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Making Business Architecture Effective

Making business architecture effective

Making business architecture effective is a burning issue and is a critical question to ponder for many practitioners and thought leaders in the industry. A lot of business architecture practitioners are struggling with how to differentiate what they do from enterprise architecture, business analysis, systems analysis, and product management.  While to the purists the distinction may be crystal clear, to many in the C-suite unless the value of business architecture is clear and present, the viability of the professional will be in question. 

For example, if an executive were to think of who does what at the top of their mind, here is what they’d think.
Strategists in conjunction with the C-suite develop “Strategy” and “Operating Model.”  Product Managers are responsible for product roadmaps with the head of the group responsible for cross-product roadmap optimization. Solution architects define the application architecture. Business analysts elaborate on business/functional requirements. System analysts do impact analysis of business requirements on systems. Data architects develop data models and are responsible for data architecture. Designers are responsible for experience design. Programmers code and testers do quality assurance. In the first run, the role of a business architect does not come to his/her mind immediately. 
(NOTE: Please understand that it does not matter whether this executive is right or wrong or misinformed. However, she/he controls the budget and at consequently the workflow.)

So, what do business architecture practitioners do to make business architecture effective and efficient?

Strategists in conjunction with the C-suite develop “Strategy” and “Operating Model”.  Product Managers are responsible for product roadmaps with the head of the group responsible for cross-product roadmap optimization. Solution architects define the application architecture. Business analysts elaborate on business/functional requirements. System analysts do impact analysis of business requirements on systems. Data architects develop data models and are responsible for data architecture. Designers are responsible for experience design. Programmers code and testers do quality assurance. 

Tips for Making Business Architecture Effective:

  1. Time to value is paramount. Deliver value as quickly as possible. 
  2. Your job is not just modeling. It is about impacting outcomes positively. 
  3. Don’t focus on a ton of deliverables. Understand and deliver what moves the needle. 
  4. Don’t be a purist. You need not compromise your professional integrity, but deliver something valuable within the constraints.
  5. Focus adoption and usage. You have to go beyond making your work a wall art. 
  6. Don’t just be a creator of blueprints. Someday soon a business architecture software platform will automate the basic visualizations – the strategy to capabilities, capabilities to value streams, capabilities to systems, systems to value streams, and capabilities/value streams to customer journey maps. 
  7. Add value at every step. For example, while a business architect may or may not contribute to actual strategy development, add value while elaborating and interpreting the strategy to influence capability roadmaps. 
  8. Work as an integral part of enterprise architecture, not try to carve a new niche and establish a fiefdom. 
  9. Learn the discipline and go more in-depth than what an example on an association’s website shows you. They are examples and a starting point. Not the endpoint. 
  10. Focus on enterprise value – that is global optimization even at the cost of local suboptimization. 

Do you have other ideas on making business architecture effective? Practitioners and consultants are welcome to share your ideas on making business architecture effective. 

 

 

 

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