Capstera’s comprehensive business architecture overview: We all know business architecture is vital for any enterprise, particularly the large and complex companies. Intuitively, Business Architecture makes sense.
However, many a time, there are divergent viewpoints and questions abound:
“What constitutes business architecture?”
“How does one justify business architecture and build a business case?”
“What components does business architecture include?”
“What business architecture methodology, if any, to follow?”
“How to showcase the value of business architecture in an accelerated manner, without boiling the ocean, and taking a decade?”
Let’s take a simple life cycle view of business architecture and go on a short journey thru the phases of business architecture.
There are several definitions of Business Architecture. But for now, let’s go with what OMG’s definition of business architecture. Object Management Group defines business architecture as follows: “Business Architecture is a blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands. The blueprint deals with the structure of the enterprise regarding its governance structure, business processes, and business information. As such, the profession of business architecture primarily focuses on the motivational, operational, and analysis frameworks that link these aspects of the enterprise together.”
There may be strategic imperatives on why you need to do business architecture as well as tactical demands necessitating business architecture modeling. Irrespective of the strategic or tactical imperatives or drivers, it is important to frame them within the organizational context so that the powers-that-be can understand, appreciate, and support the business architecture endeavors.
The typical drivers of business architecture may include:
If you only look closely, you can find many more drivers. Of course, these are generic business drivers and strategic imperatives showcasing the need for business architecture. However, you can make them clear and present for your organization by adding context and metrics. “Last year, we spent $200 million on IT projects, and only 10% of this involved capability which is of highest strategic importance.” Now, that would be a home run.
Now that you know what some key drivers and strategic imperatives that are driving the need to adopt business architecture are, now it is time to establish the value proposition of why business architecture is required, and time is now, to the powers-that-be. Building a compelling value proposition is essential to secure the buy-in of senior business and technology leaders. Here are a few tips and ideas on how to create and communicate a value proposition for business architecture.
It is one thing to know that something is valuable intuitively, but making a qualitative and quantitative business case for business architecture takes some thinking and time. Having a list of strategic imperative and business/technology drivers for business architecture is a starting point. Then, it is time to build a list of outcomes you are targeting from business architecture and how it will benefit the enterprise – in the short-term, medium-term and longer-term – in both qualitative and quantitative terms. It is important not to overreach or overestimate the benefit stream. Perhaps, the most compelling business case is centered around the cost of not doing it. As John Zachman famously stated, “You Can’t Cost Justify Architecture.”
Selling it to the senior executives is both an art and science. Making a compelling business case and cogent argument about the value of business architecture is not just about the length of the list, the relevancy of issues, and considerations that necessitate the discipline of business architecture, but more importantly how you tell the story in stark and vivid terms. Of course, it is not just gloom and doom, but a substantive focus on the positives will help frame the picture better.
The issues of a framework are at time contentious. Some purists adhere strictly to a framework. And pragmatists do not care about allegiance to a particular structure, and instead, try to gather the best-of-breed and build a business architecture. There is a veritable alphabet soup of enterprise architecture and business architecture frameworks. (Some of the enterprise architecture frameworks explicitly acknowledge business architecture, and some don’t.) Zachman, Togaf, PEAF, DODAF, MODAF, Gartner and Forrester are some of the enterprise architecture frameworks that one may want to consider. As for a more practical, purpose-driven model (do we dare call it a framework?), we prefer the Capstera’ s business architecture model. (We are, of course, Capstera and hence we are biased.)
You’ve come a long way! Now that you made a business case and secured the buy-in and obtained the necessary funding, you are off to craft your business architecture. Wait a moment and think about what are the components you want to include in your business architecture? Depending on who you ask, the range of element, entities, and components involved in business architecture varies significantly. The important thing is to identify the classic MVP (Minimum Viable Product or in this case Project) and progress incrementally. Here is a list of business architecture components the Capstera team deems valuable. What elements you select initially should be primarily driven by the organizational context, and the time to value. Don’t forget – it is futile to boil the ocean.
