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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How does an Enterprise Architecture and a Business Model work together?

Successful organisations are those that improve and innovate their Business Models to find a profitable niche against their competitors.

But a new Business Model alone is not enough. It needs to be implemented and executed. This is where an Enterprise Architecture comes in.

If organisations do not align their Business Model and their Enterprise Architecture then how can they be certain of making it work?

The first step is integrating the Business Model with the Business Architecture part of the Enterprise Architecture. This is described below.

Business Model Canvas

Business Model innovation is rapidly becoming a hot topic and especially with the release of the book ‘Business Model Generation’ by Dr Alexander Oesterwalder. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/

This book introduces a standard way of developing a Business Model called the Business Model Canvas. If you are an Enterprise Architect highly recommend you read it.

Up to now most organisations had their own informal and idiosyncratic way of defining a business model that was unique just to themselves. This is the first time a standard for developing a business model has been defined and published.

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a powerful approach for business model design and innovation.

It captures the 9 most essential elements of a business model in a simple way, enabling the design of a ‘business model on a page’.

The 9 different segments are

  • Customer Segments
  • Customer Relationships
  • Channels
  • Value Proposition
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Key Partners
  • Cost Structures
  • Revenue Streams

You can see some example Business Models developed with the business Model Canvas at http://www.businessmodelalchemist.com/ and on an associate web site where you can view a variety of example Business Models and try creating your own can be found at http://bmdesigner.com/ .

So what does all this have to do with Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture exists to provide a path between strategy and execution, identifying the current state and the desired future state and plot a roadmap of strategic changes between them.

See book ‘Enterprise Architecture as Strategy’ –  http://www.architectureasstrategy.com/book/eas/

Enterprise Architecture provides the organising logic and architectural thinking needed to design the appropriate business capabilities need to implement a Business Model. To get the right outcomes, organisations must focus on Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture not try and jump straight to IT architecture and solution design.

After setting the overall mission and enterprise vision, the first Enterprise Architecture domain that we need to model and align with the Business Model is the Business Architecture.

Business Architecture Model

A Business Architecture model is used further elaborates the 9 high level concepts segments that have been populated with conceptual themes and business strategies in the Business Model Canvas. A number of techniques and approaches, views and artifacts are used to explore the themes and strategies in each Business model canvas segment.

Customer Segments

Create a Porter’s Five Forces model to explore the market and the general business environment in which the organisation exists. Also conduct a SWOT analysis.

Create a VPECT model to explore the Values, Policies, Events, Content (outcomes) and Trust relationships from the perspective of each different customer segment.

For details of VPECT read the book ‘Lost in Translaton’ by Nigel Green and Carl bate – http://www.lithandbook.com/

Customer Relationships

Create a Business Event model, further elaborating the Business Events identified with the VPECT model.

For each current and especially the future Events, create a Business Scenario. This should explore he what if questions that will effect the business model in the future.

Channels

Create a model of the various channels that exist between the organisation and its customer segments as well as between the organisation and its partners and suppliers.

Don’t forget those new social media channels, such as iPhone or Android phones and other devices and applications such as Twitter and Facebook. Partners can also be channels as well.

Create a model of the flow of business information between the organisation and its customers and between the organisation and its partners and suppliers (use the Actor Co-operation Viewpoint in Archimate).

Value Proposition

Use VPECT to explore what Value you provide to each customer segment and what problems you solve for them.

Create a Value Proposition Model of the Products, Business Services and associated Values (using the Product Viewpoint in Archimate).

Value Propositions drive Business Strategy, so create a Business Motivation Model to understand all the relationships between Vision, Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics associated with the Value Proposition.

See http://www.businessrulesgroup.org/second_paper/BRG-BMM.pdf for details of the Business Rules Group’s Business Motivation Model.

Key Activities

Key activities includes any model of behaviour,

This should include both internal Business (organisational) Services, Business Functions, Business Processes and Activities as well as the external behaviour of your customers, partners and suppliers.

In some cases it is useful to think about behaviour in terms of external services (the what) and the internal behaviour (the how).

