, SMEs (line specialists), Business/functional/process/data/IT analyst, project managers, IT architects,

    Also if you say “deals with” it don’t show the BA primary responsibility … I say this everything because this is my day to day fight now, I have(had :o) a team of business architects, and their responsibility in the terms that you show here, were not dedicated, not clear, without clear business value, often “deals with”, “consults”, “supports” … but at the end, the only readable value that business and IT seen, was/is only they work as other roles (as business analyst, as project manager, as IT analyst or IT architect, as PMO, even as product manager … ;o)
    “ The role of a Business Architect is becoming much more distinct than it has been. many organisations are maturing their enterprise architecture functions that were previously just centred on IT architecture and are now specifically introducing a Business Architect role“
    Amen, but actually the success of a BA role is – still – more about a strong „sponzoring“ by a manager that must to have a real vision, power, and go to risk.
    The last: between business models and business transformation I see still today a very huge abism, the first are martekers/business developers, the second is more about SW/IT architecture project management, (project) solution architecture, micro-management … I made several reenginnering, big reorganizations etc … but to be honest, often a BA approach/method was more a brake … Yes, some business transformations will


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