First, the definition of what is a capability and what is a capability map. Let’s stipulate that a business capability defines “What” a business at its functional level does. And a business capability map is a holistic set of capabilities that constitute what an enterprise does. If we agree to this, then it will be clear that a business capability map or model is not a process map, and it is not a value stream map. Both value streams and process maps are significant and are an integral part of the business architecture, but they are not a business capability (or a business capability model.) For those of you how are curious, here is a list of definitions of a business capability map.
Building a business capability model is a non-trivial task. However, it is not necessary to spend countless hours and several quarters defining a business capability map. To build a business capability model, there are several alternatives:
Also, check out the Capability Mapping Software features and functionality of Capstera.
Business architecture value streams are different than the typical LEAN Value Stream mapping where the primary focus of the latter is to identify structural bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and costs of each step in a process. In contrast, a business architecture value stream is an end-to-end lifecycle with the significant strides from a stakeholders’ perspective in accomplishing an activity or a process. If business capabilities represent the “What,” the combination of business architecture value streams and processes represent the “How.” Here is Capstera’s take on Value Streams and you can use Capstera software to create value streams. To learn more about enterprise value streams, browse Ralph Whittle (who wrote a book) thoughts about value streams.
Understanding business context and deciphering why business is doing what it is doing, and the implications of the strategy on operations and IT enablement is a critical business architecture deliverable. There are many ways one can capture and present the essence of business thinking, strategy, direction and motivation. There is Nick Malik’s elaborate EBMM (enterprise business motivation model). For those of you looking for more succinct and concise ways to capture the business direction and strategy, here are some ideas. Alexander Osterwalder’s business model canvas is an elegant way to achieve the business model and critical value drivers. Kaplan/Norton Strategy Map is another way to gain a multi-dimensional perspective. Angoss Strategy Trees may be another way. And don’t forget the McKinsey 7s Framework. Furthermore, check out Capstera’ s strategy encapsulation features.
Irrespective of what framework or diagram you use, capturing the business “Why” is paramount and is the beginning step of linking execution to strategy. This is the fountainhead step in any worthy business architecture endeavor.
The real value of business architecture comes not from siloed individual components, but from mapping the relationships and juxtaposing related concepts to generate multidimensional and nuanced views, viewpoints. Many types of artifacts, outcomes, and views can be created as a part of the business architecture and capability modeling.
Of course, there are several views one can generate. Many of these views and viewpoints are represented as heat maps. Please refer to some ideas of what types of heat maps to create and use as a part of your business architecture efforts. Also, please check out the lenses functionality of Capstera business architecture software tool.
As Business Architecture is an evolving discipline, there is a great need to train not only the business architects but other stakeholders in the art, science, and practice of business architecture and capability modeling. Business Architecture training should be tailored and purpose-fit for each stakeholder. The preparation of a business architect versus business architecture training for a business analyst must be adapted to the needs of each practitioner. Also, training for senior business and technology leaders who have decision making authority over business architecture and impacted by business architecture also must be subject to training, albeit at a higher-level focusing on value and impact, and not necessarily the detailed mechanics. Learn more about Capstera’s business architecture training.
It is not enough to develop artifacts, but a good business architecture endeavor will need to affect business outcomes. For this to happen, it is essential to establish a simple and lightweight governance structure, metrics to measure the progress or lack thereof, and a way to foster and propagate the business architecture discipline into other critical processes of the organization.
Enterprise architecture is the overarching discipline of which business architecture is an essential and integral part. If you wish to focus on enterprise architecture, which is broader in scope and impact, there are several methodologies, approaches, frameworks, and tools. The subject of enterprise architecture is vast and is beyond the scope of this detailed overview of the business architecture. However, you may peruse the high-level overview and tools that will help you in implementing enterprise architecture; please check out this post about enterprise architecture overview and tools.
This is just a business architecture overview, and if you need to master the art and become a successful practitioner, you will need to dig deeper.
Capstera business architecture software can help you in creating, managing and harnessing business architectures.
Capstera can provide Business Architecture and Capability Modeling consulting services to help you jumpstart the process and accelerate time to value.
Capstera can deliver light-weight and straightforward business architecture training programs.
Please also consider some of the following products from Capstera.
If you wish to align your Business and IT, and link Strategy to Execution, please subscribe to Capstera’s robust business architecture and capability modeling software.