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Translating Business Strategy to a Technical Solution using Business Capabilities

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How do you translate Business Strategy to a Technical Solution using Business Capabilities?

There is a feeling Business strategists generally reside in ivory towers and produce a strategy that is in the stratosphere. If you have read strategy pillars such as the following, that feeling is reinforced in spades:

“We will offer the best customer experience in the industry.”

We will optimize our supply chain by eliminating too many layers.”

“We want to extend our market leadership by proliferating into various market niches”

As bold strategy pillars, these general statements may be OK, provided there is additional depth and detail. However, oftentimes the problem is that there is no more meat around the bone. If these types of strategy statements make you wonder as to how to realize these vague generalities into technical solutions, you are not alone.

Business capability mapping can help business architects explore and elicit additional detail and capture the core ingredients of a capability which will drive the business strategy.

The highly paid strategy consultants and/or internal strategy folks are far removed from IT and the documented strategy is superficial, filled with superlatives and details are sparse.

Since understanding strategy is a prerequisite to execution optimization, what is the best way to translate ambiguous strategy into actionable architecture?

Good question: This is where business capabilities (and capability modeling) comes in. Business capability mapping can help business architects explore and elicit additional detail and capture the core ingredients of a capability which will drive the business strategy.

For business architects to be able to have this intelligent and informed conversation, it is essential to possess the business knowledge and be able to conduct the sessions in business speak not as a technical geek.

For example, if you were to explore and translate “We will offer the best customer experience in the industry”, you will need to do the following:

  • Understand the business motivation and what problem the strategy is trying to solve.
  • Assess the current state of the customer experience and what the desired state is and the gap thereof.
  • Map the operational, organizational, product, and information capabilities needed to achieve the business strategy of achieving better customer experience.
  • Analyze the state of the capabilities and develop heat maps and desired target state.
  • Capture the capability semantics, connectors, and collaboration needs.
  • Map the customer experience processes and value streams
  • Assign service level expectation (SLE) and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Document the new features and functionality required to evolve the capabilities to their desired state.
  • Provide additional color and context thru use cases, user personas, and customer journey mapping

Helping business think in relatively abstract terms that are based on foundational entities of a business will be a valuable exercise. Capabilities are the glue that link the strategy to execution and provide a solid blueprint and business definition for building better technology solutions.

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