#11- Business Architecture- How effectively do organisations use Business Architecture?

Daniel Lambert is a business strategist assisting companies in their growth, their business architecture and ultimately their digital transformation. He has worked in the past with organizations in a broad array of industries: financial services, insurance companies, telecom, utilities, pharmaceuticals, transportation, computer software, healthcare, and the public sector.

Daniel is currently VP Business Architect at Benchmark Consulting.
Benchmark provides digital transformation consulting services and is also the creator of the collaborative IRIS Business Architect software application for enterprise architects, business architects, IT/Solution architects, and business analysis to optimize planning and roadmaps from strategy to delivery. Benchmark Consulting has clients of all sizes from as little as 800 employees to as large as 400,000 employees.

Q, How does Business Architecture relate to IT Development?

For enterprise architects, business architecture is one of 4 domains. The other 3 domains are IT related. The most common domain is application/service architecture. Information/data architecture and technology/infrastructure architecture are the other 2 domains.
Not all enterprise architects are familiar with business architecture.

Many will limit business architecture to business capabilities, where they will list and measure the enabling applications of each capability.
More and more enterprise and business architects have now started to incorporate value streams and other business strategy techniques to formulate, assess, and prioritize initiatives and IT projects. This enhances IT portfolio and program management.

Furthermore, business architecture can be very instrumental in the description and planning of requirements, epics, and user stories while planning the delivery of IT projects and scrums. Business architecture allows quicker agile planning, brings greater accuracy, and lowers execution risk associated with IT project delivery.

Q2.How effectively do organisations use Business Architecture?

DL: The use of business architecture varies a lot. Many organizations still have no business architects among their employees. Those that have business architects will use the following organizational setting:

i. Business architecture under enterprise architecture

Here, business architects report to the Enterprise Architecture leader (most likely within IT) along with the IT architects that often will have an Enterprise Architect title. This way of operating creates a shared vision, consistent practices, and integrated architecture among business and IT architects, but it will often have a drawback. Business architects may be perceived as separate from the business units supported and as an IT perspective only.

ii. Business architecture under the CIO

In this case, Business architects report to a leader within IT outside Enterprise Architecture. The main benefit and inconvenience are the same as business architecture under enterprise architecture. There is here an additional inconvenience since this org chart may lead to inconsistent practices or lack of integration between business and IT architecture.

iii. Business architecture within governance

Here, business architects are staff as part of the governance group. This should create a shared vision, consistent practices, and integrated architecture among business architects, but as the inconvenience of making it more difficult for business architects to be involved in the planning of IT delivery of initiatives and projects. They can be perceived outsiders to both business and IT stakeholders.

iv. Business Architecture under the COO

In this case, business architects report to a leader(s) within the business. It creates a tighter integration with and acceptance by the business. The inconveniences are that first, business architects may be perceived as separate from the IT architecture disciplines, and second, it may also lead to inconsistent practices or lack of integration between business and IT architecture.

Business Architects can be distributed within an organization in a centralized matter, decentralized within each business unit, or a hybrid form both centrally and in each business unit.

Most organizations serious about their business transformation will have some kind of strategic business transformation governance committee reporting to the COO of the organization, as shown here. Ideally, business and enterprise architects should be involved in this committee as core participants. They should work with other core participants, like change managers, strategy experts, etc.

Q3.What are the main benefits that Business Architecture provides?

DL: The benefits of business architecture are numerous. Here are a few:
• Business architecture allows the dissemination of corporate business strategies to be disseminated horizontally and vertically everywhere within an organization for greater agile strategy execution.
• Business architecture allows quicker agile planning, brings greater accuracy, and lowers execution risk associated with IT project delivery.
• Business architecture allows complete integration horizontally and vertically of management, people, not-IT assets, and IT-assets in the case of a merger and acquisition.
• Business architecture allows more complete product design and product management within an organization.
• Business architecture can accelerate the improvement of customer experience within complex organizations.
• Business architecture can contribute to the modernization of legacy software applications in transforming organizations.

Q4. Discuss some key achievements you have had in Business Architecture?

Among many projects and mandates where we’ve been involved, let us elaborate on three of them.

i. Fine-tuning SAFE with business architecture in a large package/freight delivery company
In an exceptionally large American package/freight delivery company, we managed to fine-tune their business architecture practice, including their business capabilities, value streams, and main initiatives. We have also started amalgamating their business architecture practice to their SAFE practice to accelerate their agile planning, bring greater accuracy in the description of their epic and user story before starting agile projects, and finally lower execution risk associated with their IT project delivery.

ii. Budget determination of IT projects within the scientific labs of a biotech firm using business architecture
In a notorious and growing New York-based biotech company, we have assisted their business analyst team in their scientific labs to precisely define their value streams with their enabling capabilities. After assessing these enabling capabilities, they were able to justify the allocation of capital to their upcoming IT projects to improve the performance of high priority enabling capabilities.

iii. Rationalization of the number of applications within a healthcare government organization using business architecture
In a Canadian healthcare government organization, we have assisted a team of enterprise architects in rationalizing their over 1,300 applications to about 300 while implementing a new clinical information system through a 4 to 6-year program.

Q5. What podcasts, articles, websites do you follow for continuous learning?

Here are the webpages that I follow for continuous learning:
General category
• MIT/Sloan Management Review: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/
• McKinsey & Co: https://www.mckinsey.com/about-us/new-at-mckinsey-blog
• Boston Consulting Group: https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/featured-insights/thought-leadership-ideas
• CIO.com: https://www.cio.com/
Business architecture category
• Open Group: https://blog.opengroup.org/author/opengroupblog/
• S2E Consulting – Straight Talk: https://www.s2etransformation.com/category/blog/
• Architectural Thinking Association: https://architectural-thinking.com/blog/
• Business Architecture Guild: https://www.businessarchitectureguild.org/page/BIZBOK
My own business architecture content could also be useful for some of you
• My book entitled “Practical Guide to Agile Strategy Execution: Design, Architect, Prioritize, and Deliver your Corporate Future Successfully”: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-Guide-Agile-Strategy-Execution-ebook/dp/B0844JFH7H/ref=sr_1_1
• My blog on CIO.com with over 20 articles: https://www.cio.com/author/Daniel-Lambert/
• IRIS Business Architect YouTube channel with over 15 videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvA8qzIE0zxX6s_t9PLaTFg/videos



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