How often is an established Enterprise Architecture approach used to create a Target Operating Model?
If the answer is not often, then why not?
If the answer is yes all the time, then how should we go about creating one ?
Are traditional consultancy approaches to target operating models good enough?

What is an Operating Model?

The term Operating Model is a fuzzy one. What does it really mean? What is in an Operating Model?
It appears that often some consultants totally go out of their way to avoid mentioning Enterprise Architecture and instead focus solely on the term Operating Model.
This may well be a side effect of the misunderstanding of Enterprise Architecture as only concerned with IT Architecture. Or may be because those consultants want to invent new terminology to make their services sound unique?

Is a Target Operating Model just another name for the Target Enterprise Architecture?
And by Enterprise Architecture of course I don’t mean just the IT Architecture domains, but all the EA domains which now include:
  • Strategy & Motivation
  • Business Architecture
  • Information/Data Architecture
  • Application and Application Service Architecture
  • Technology & Infrastructure Architecture
  • Physical Architecture (I.e. Archimate 3 Physical Elements)
It seems to me that a target operating model is fundamentally just another name for the full target Enterprise Architecture model and in particular primarily represents the mapping between the Strategy and Business Architecture domains and the other EA domains.

Why do we need an Operating Model?

An Operating model at the very least represents the mapping between the strategic views and components, such as :
  • Business Model (BMC)
  • Business Motivation Model (BMM)
  • Wardley Model
  • Strategic Map/Balanced Score Card (SMBSC)
  • Business Capability Models
and the rest of the enterprise architecture models, views and components in the other remaining EA domains.
If we update the strategies then we will need to update how those strategies will be realised.
A strategic change / business transformation programme will be used to realise the new strategic changes and essentially change resulting operating model.
Many refer to a Target Operating Model in a simplistic fashion as consisting of People, Processes and Technology, but there is more to it than that.
According to POLISM, a definition that comes from Ashridge Business School, an operating model covers six component areas:
– The business processes that needs to be performed
Organisation and people
– The people and roles performing the processes and how they are grouped into organisation units
Locations, buildings and other assets
– The places where the work is done and the technology, infrastructure and physical equipment in those places needed to support the work
– The Information, data and applications needed to support the work
Sourcing and partners
– External entities, people and organisations outside the enterprise also performing the work
– the management processes for planning and managing the work
Missing from this list is an analysis and understanding of Customers, Risks, Assessments, Performance metrics and measures, and other influences.
A secondary question that I always ask myself is why don’t Business Masters (MBA) courses teach executives and management about Enterprise Architecture?
This may indeed be the source of the fuzziness and lack of preciseness of the term Target Operating Model?

Target Enterprise Architecture Model

For me a better approach is to use a complete Target Enterprise Architecture Model as the Target Operating Model.
The Target Enterprise Architecture Model will consist of a number of more specific models (viewpoints) grouped into a number of EA domains.
Each of the EA domains will typically address the needs of different stakeholders and
visualises their concerns. This is a bit like for the POLISM stakeholders above but in better detail.
Each of the specific models listed within an EA Domain below may well evolve and change over time independently. The specific models can be updated when necessary as the enterprise itself evolves and changes in reaction to changing business and customer environments.
There is traceability connection between each specific model, so creating or updating one model will inform and influence other models. The primary traceability connection are see in the diagram below.
As with any target enterprise architecture models, there can be a number of alternative future versions often aligned to different strategic themes,  business scenarios or intermediate transition architectures. There need not be a single view of the future.
The complete set of the following specific models makes up the whole target Enterprise Architecture model, grouped into the following EA Domains:

Strategic Architecture Domain

Business Model (BMC)
Wardley Model
Business Motivation Model (BMM)
Strategy Map / Balanced Score Card Model
Value Chain Model

Influences Domain

Influences model
Stakeholders model

Customer (Outside In) Domain

Business Value Network Model
Business Scenario Model
Customer Journey Model
Business Services  (value proposition) Model
Business Events Model
Business Service Flow Model

