What Are the Benefits of Supporting Business Architecture?
By Betsy Burton
What are the benefits of supporting Business Architecture?
Let me be very clear, organizations that are seeking to support business transformation must define their business architecture. Why? Because business transformation requires a significant investment in business models, business partnerships, people, processes and enabling technologies.
Business transformation is about introducing whole new business models into your business. Not just evolving, modernizing or optimizing existing business models, but rather defining, creating, and deploying whole new business models. Transformation.
Business architecture is critical for business transformation because it provides the context, framework, and roadmap to enable business transformation. Interestingly, some of the benefits are indirect as well as direct benefits.
Business Strategy Realization
One of the initial benefits of business architecture is the process/discipline of identifying and fleshing out the business strategy. 80% of organizations don’t have a clearly defined and actionable business strategy. Organizations risk wasting a ton of time, energy, and money if they try to pursue business transformation without a guiding business strategy.
Business architecture discipline is used to help leaders identify and communicate the business strategy to stakeholders and implementation leaders. It is also critical for defining what your business is NOT going to transform. There may be parts of your business that just need modernization or optimization, which do not require as significant of an investment.
Change Management and Socialization
Some of the biggest challenges during business transformation are related to people change management; getting everyone on board with the plans, communicating any new processes, roles, or business changes, articulating the future vision, and guiding how different teams can contribute or will be impacted.
Business architecture is based on a future-state first approach which highlights where the business is headed and then what changes need to take place to achieve the future state.
Change is hard for many people. By focusing on the future-state first, people are more likely to be open to change because they see where the business is headed in a positive way.
Every day we see some hot new technology or business model featured in the press or by providers.
It is hard to tell which trend would be good to adopt or not. By defining a clear business strategy, future-state business capabilities and processes, it is much easier to determine what new technologies and business models are key to support the business direction and vision.
During execution, there may be new technologies and business models that emerge that become more interesting to the business.
In this case, the business architecture can be used to understand the value of these emerging trends and adjust capability models, process models, roadmaps and execution plans to integrate innovations as needed.
This is a big one. A business architecture is primarily focused on the future-state business strategy and the steps needed to achieve that future state. But business architecture is not solely about “strategic” investments. A business architecture can be used to help organizations determine what tactical investment decisions need to be made, and even more importantly what the ROI should be.
Say a sales team needs a specific cloud-based tool to pursue a tactical market over the next 2 years. This market of customers will help fuel the business while it supports business transformation but is not a primary future-state opportunity.
Business architecture can be used to evaluate the potential investment and determine how long the business should expect to support any tools to pursue the market.
Last, but certainly not least, business architecture can be used in conjunction with other Enterprise Architecture disciplines (information architecture, security architecture, cloud architecture, etc.) to define roadmaps that guide execution.
Business architecture roadmaps are most used by business process teams, technology investment teams, business leaders, information architects and solution architects.
Business architecture deliverables are also very useful for communicating with senior executives within business and IT. A visual business capability model that illustrates where investments are needed to support future-state business transformation can be much more valuable and impactful than a written business case.
Business architecture is a discipline, not a one-time activity. It is dynamic and context based. As such, the value of business architecture is realized in different situations based on the current business and technology context.
Much like a building architect plans are used to guide the design, and execution of building a house, the business architecture is used to guide the execution of business transformation. But it is not set in stone. As needs and opportunities change, the business architecture becomes a valuable tool for understanding the cost and impact of change on-going.
I have created a summary of some of the key benefits. How did you realize other benefits? We would love to hear from you and share with this community. Feel free to add your ideas, comments and questions in the comment section.
This was the second blog in the Business Transformation blog series by Aragon Research’s VP of Research, Betsy Burton.
Stay tuned! We publish a new blog every Tuesday.
Missed the first installment? Read it here: