What is business-architecture? What is its relationship with enterprise-architecture? And what is the business-value of either, or both?
The Open Group ran a very useful ‘TweetJam’ – a ‘twitter-conversation – on these themes yesterday, using the hashtag
#ogChat. I pulled the various tweets into storage for my own records, but then realised it might be useful for others as well, so here it is.
Tweet-conversations tend to get a bit scrambled, so I’ve sorted them into what I hope is a more meaningful order. I’ve also added my own views after the end of each section.
The names shown are the Twitter-IDs of the respective people, with the exception of the Open Group’s Len Fehskens, whose comments were posted by the conversation-moderator Harry Hendrickx – I’ve labelled those with a dummy-ID of LenF.
I’ve done a small amount of cleanup, to remove unnecessary (for here) hashtags and cross-references, but otherwise this is essentially the same as in the original Twitterstream. Just in somewhat more accessible form, that’s all.
The TweetJam was announced by Open Group as follows:
The discussion will be guided by these six questions:
- How do you define Business Architecture?
- What is the role of the business architect? What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?
- How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
- How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?
- How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
- What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?
The following are the tweets for each question:
Q1: How do you define #BizArch?
- Dana_Gardner: Q1 Aligning the strategies and operational priorities of all a business’s groups along a common, coorindated path. // Also, implementing common tools and taxonomy for communicating, measuring and adjusting strategy.
- enterprisearchs: A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of an org aligning strategic objectives and tactical demands // At @enterprisearchs we also believe #BizArch is the design of business to enable business model innovation
- LenF: Q1 It ought to mean the architecture of the business aspects of an enterprise // For too many people, business means ‘whatever isn’t IT’ or ‘whatever is supported by IT’ // By business I mean the exchange of goods and services for some form of compensation for the costs and risks of doing so
- NadhanAtHP: A1: Manner in which mission, vision, governance, organization and bus processes come together to deliver on the business strategy
- bmichelson: q1: in reality, business architecture is more the meta model of business, used to understand, measure, deliver capability #BizArch
- enterprisearchs: @bmichelson agree #BizArch optimises the make up and mix of business capabilities to improve shareholder and stakeholder value
- MartinGladwell: Q1 Orchestrating the delivery of changes needed to realise the strategy
- enterprisearchs: A1 #BizArch provides a cohesive and comprehensive representation of the organisation and the environment it operates within
- Dana_Gardner: Q1 And capturing how you do #BizArch that makes it archivable and retrievable, therefore repeatable should be in there.
- MartinGladwell: @theopengroup Need to include public sector and non profit I think
- leaderdev: A1:#bizarch is the strategic systems, comm models, & process hacks that form the blueprint for biz efficiency and velocity cmptvness
My view: I’m strongly with Len here, both in his concerns and in his preferred definition. (No surprises there, if you’ve been watching this blog! ) I’d also strongly agree with Martin Gladwell, that it must be about the business of any type of organisation – for-profit, not-for-profit, government, education, whatever. What’s really important is that although in some ways it’s ‘above’ enterprise-IT-architecture’ – because it in part defines the scope and needs for that IT-architecture – it should not be regarded as ‘above’ a true enterprise-architecture, as ‘the architecture of the enterprise’. More on that after Q4 below, anyway.
Q2: What is the role of the business architect? What real world #business problems does #BizArch solve?
- LenF: Q2 Right now this is almost entirely locally defined, i.e., by the organization the business architect works for // It ought to be the responsibility for developing and managing the #BizArch as defined above // I.e., designing, for example, the contents of an @AlexOsterwalder Business Model Canvas
- bmichelson: q2: so, I differ here. I think *true* business architect designs the business; in reality, we assign “architect” to business analyst
- Dana_Gardner: Q2 #BizArch allows for managing complexity, fostering agility, makes a data-driven enterprise more able to act in proactive manner
- enterprisearchs: A2 To perform a current and target state gap analysis of the business capabilities (people, process, technology)
- NadhanAtHP: A2: @theopengroup Vital. Biz Architect must ensure that #EA defined is in alignment with the business strategy and objectives
- editingwhiz: So much software now is aimed at line-of-business people that acquiring IT business architect creds would be a huge attribute.
- enterprisearchs: A2 ‘#BizArch provides the link between business strategy and the other #EntArch domain architectures
- Dana_Gardner: Q2 #BizArch finds common ground for relating and aligning IT strategy and business strategy // Also, #BizArch should evangelize and implement such architecture values, expanding the influence of strategy alignment.