Risks Domain

Risks (RAID) Model
Assessment Model
Business Capability Domain
Business Capability Model
Capability Dependency Model
Component Business Model

Governance and Compliance Domain

Business Policy Model
Business Rules Model
Governance Model
Requirements Model

Organisation Domain

Business Context Model
Organisation Structure Model
Business Locations Model
Business Roles Model

Business Process Domain

Business Process Hierarchy Model
Business Process Flow (Value Streams) Model

Knowledge/ Information/ Data Domain

Knowledge Model
Business Information Flow Model
Business Information Object Model
Logical Data Object Model
Physical Message Model
Physical Data Storage Model

Applications Domain

Application Services Model
Application Landscape Model
Application Integration Model

Infrastructure Domain

Infrastructure Services Model
Infrastructure Model
Network Model
Physical Models

Roadmap Domain

Initiatives Model
EA Roadmap Model
Project Roadmap Model
Programmes and Project Portfolio Model


In summary we should not be defining target operating models with yesterday’s approaches, but must instead use today’s better Enterprise Architecture techniques and models for defining the next Target Operating Model.
The models identified above are all fully defined and available in an Abacus model. Anyone who wants to follow this approach can contact me for more details.
Enterprise Architecture Models provide value by capturing knowledge about the business strategies, the current and target enterprise, understanding and identifying the gaps between current and target enterprise architectures, and then planning a roadmap of initiatives to close those gaps.
Often they seem only to be used as a repository of static detail such as landscape models, lists, hierarchical models etc. i.e. diagrams full on boxes. Many EA models don’t always model the connections between components that make up the model (diagrams with boxes and lines), let alone the dynamic nature of those connections.
Enterprise Architecture, and in particular the Strategy and Business Architecture domains, need to deal with dynamic complexity of an enterprise and not just the static complexity of a landscape model.
How often do you see an EA diagram showing various structural components (boxes) without any connections (the lines between them) ? And how often is there little or no indication of dynamic change? If we are using Enterprise Architecture or Business Architecture to support Business Transformation strategies, then how can we proceed without a way of modelling transformation or strategic change.
We need to recognise and accept that everything changes and to be able to visualise that change, and to analyse that change.
“Situation Normal, Everything must Change”  as Simon Wardley says!
Business and technology trends are relentlessly changing. Customers are gaining greater knowledge through on line searches and reading social media about an organisations value propositions. Customers are increasingly expecting a more nuanced and intimate relationship with their favourite products, through ‘likes’.
Competitors are the sharks that constantly swim around businesses looking for Blue Ocean Strategies (as developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne) in order to beat their competition, by creating new differentiations at lower cost and higher quality, and an uncontested market with unique value propositions. Who dares wins.
Real life business and real life decisions are complicated, complex and chaotic. Multiple strategic paths usually coexist, even if one would prefer everything to be simple. Alternatives exist. Evolution exists. Everything will change. Business strategies and business transformations are all about change.
So how should we model dynamic change within Enterprise and Business Architecture models?
A number of more dynamic EA diagram models can be used.

Wardley Maps

One approach that appears to be gaining traction recently is that of Wardley Maps (from Simon Wardley).
Wardley Maps are used as a way of dealing with dynamic strategies through considering not only a Value Chain, dimension but also plotting the value and changes to activities and products that are needed to meet customer needs, simultaneously on an Evolution dimension. A Wardley Map illustrates the dependencies and evolution of various components over time, how the components support customer needs, and how they evolve from their Genesys, to being Custom Built, to a mature Product, to becoming a ubiquitous Commodity or Utility.

Scenario Analysis

Scenario Analysis is another technique for imagining future alternative scenarios. This technique was popularised by Shell.
This is in essence playing what if games. If a particular event occurs in the future, what would our business strategy need to be now and in the future? Events can be expected to continually evolve and change.
By developing possible visions of the future this allows an enterprise to explore less risky ways forward and make better strategic decisions in the event of that future event becoming a risk.
This is thinking ahead. “What if” questions are asked to consider dynamic events that may only be remote possibilities, and to test the limits of strategic planning.
Scenario Analysis help in understanding possibilities, events, risks, threats, constraints and uncertainties ahead. New perspective are deliberately used to examine the macro and micro level detail of what might possibly change. It doesn’t matter if the envisioned change never occurs, the value is in the planning ahead.

Business Capability models and Capability Based Planning

Business Capability models are becoming much more common these days for planning change.  A Business Capability is defined as the ability of an enterprise to do something.

A Business Capability identified from value based, business service based, outcome based and ‘Outside In’ based perspectives.

Business Capabilities are not another way of viewing the current organisation unit structure, the existing business functions, or the business processes.

Business Capabilities are instead realised by an aggregation of a subset of all the ‘Inside Out’ components, often simplified as people, processes, applications and technology.

Business Capability Models provide value by for ensuring alignment to business strategies and for planning change (See the Open Group paper on Capability-based planning – The link between Strategy and Enterprise Architecture).

Capability Model Dynamics

However the Capability Model Dynamics also need to be considered.
Business Capability Dependency models are used to map what business capabilities are dependent on other business capabilities.
This will create an understanding of the dynamics of the Business Capabilities. This view is similar to the constraint connections between components seen in a Wardley Map.
Business Capabilities will typically  be identified at various levels, perhaps based on the Garter Pace Layering approach. This means that some business capabilities will be connected with Systems of Innovation, others with Systems of Differentiation, and with Systems of Record. The word system is used here in a generic sense and not as a synonym for a software application.
A Capability Dependency model will show what Capabilities depend on other capabilities. For example a system of innovation capability will likely depend on a system of differentiation capability and also a system of record capabilities. Over time one expects a greater pace of change to the system of Innovation capabilities, less for the system of Differentiation and the System of Record capabilities will be the most resistant to change.
Each Business Capability will change over time and the connection between a Business Capability and a number of Capability increments over time will show how a capability can evolve or be changed over time. This is described in TOGAF9 (section 32. Capability-Based Planning) but I rarely see this being used in real EA models.

Capability Increment Dependencies

Capability Increments will also have dynamic dependencies between them. These dependencies are usually related to strategic changes to the business capability that will occur over a period of time. Its clear to see that the various connections, including evolution connections, between components in a Wardley map are similar to the Dependencies between a Business Capability and between Capability Increments.
In my opinion the two techniques are complementary and reinforce each other very nicely, especially when seeking to understand how capability and the components that realise them will change and evolve.
The dependencies between Business Capabilities and between Capability Increments can be used to inform the sequence of changes in an EA roadmap. I describe this in in an earlier post.
Business Capabilities are also often associated with (influenced by) Customers and other Stakeholders, and their needs, so they can be useful for understanding the mapping between Customer needs and other components in a Wardley Map.

Enterprise Investment Analysis

From an analysis of gaps between current business capabilities and target business capabilities, it is possible to create a list of Enterprise Architecture Initiatives and investment opportunities. These EA initiatives will be analysed from a number of different quality perspectives including Risks, Profits, Costs, Threats, Viability. A number of these aspects can be explored while creating a Wardley Map  and from the Capability dependency Models.  They typically will change their characteristics during analysis, once they are analysed and understood.
Each initiative or investment opportunity can be analysed by the Business Architects and decisions made whether to play or pass. This approach is described by Chris Potts in his RecreEAtion trilogy of books.
Each Investment initiatives or opportunities will be related dynamically to each other and will themselves be subject to evolution. Even after an Investment initiative is approved . approved and funded, and used to create a work package in a Project level Roadmap, it will still evolve within an Agile development or delivery project.
A log of Investment initiatives and opportunities, leading to Strategic Decisions from an investment case perspective, should be part of the dynamic Enterprise Architecture Model. When updating a Wardley map, these historical Strategic Decisions should be re-appraised.

Enterprise Architecture models for the Business Environment

A well as creating the usual EA models of the whole enterprise, I also like to create additional EA models from the Customers perspective (the Customer Architecture), from the Market perspective (the Market Architecture) and from a Competitors perspective (Competitors Architecture). It’s useful to consider these independently especially when planning for a Digital Strategy and when looking for a competitive advantage against competitors.
I was pleased to see a similar idea from the Wardley map perspective, as described by Simon Wardley in his blog as Overlapping Wardley maps in Chapter 7.
A Customer Wardley Map can show a customers own view of where their needs come from – I.e. from the Outside In perspective.
A Competition Wardley Map can be used to show the Gaps between an organisations own Wardley Maps – I.e. to support an analysis looking for Blue Ocean Strategies.
A Partners/ Suppliers Wardley Map can be used to understand the dependencies with the Business Capabilities of Suppliers and Partners – I.e. to inform a Supply Chain strategy or indeed a Cloud Strategy.
A Brand Architecture Wardley Map can be used to independently analyse how an enterprise’s Brand, Business Model and Value proposition are perceived by the online community.

Capability Analysis

Capabilities can be modelled into the future with various properties such as Value from future flexibility, Risks, Threats, Profit, Viability, Feasibility etc.
Dependencies between Capabilities can be connected to their multiple future versions to visualise their evolution and the choices possible. Often a future capability is only possible if another capability i.e. realised first, even if that one has little intrinsic value on its own, such as an infrastructure platform capability.

System Dynamics Models

The dynamics of a business can also be analysed using a System Dynamics Model or System Thinking Model. These represent the dynamic cause and effect loops as popularised by Peter Senge in his 5th Discipline book, or as generic dynamic dependency diagrams.
Loops can be added to identifying Increasing loops, Decreasing loops and Balancing loops.
An example of a System Dynamics/System Thinking Influence diagram can be seen at:
and at

Business Architecture Model

My own Business Architecture approach combines many of these techniques together to gain an increased understanding of the dynamic nature of the Business Architecture.
I have created this as a meta model for use with the Abacus EA Management tool.
My wardley.abacus model already combines the Capability Modelling and Capability Dynamics approach together with Wardley Maps and other more familiar EA techniques.
If anyone is interested then send me a message.

I had an interesting conversation recently about the use of Wardley maps as part of an Enterprise Architecture and Digital Transformation programme recently. I had looked at using Wardley maps some time ago but now I think it is a good time to incorporate their use into normal Enterprise Architecture/ Business Architecture work. They are a very useful addition to the bag of techniques and approaches that I recommend should be used by Enterprise Architects working on the Strategy and Business Architecture domains as well as for the IT architecture domains.

Wardley Maps are useful for understanding the dynamics of what is needed to support a user’s needs. The underlying dependencies between user needs are constantly evolving and many organisations do not recognise this when they come up with a dry list of Business Strategies, Goals and Objectives using a Business Motivation Model. A Wardley map makes strategies much clearer and contributes towards better situational awareness which is critical.

When asked about their strategy the CxOs often simply mention similar lists of ideas that they see other organisations talking about and copy. Often they don’t really understand the buzz words. For instance, what does ‘Digital’ really mean? Is doing Digital sufficient to claim an innovative advantage in the blue ocean? A situational Awareness map will help visualise the buzzwords and their relative importance. It will also allow the organisation to better understand where it can gain an advantage.

Wardley maps help to position the user needs and dependencies in a continuum from the genesis of an idea through to the commoditisation of the same idea, at the same time as creating a value chain as a directed graph and not just as a high level list of business functions.  The Wardley map combines the Value chain view with an Evolution and dependency view which helps to identify where the strategies (Both Business and IT) should attack to produce a competitive advantage.

Upstream of Wardley maps, User needs can be identified from modelling Business Scenarios and Customer Journeys. It will be very likely that multiple Wardley maps will be needed.