Create a Business Function Model (using the Business Function Viewpoint in ArchiMate). A useful approach to use here is the Component Business Model approach from IBM. See http://www-935.ibm.com/services/uk/igs/html/cbm-bizmodel.html

IBM’s Component Business Model provides a good basis for visualising the Target Operating Model in terms of Business Functions or in terms of Business Capabilities (they’re not the same thing…).

Create a Business Process Model (using the Business Process Viewpoint in ArchiMate). Business Process Models are not just Process Hierarchy Models but include Value Chains and Value Streams.

Create Value Stream models for each Event/Outcome pair (use the Business Process Viewpoint in Archimate) identified in the customer relationship segment above.

Create a Value Chain model at a high level for each customer segment (also using the Business Process Viewpoint in Archimate).

See http://www.opengroup.org/archimate/doc/ts_archimate/ for details of modelling the Business Architecture Layer in Archimate.

As they are high level abstract views, Value Chains are often specified more in terms of Business Functions than the more specific Business processes or Activities.

Key Resources

Resources in this segment can be further elaborated by the other Enterprise Architecture domains or Information Architecture, Application Architecture (and Application Service Architecture) and Infrastructure Architecture.

However before jumping to the IT Architecture it is better to start more conceptually and create an Enterprise Vision Model and a Business Capability model.

Enterprise Vision models are those high level one page models described as ‘core’ models in the book ‘Enterprise Architecture as Strategy’ (http://www.architectureasstrategy.com/book/eas/) and also in TOGAF Phase A.

You can also use the Layered Viewpoint in ArchiMate to produce Enterprise Vision Models.

Create a Business Capability model. This is usually a hierarchy model similar to a Business Function Model but remember that a Business Function and a Business Capability are two different concepts.

A Business Function is a high level view of existing internal behaviour from an organisational perspective, where the business functions are closely associated with the organisation units.

A Business Capability is defined by TOGAF9 as ‘A business-focused outcome that is delivered by the completion of one or more work packages’. A Business Capability is defined as the ability to execute a specified course of action, to achieve specific strategic goals and objectives. A Capability is defined in terms of the outcome of the course of action, one that has a business value. The concept of Capability is used in the military context and the MODAF framework where it is described in the abstract. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capability_management and http://tinyurl.com/2vge39e

See also my previous post on Modelling Behaviour.

Create an Organisation model (using the Organisation Viewpoint in ArchiMate) to capture the human resources and their roles and responsibilities.

Create a Business Information Model (using the Information Structure Viewpoint in ArchiMate) to understand the knowledge, information and data resources within the organisation. Outcomes identified as Content in the VPECT model and in the Value Stream models are also modelled here as Business Information (represented by Business Object, Meaning and Representation object types in ArchiMate).

Key Partners

Identify your key partners, suppliers as carefully as you do your customer segments and customer relationships.

Don’t forget that Enterprise Architecture includes the extended environment as well as the organisation itself. This extended environment includes the Suppliers and Partners (use the Actor Co-operation Viewpoint in Archimate).

Cost Structures

Explore the costs with a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model.  This can be a spreadsheet.

Create a System Dynamics Models to fully explore and understand the cause and effect relationships between different stocks and flows, and run simulations.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_dynamics

Revenue Streams

Also explore revenues with a TCO model as with the Cost Structures

Remember that revenue doesn’t always mean profits in terms of money, but can be other non-monetary outcomes of value, (especially relevant for Government departments, non-profit and charity organisations who seek outcomes in terms of benefits to citizens and indirectly, votes).

It is again very useful to produce System Dynamics Models to understand the cause and effect relationships between different stocks and flows.

I think it’s surprising that more organisations don’t use System Dynamics as part of their enterprise architecture modelling. More on that subject in a future post…

Other Enterprise Architecture models

Starting from the Business Model Canvas, the Business Architecture views described above are used to further elaborate the details of the business model and to understand what needs to be realised from a business perspective.

After that the Business Architecture model is aligned to the Information/Data Architecture model, the Application Architecture model and finally the Infrastructure Architecture model pretty much as usual.  I mostly develop these models using Archimate combined with other concepts from TOGAF 9 as needed, using tool such as Avolution Abacus and BiZZdesign Architect.

Note that other variations of Oesterwalder’s Business Model Canvas are starting to emerge. This is a sure sign that the concept is an important one that is reaching a tipping point.

These other business model approaches include:

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