- enterprisearchs: A2 #BizArch describes how an organization currently and intends to create, deliver, and capture value
- MartinGladwell: Q2 The IT industry and clients have a terrible track record re the interaction of business and IT change. BA to change that
- enterprisearchs: Q2 #BizArch can be used to respond to market disruption that may change the shape of entire industries http://t.co/TvA9q3EjyK
- editingwhiz: Ideally, #Bizarch folks and data scientists can team up to bring new insights and value to IT in enterprises.
- bmichelson: Q2: I want biz arch to be responsible for architecture of business system; connections, flows, process; not IT business systems
- MartinGladwell: Agree BA must innovate and evangelise and inform strategy not just carry it out
- theopengroup: .@editingwhiz Will #BizArch folks be able to help with the shortage of data scientists by teaming up with them? #BigData
- Technodad: q2: Don’t forget small/med businesses. They need arch, but need to be their own architects w/ people who know their business best.
- NadhanAtHP: RT @editingwhiz Agreed. Data Scientist – the sexiest job of the 21st century http://t.co/F72b8nE0cM
- MartinGladwell: Q2 Is an MBA an advantage for a BA? Is it necessary?
- blake6677: We use business architecture as a structured / repeatable way to converse with the business about their current and future needs
- editingwhiz: @theopengroup Two different types of people. Synergies should work, but dunno if one group would promote numbers of the other.
- enterprisearchs: A2 Ensures an org is correctly positioned and the environmental/industry factors are understood in order to achieve its strategy
- DaveHornford: Q2: all my answers chase their tails into architecture – what must I have to get what I want – what must change
- MartinGladwell: Q2 @technodad #ogchat Agree a good BA will understand and participate in ecosystem of businesses large and small
- allenbrownopen: @MartinGladwell Advantage – BA’s need to have a depth of business understanding and how to relate to all functions
My view: Once again, I’m very much with Len on this: the role of the business-architect is design (or, more usually, assist in design) of the structures and support needed for ‘the business of the business’ – such as Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, as Len suggests. Beyond that, there are some great answers here: TechnoDad’s warning about “Don’t forget small/med businesses”, for example, or enterprisearchs’ reminder about “environmental / industry factors”.
I’m a bit puzzled by (for example) NadhanAtHP’s view: sometimes he seems to imply the EA is the dreaded IT-centric version (i.e. EA=EITA, ‘enterprise-wide IT-architecture’, not ‘the architecture of the enterprise’), but at other times he does imply the full whole-enterprise scope, right out beyond the organisation itself. This is a problem that comes up time and time again in this TweetJam: business-architecture is compared to enterprise-architecture, but the respective person’s definition of enterprise-architecture isn’t clear, so trying to compare one person’s comparison with another’s can be a bit confusing, to say the least… Oh well.
Q3: How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
- enterprisearchs: A3 #BizArch becoming mainstream – demand for #BizArch has increased with orgs seeking greater visibility http://bit.ly/WEF82J
- NadhanAtHP: A3. @theopengroup Business Architects must go social to know what the customers want http://bit.ly/10XrcCq @ecioforum
- enterprisearchs: A3 Disruptive market forces are driving an increased focus on the external environment – #BizArch is seen as a tool to understand it // Businesses are looking to differentiate, an increased focus on Customer Experience is raising questions on how to increase NPS
- Dana_Gardner: Q3 #BizArch must now be able to manage even more complexity at even greater speeds. The value increases therefore, tho, too.
- bmichelson: @megamda @editingwhiz assuming #entarch is just a bunch of geeks.
- NadhanAtHP: RT: @theopengroup Business Architects must have a close relationship with the #CMO of the enterprise http://lnkd.in/TuAEES
- LenF: Q3 #EntArch and #BizArch are evolving rapidly. It’s driven by empirical understanding of a viable value proposition. // This evolution though is often local in scope. The discipline as a whole seems mired in very sloppy conventional wisdom.
- editingwhiz: #Bizarch interacts with IT, R&D, line-of-business decision-makers, and C-level execs. Must be excellent at navigating the layers.
- Dana_Gardner: Q3 #BizArch needs to now extend influence beyond just a company to ecosystem, so across org boundaries, social means.
- blake6677: At the core of my Business Architecture practice is business capability modelling
- editingwhiz: “bmichelson @megamda @editingwhiz assuming #entarch is just a bunch of geeks.” First rule of order: Never assume anything!
- bmichelson: q3: everything is connected, business is system of systems, as is tech enabled capability; need dot connectors, synthesizer #BizArch
- enterprisearchs: A3 The #BizArch practices are evolving and is moving into areas of differentiation – looking to build and prolong advantages
- DaveHornford: Q3 – changing? Is just starting to appear – distinction between architect, strategist, analyst, change leader often hard to see
- DaveHornford: @Dana_Gardner why more complexity now?