The dependencies between user needs is similar to the dependencies that can be identified between Business Capabilities. Also the provision of Value to a customer is also the outcome of a Business capability. I can easily see a mapping between a grouping of Business Capabilities or groupings of dependencies between Business Capabilities and a a set of Wardley Maps.

Capability Increments can map to groupings within a Wardley map and dependencies between User needs can be associated with dependencies between Capability Increments.

These complementary techniques will reinforce each other and ensure the resulting EA Roadmap of Initiatives and subsequent Project roadmaps will be well designed and stay meaningful and relevant.

Obviously it is important to remember that the evolutions of user needs identified in a Wardley map are dynamic and the resulting EA roadmaps also need to be constantly kept under review, as business and IT trends evolve.

The best strategy is one that can help identify where to attack when things change.

Digital strategy is not simply about marketing. It is about a better engagement with potential and existing customers. It is about the perception of the brand created with customers though close interaction via social media and close communication leading to a value proposition that can better serve their actual and future needs.

As with any business strategy, the enterprise architecture discipline is there to support the business transformation to success with a design strategy. It is useful here to remind everyone that enterprise architecture is not just another name for an enterprise wide view of the IT Architecture and the underlying infrastructure architecture

The term ‘Enterprise’ in Enterprise Architecture refers to the greater scope of the organisation which includes the Customers, contacts, stakeholders in the wider market environment which is addressed by the Digital Strategy.

Enterprise Architecture will help organisations to drive innovations and new business capabilities across their entire value chain and to better understand the digital environment in which they will be operating.

Joe Tucci, Chairman and CEO, EMC Corp.– “To stay relevant in this new, always-connected digital universe, businesses in virtually every industry are reinventing their business models for unprecedented customer access, interaction, speed, and scale.”

Using Enterprise Architecture to provide a blueprint for digital strategy

Enterprise architecture consists of the following primary architecture domains.

  • Strategy
  • Performance Architecture
  • Business Architecture
  • Information/Data Architecture
  • Service/Application Architecture
  • Infrastructure/Technical Architecture
  • Business Transformation/ EA Roadmap

In addition to these usual enterprise architecture domains, I propose that further Architecture Domains are required for supporting a Digital Strategy.

Additional Architecture Domains  
Customer Architecture


Modelling the Customers’ own Environment, their processes, usage scenarios, customer journeys. Includes the communication channels used for communications directly to the customers and other external stakeholders.
Market Architecture Modelling the outside-in view of what is happening outside the organisation boundaries in the Environment in which the enterprise does business, Social media, Competitors, Competitors Value propositions.
Brand Architecture


The branding, value proposition, projected identity that provides value to the customers for the lifecycle of the business. Includes generic communication to the customer and market, advertising the brand and value propositions.

Figure 1 Enterprise Architecture for Digital Strategy

EA for Digital Strategy


Obtain clarity on the goals, objectives and principles guiding your digital strategy Business strategy /Digital strategy

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Business motivation model
  • Business Model
  • Goals and objectives

Market Architecture

Identify the environmental, industry and internal factors that are influencing the digital strategy.

  • Communities
  • Market environment
  • Modelling what the competition is doing
  • Assumptions
  • Networks
  • Competitors and their activities
  • Who else is in your space?
  • How do you differentiate?
  • Market trends
  • Topics
  • Hashtags
  • Media
  • Threats and opportunities
  • Gaps
  • Blue ocean
  • Search topics

Customer Architecture

As usual this means developing Business Scenarios and Customers Journeys, but also modelling the customers (potential and actual) own business processes.

These models will help to understand the customer touch points with the organisation and their desired brand and product experiences.

The Customer Architecture will also include a Connection Model to understand the relationships with customers, communities, to better understand the customers own information and process flows.

