Business Architecture Tools and Techniques

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Business Architecture Tools and Techniques

Business architecture is still a nascent discipline and hence the business architecture tools and techniques are evolving as well. What business architecture tools and techniques to use in your work depends on the scope of your enterprise business architecture undertaking as well as the purpose and outcomes you are striving to achieve.

To business architects, a professional toolkit with various techniques and templates is an essential part of practicing the discipline of business capability modeling and business architecture.

Let’s broadly organize the business architecture tools and techniques into frameworks, models, components, mappings, reports and artifacts.

Before we go too deep into business architecture tools and techniques, let’s level set about the following:

Business Architecture Tools and Techniques:

A Business Architecture Framework to tie things together: As a part of the business architecture tools and techniques, you will need to articulate how the various components of business architecture will fit together. It can be called a metamodel, a framework, or whatever, but the idea is for you to present a picture of how the jigsaw puzzle fits together.

Consider, a few of the following business architecture frameworks and models:

Whichever model or framework of ontology or metamodel you choose to use or create yourself, there are some common components you will need to model, and there are a variety of tools, techniques, templates to accomplish the same.

To business architects, a professional toolkit with various techniques and templates is an essential part of practicing the discipline of business capability modeling and business architecture.

Making a Business Case for Business Architecture:

To become a successful business architect, just having the desire to build a business architecture for a company is not enough. It is essential that you are able to build a compelling business case to secure the buy in and procure the funding that is required to embark on the business architecture journey. Here are a few resources to help you make a case for business architecture.

Business Vision, Strategy, and Direction:

If business vision, goals, strategies and direction are at the pinnacle of what drives an enterprise, and capturing that essence in a cohesive and concise manner is of paramount importance in business architecture.

There are several management concepts and tools one can use to distill the wisdom into a strategy on a page (or two).

McKinsey 7s Model: McKinsey consultants Tom Peters and Bob Waterman are credited with this seminal model to capture the interplay between key organizational factors and how they affect corporate performance. McKinsey describes the model as “the 7S framework maps a constellation of interrelated factors that influence an organization’s ability to change. The lack of hierarchy among these factors suggests that significant progress in one part of the organization will be difficult without working on the others.”

Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas and Value Prop Canvas: Osterwalder’s canvases are a coherent and cohesive way to capture the business model and value proposition of a business, service or a product.

Strategy Maps by Kaplan and Norton are another tool to capture strategy of a firm in a crisp and concise manner.

Michael Porter’s Five Force Model is another potential tool you can use to understand the dynamics of competition.

Building a Business Capability Map:

An integral part of business architecture, an enterprise business capability model can be considered the first among equals. Business capabilities are the foundation of any business architecture effort. A few resources to help you get started on building a business capability map.

Crafting High Value, Value Streams: Value Streams are the “yang” of the Capabilities, which are the “Yin”. Value streams capture the flow of activities initiated by a stakeholder to accomplish something of value.

Here are a few valuable resources for learning about Value Streams, what they are and how they are valuable part of an effective enterprise business architecture practice:

Business Architecture Tools: There are several business architecture tools and not every tool is listed here. It is essential to first determine the components of your business architecture, the outcomes you desire, and the artifacts you want to produce. Here is a small sampling of the business architecture software solutions. (Enterprise architecture software tools are outside the scope of this discussion.)

  • Of course, in our opinion, the best and easiest business architecture software tool is Capstera. (Needless to add, Capstera is our solution and hence you can understand our bias here.)
  • Ardoq.com
  • Corso3.com
  • Alfabet
  • IRIS
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