- Dana_Gardner: Q3 And #BizArch should be able to make #bigdata and #BI work better by making such analysis more actionable, valued.
- NadhanAtHP: A3: @theopengroup Business Architects must work with Systems of Engagement — not just Systems of Record http://bit.ly/VcdELG
- MartinGladwell: @DaveHornford Agree that we are in early stages of development. Often hard enough to do the basics well
- editingwhiz: Dana_Gardner Q3 #BizArch should be able to make #bigdata & #BI work better by making such analysis more actionable, valued. Bingo!
- NadhanAtHP: @dana_gardner Business Architects must know how to realize the ROI – Return on Information http://bit.ly/VAsuAK @ECIOForum
- DaveHornford: @theopengroup #Len agree comely about ‘sloppy conventional wisdom’
- enterprisearchs: A3 Acceptance of architecture as a business discipline – how components relate and are assembled to realise business objectives
- DaveHornford: @MartinGladwell So what are the basics?
- MartinGladwell: ROI in the regulatory world = Risk Of Incarceration
- enterprisearchs: A3 Incorporation of Design Thinking with more subject matter defined: Architecture Thinking
- MartinGladwell: Q3 Maybe BAs will start to value and manage the concepts that a business needs in order to be efficient and for competitive adv
- harryhendrickx Q3 #BizArch evolves towards operational position serving many initiatives. Not sure how practice evolves
My view: No real comments on this one: this section of the discussion seems a bit lost, wandering ‘around the houses’ somewhat. Which is hardly surprising given that, as Len says, “EntArch and BizArch are evolving rapidly#, and there’s no clear or certain direction settling out as yet as to where either are going. I loved MartinGladwell’s throwaway remark that “ROI in the regulatory world = Risk Of Incarceration” – it’s exactly correct, and a major driver for both BA and EA, especially in the government sector.
Q4: How does #BizArch differ from #EntArch?
- NadhanAtHP: A4: @theopengroup Biz Architecture provides the business foundation for the Enterprise Architecture which is more holistic
- DaveHornford: Q4: difference is in scope #BizArch is one of many domains comprising #EntArch
- enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch is still largely seen as an IT discipline, #BizArch seen as a positive progression away from IT http://bit.ly/ZEck6W
- LenF: Q4 There is a lot of confusion about the meanings of #business and #enterprise, and many people use them synonymously
- MartinGladwell: @theopengroup Len I think there is no truth of the matter, we must choose to use these terms in a way that advances our common cause #ogchat
- MartinGladwell: Q4 Q5 #ogchat Lets stop having esoteric arguments about which is a sub discipline of which and pour some energy into common causes
- Dana_Gardner: Q4 The impact of #BizArch knows no bounds, can help manage a company’s essential mission and progress; #EA domain more concise.
- bmichelson: q4: I think q4 in itself is problematic. We have business, business systems, process and tech & org capability; rolled into whole
- enterprisearchs: @MartinGladwell Utilises many tools to optimise the org to increase shareholder value & improved business performance & market share
- MartinGladwell: @enterprisearchs We need to design some of these tools. Many don’t exist now
- NadhanAtHP: A4: @theopengroup Having a Business Architecture is good. Having an Enterprise Architecture is priceless!
- theopengroup: @MartinGladwell What are common causes that #EntArch and #BizArch can work on?
- MartinGladwell: @harryhendrickx Think portfolio management is a key skill
- Dana_Gardner: Q4 The role differences between #EA and #BizArch may also be dictated by personalities, culture, pedigree; not yet hardwired.
- NadhanAtHP: @theopengroup Ensuring that the IT strategy is aligned with the Business strategy
- bmichelson: “@NadhanAtHP: @theopengroup Ensuring that the IT strategy is aligned with the Business strategy” | alignment is artificial goal
- bmichelson: @megamda @nadhanathp @theopengroup and sometimes a driver — via tech-based innovation. Alignment is a chase to nowhere.
- enterprisearchs: @Dana_Gardner #BizArch to improve market performance – assess marketing/industry positioning, and opportunities for M&A activity
- DaveHornford: Common causes help: realize strategy, address roadblocks, discover barriers to & path to strategy, too often fix strategy
- enterprisearchs: A4 In TOGAF ADM we see #BizArch predominantly supporting the prelim and arch vision phases
- Technodad: @enterprisearchs Confused by that definition- isn’t that responsibility of executives? Is BA just an important exec skill?