A current state Connection Model will capture the Communities, External online nodes, web sites, collaboration social networks (Facebook, Twitter), mobile platforms (IOS, Android) and cloud platforms (Evernote, Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive) where content exists and customers will go to visit. This Connections model will also include Search sites (Google),

multimedia sites (Flickr), advertising (Ad-Words), entertainment and gaming sites eCommerce sites (Amazon, eBay ), Mobile applications (from Apple Store,  Google Play), Smart TV applications etc.

This is similar to a Context Diagram showing interaction between the Organisation and its Stakeholders, but in this case the organisation is not in the centre of the diagram and may not be shown at all in a current state (as-is) Connection Model. The organisation will however be shown in a target state Connection Model.

In a target state Connection model, it will be important to model how the organisations internal models will be coordinated and aligned to the Customers connection Model.

  • Outside-in perspectives
  • Obtain clarity on who the customer, consumer, partners are, their roles and their values.
  • VPECT.
  • Business Scenarios
  • Customers journeys
  • Wardley Models
  • Customers own processes
  • Understand the customer touch points and the desired brand and product experiences
  • Connect relationships with customers to better understand them over time
  • Customers own information and process flow
  • External online nodes, web sites, networks, platforms where content exists and customers visit
  • Communications
  • Obtain clarity on how the organisation means to listen and respond to consumers.
  • Multi-channel / Omni channel communications
  • Communications flows both ways via whatever channel the customer is comfortable with
  • Customers’ ideas
  • Many channels and many messages
  • Understanding and analysis of those messages
  • Gaining customers’ attention
  • Earning their trust
  • Customers motivation
  • How customers share content

Brand Architecture

A brand’s look and feel and tone of voice is as important as its identity, experiences and value proposition.

  • Creating brand experiences
  • Brands
  • Brand story
  • Brand Strategy – Developing a creative brand strategy that is fit for purpose, up to date and distinctive is key to establishing all marketing communications.
  • Who engages with your brand?
  • Selling the Experience
  • Understand the customer touch points and the intended brand and product experiences
  • Insights about Customers – observations that trigger innovations
  • Blue ocean strategies

The internal mode of the organisations Brand will need to be part of the Value Proposition model and show where the Brand messages will be projected.

  • Modelling what the customers will love to buy
  • Modelling how customers interact via social media
  • Causal loop model (system dynamics)
  • Modelling what customers are interested in.
  • Mapping to the value proposition
  • Minimum viable concept
  • Behaviour change model
  • Value and truth about the value propositions offered
  • Value propositions
  • Products
  • Business Services

Business Architecture

Business model canvas

Create the structure required to understand the business model required to realise your digital strategy

Create transparency and traceability across the market model, products and business services model, and the target operating model

Business capability model

  • Create a view of the organisational capabilities across people, process, information and technology required to deliver the brand and product experiences.
  • Capability assessment against goals and objectives
  • Business Capability based Requirements
  • Improve the way you manage your digital requirements
  • Business Capabilities can be informed by the user needs identified by using Wardley models

Manage information from data architecture and information security through to delivering key messages to the market environment

  • Content management
  • Understand the content management approach and how it is enabled.
  • Value of each bit of content.
  • Relationship of content to value proposition
  • System dynamics model (stocks and flows / cause and effect)
  • System thinking


Provide clarity over decision making across the digital architecture

Business Transformation / EA roadmap

Create an understanding of the extent at which your current capabilities are able to support your digital strategy

Create clarity of the EA roadmap required to support the digital strategy

Obtain consensus, commitment and support for your digital strategy and roadmap which we believe are critical to the success of your strategy

Performance architecture

Obtain clarity on your measures of success and identify plans to measure and monitor them

  • Investment case
  • Procurement
  • Programme/Project Portfolio management
  • Delivery plan

As usual if you don’t measure, then you can’t manage. However, it is surprising just how many enterprises fail to measure anything at all, including what they have done and what they plan to do.

  • Define Metrics and create measures
  • Critical Success factors
  • Capability Maturity models

Vote leave again

2 June 2016

Churchill salute

14 April 2016


Use of Reason

12 April 2016


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