My view: Exactly as Len says, there’s a lot of confusion not just about the respective roles of business-architecture and enterprise-architecture, but much of that is because of even more about the meanings of ‘business’ and ‘enterprise’. One guaranteed way to get into an almost terminal mess in this – as Len again warns – is to treat them as synonyms: there’s a lot more on that on the back-and-forth between Len and I in the comments-section to my recent blogpost ‘Enterprise and ecosystem‘. We need to get past this if we’re to make any sense of this question above: and I don’t think the respective disciplines are there yet – as is somewhat indicated by the same sort-of-rambling in those tweets here. From my perspective, for example, Dana Gardner gets this back-to-front when he says that “BizArch knows now bounds … EA domain more concise”. We’re gettin’ there on this, though… if somewhat slowly…
To me, the most important distinction is that business-architecture is best understood as a domain-architecture, much like security-architecture, facilities-architecture or facilities-architecture, with an explicit focus or ‘centre’ around which all of its activities revolve; enterprise-architecture, however, must cover the entire scope of the shared-enterprise – inside-outward and outside-inward – with all domains as equal citizens within the architecture, and in which ‘everywhere and nowhere is the centre, all at the same time’.
Solution-architects are usually specialists, concerned solely with the architectures of their own specific domain; business-architects and other domain-architects typically have a’T-shaped’ skillset, in that they’re mainly focussed on one domain but understand enough about other domains to architect their connections with them; whereas enterprise-architects need to be true generalists, able to cover all of the scope, though necessarily in less depth or detail than any of the specialists. In that sense, collaboration between them all is essential, in order to cover all of the enterprise-scope in sufficient depth and breadth to be useful for the respective business-needs.
Q5: How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
- blake6677: Business Architecture provides a model around which IT and the Business can come together to discuss where we are and should go
- MartinGladwell: @Dana_Gardner Absolutely need to address the ‘softer’ questions that determine success or failure. Q6 Think ethnography @dougmcdavid
- DaveHornford: Ethnography within the enterprise, its ecosystem or both?
- MartinGladwell: @DaveHornford Both I think. We have to think about ecosystems to be effective. Incl customers and potential custs and opinion formers
- LenF: Q5 The usual ways people collaborate. The first thing is to get shared agreement on the roles and responsibilities. // Too often this ends up, ‘You do your thing and I’ll do mine and maybe we won’t duplicate effort/contradict one another’ // The conventional model seems to be the #EntArch worries about IT and the #BizArch worries about everything else
- MartinGladwell: Q5 pragmatism pragmatism pragmatism
- blake6677: Stick with language and models that the business is comfortable with, so that business and IT can plan using Business Architecture
- Dana_Gardner: Q5 They make each other stronger, and can provide an example to the rest on how these methods and tools can work harmoniously.
- Dana_Gardner: Q5 Rest assured if #EA and #BizArch are at odds over their roles, the rest of org will ignore them ASAP
- kdaley8587 Whereas I see #EntArch as enabling controlled and systematic definition of how to achieve that enterprise objective
- NadhanAtHP: @theopengroup: How about #BizArch defines the business and #EntArch worries about everything else?
- DaveHornford: @theopengroup #Len – disagree with conventional model – that is a dialogue of divides
- emmancorps: @NadhanAtHP @theopengroup please how is #bizArch distinct from biz analyst or are one & the same.
- NadhanAtHP: @emmancorps Might be terminology but to me, the Biz Arch works pan enterprise while the Biz Analyst works at a project level.
- enterprisearchs: A5 #BizArch provides the link between business strategy and the other #EntArch domain architectures
- theopengroup: What are some good use cases of #BizArch today?
- enterprisearchs: A5 #BizArch provides a structural definition of the business landscape providing an anchor for the other domains within the #EntArch
- MartinGladwell: What is the difference between a methodologist and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist
- theopengroup: What is the first step toward establishing a successful #BizArch?
- enterprisearchs: @theopengroup #BizArch assists in the identification and resolution of duplicated effort across the portfolio landscape
- bmichelson: “@theopengroup: What is the first step toward establishing a successful #BizArch?” < knowing why you want to establish practice
- DaveHornford: 1st step: knowing what you need to address, whom you work with, influence & harass – what is a win
- MartinGladwell: @theopengroup professional accreditation, community, role models
- NadhanAtHP: @theopengroup – Ensuring consistent definition and adherence to business processes pan enterprise
- MartinGladwell: @NadhanAtHP @theopengroup and consistent use of information where required
My view: The first requirement is clarity on what the roles are – otherwise, as Dana Gardner warns, “if #EA and #BizArch are at odds over their roles, the rest of org will ignore them ASAP”. There are some very good points above about ethnography, and Martin Gladwell’s wise assertion of “pragmatism pragmatism pragmatism”. A couple of useful add-on questions there that I’ve highlighted in bold: Brenda Michelson’s response “knowing why you want to establish practice” is probably the most apposite there.
Q6: What’s in store for #BizArch in the future?
- LenF: Q6 I fear conventional wisdom contradictions and ambiguities will be ‘resolved’ by setting arbitrary distinctions in concrete // This will create a shoddy foundation for what could be a critically influential profession
- NadhanAtHP: A6: @theopengroup Consumer driven change is the only constant
- DaveHornford: @theopengroup #bizarch future running from the internal navel gazing methodological debates #ITarch inflicts on itself
- Dana_Gardner: Q6 I hope to see more stature given to the role of #BizArch, so that it becomes an executive-tier requirement.
- NadhanAtHP: A6: @theopengroup Watch the data but don’t lose sight of the information
- enterprisearchs: @Dana_Gardner #BizArch #EntArch assisting can provide a complete view of business capabilities including enabling technology
- harryhendrickx Do your homework. Management knows business logic but it is not formulated in a way it can be communicated easily
- bmichelson: q6: learning how to enable continuous change via: visibility, context, correctness & responsiveness #BizArch
- NadhanAtHP: A6: @theopengroup Recognize information as the most valuable asset in the enterprise
- MartinGladwell: Q6 Everything to play for but we do need to get some of the basics mature first otherwise I agree with Len
- enterprisearchs: Q6 Demand for #BizArch will increase providing C-level execs a view of org and environment it operates in http://bit.ly/WEF82J
- DaveHornford: @Dana_Gardner #BizArch skills are an executive level requirement (for the good ones) just called something else
- MartinGladwell: Q6 More about information certainly
- enterprisearchs: A6 #BizArch career paths will open up for Business Analysts looking for career in ent planning & performance http://bit.ly/ZEck6W
- Dana_Gardner: Q6 New data services and the need to create better biz results feedback capabilities should be wind in the #BizArch’s sails.
- enterprisearchs: @theopengroup #BizArch is organised knowledge of biz and the environment it operates in adding value through reuse & innovation
- MartinGladwell: Q6 In the medium term execs who operate solely on instinct will be outperformed by those working from structure and analysis.
- enterprisearchs: A6 #BizArch will be seen as valid response to disruptive innovation that continues to reshape industries http://bit.ly/WEF82J
- harryhendrickx Q6 if consistent, #BizArch can seize a key role in setting direction for ent transformation, biz planning and gov
- MartinGladwell: Q6 We will see information as a design activity not an analysis activity
- bmichelson: “@MartinGladwell: Q6 We will see information as a design activity not an analysis activity” <– good one!
- enterprisearchs: A6 #BizArch will continue to move into biz strategy bringing common & repeatable approach to strategy dev http://bit.ly/ZEck6W
- DaveHornford: Disagree Bus Analyst career path – trap led IT analysts/ planners / doers into taking same next tactical step approach to #ITarch
- enterprisearchs: A6 The demand for #BizArch will generate a need for recognised certification and training
- allenbrownopen: Business architecture like other functions such as legal and finance can inform C level decisions, it can’t make them
- enterprisearchs: A6 Emergence of a common framework across the arch domains http://bit.ly/YQxwrv
- enterprisearchs: A6 The convergence of #BizArch and business analysis to reliably produce desired business outcomes http://bit.ly/YQxwrv
My view: There are some important themes here, such as the relationship with the business-analysis disciplines, and the role of architecture as decision-support, not decision-making – as in Allen Brown’s note about “can inform C level decisions, it can’t make them”. I still have very strong doubts as to whether business-architecture and the like are anything like ready for certification, and I strongly disagree with NadhanAtHP’s assertion about “Recognize information as the most valuable asset in the enterprise”: ‘a valuable asset’, yes, of course, but ‘the most valuable asset, quite often not – and claiming that it is is just the typical outcome of excessive IT-centrism, which is not a good idea at all…
Overall, a good section, this one, showing that there’s a lot that can be done here, and very real business-benefit to be gained from business-architecture. Yet it also looks like we still have quite some way to go before we’re ready for that, and as Len Fehskens warns, still some real traps that we need work our way around before we can get there. Watch This Space, perhaps?
Anyway, that’s it for now. Open Group have said that they’ll host their own
#BizArch #ogChat recap within the next few days on the Open Group blog at http://blog.opengroup.org/ - so keep an eye open for that, ‘cos it it’ll likely be useful. [Update: The Open Group blog-post is now up, as '#ogChat Summary - Business Architecture' - it also includes a list of the main participants in the discussion.]
Over to you for comment, anyone?