Friday, September 5, 2014

The Quality and Value of Business Capability Maps

 The value of capability maps is to provide the useful tool to visualize the end-to-end enterprise. 

Business capability mapping provide a comprehensive understanding of the important business outcomes of the enterprise. Capability mapping also identifies common, shared capabilities across complex enterprises to pursue unified solutions. Here are a few perspectives of business capability maps:

  1. The value of assessing business capabilities

If one considers a capability map as "a model describing what the enterprise currently does" (a backward design viewpoint), the model offers an opportunity for senior management to reflect  on whether they are truly doing what they thought they were doing. This kind of model has been shown to offer insight to senior management in developing focus on what they truly do well. This has helped management to refocus on what is truly a core competency. It can also offer the opportunity for senior management to determine whether they are supporting the appropriate projects. Decisions can be made as to whether to continue or invest in specific capabilities in order to meet the objectives. This kind of map is aided by an assessment of how well the enterprise currently delivers on these capabilities. 

Business capability maps also provide the basis for collective reasoning. The architecture is used as a collaboration instrument to 'type' business processes to be discussed as a whole. Capabilities may include dependencies - one is part of another or depends on another. The value of capability maps is the ability to identify capability 'patterns' of the enterprise to make holistic investment decisions.

The value of the model / map, once it's built, is as a tool to visualize the end-to-end enterprise. It should allow you to demonstrate the capabilities necessary to deliver each and every product / service and then the capabilities that are necessary to support them. Overlaying that with an organizational model reveals duplicate capabilities. When you want to make a change to one of those capabilities or build a new product (execute strategy), then your model / map assists with a high-level impact assessment and delivery approach.

More perspectives on the purposes of a capability map:
a) To identify and convey the key capabilities required by /of which an enterprise is composed 
b) To provide the basis for conveying other assessments, capability gap in the context of future need, or capability dependency (business capability reliance on technology capability) 
c) To provide an insight into condition and relationship / dependency, an alternate way of describing.

2. How does one determine the quality of a business capability map? 

Quality is measured through refined business definition of capability verses process (business activities) because the two are frequently confused - they both produce outcomes. Once business processes are clearly mapped to the capability, its quality is ensured.

The quality from business owner perspective: If your business owners recognize the business from the map that you've created, then that is a simple quality assessment. Another might be whether your capability owners accept ownership of the capability, its lower levels, and its descriptions. If they accept it, then it must be of sufficient quality. 

The quality from client and architect perspective: QoS and its mapping with business capabilities should be determined by some of the stakeholders like client, technical architect, business architect etc. Technical architect should verify the QoS on feasibility and reality of the figure. All the QoS having business value so definitely mapping or modeling the QoS to business capability make handy change request. It also helps other architect to figure out capability wise figures.
Quality measure is based on determinable outcome. And quality is assessed through consideration of: 
a) completeness 
b) consistency of levels 
c) consideration of value chain / value stream / lifecycle / other reference model.

3. The Methodology to Developing the Business Capability Heatmap

In developing the business capability heatmap, there are a variety of methods for assessing the capability gap, the simplest one is qualitative rather than quantitative, and the simplest of the simplest is common Executive or Management view of the condition / suitability of capability to support the intended future operating model. You have to go down to a second tier, or even a third tier to get to the point where there is enough differentiation between capabilities that you can then map against a role in the organization. If you went to that level of differentiation, you can then use capabilities to write position descriptions, or link the capability to a process map, or to make a range of other associations that might benefit the organization. 

.A capability is the combination of resources and processes (including lower order capabilities) that are used to deliver outcomes. At the program level, executives are sufficiently aware of the "general condition" of the various capabilities to input into a qualitative assessment. The adequacy is reflected through the use of a heatmap, but that does not necessarily mean the contained entities have been analyzed in detail (as such detail occurs at the project level). The next level assessment will seek to determine whether the deficiency derives from any particular dimension - different resource types, process, etc. These factors vary significantly from case to case.  

Taking a viewpoint, risk based approach: Identify the relevant viewpoints to the risk profile of the enterprise performance deficiencies. So viewpoints would be selective not comprehensive. Abstraction would be a key tool for balancing the cost and effort of analysis and synthesis such that appropriate change investment decisions can be made in a timely manner without compromising the returns sought through outcome realization.

A focus on uniqueness and differentiation; As part of the strategic capabilities of an enterprise, can cause a silo based organization and to cause some degree of duplication of capabilities because of different naming and labeling. Capability modeling facilitates the process of identifying and recognizing duplicate capabilities and opportunities to leverage existing capabilities.

 Capability view is more abstract: Capability abstracts away from functions to remove any sense of who, where or how, which enables broader consideration of options in developing and strengthening the target business capability. So the capability view can leverage different perspectives from different roles, each of whom have come from different backgrounds and perspectives and question whether and how a business capability perspective adds value over the perspectives / viewpoints that they are accustomed to using. Sometimes this view is formed due to seeing poor quality business capability maps. Sometimes there are other factors.

Capability analysis have both external and internal analysis. It would take care of the exhaustive exercise of internal exercise which would be exclusive to external analysis using other tools/frameworks, or any analysis should follow the MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive). But to cut the chase for any enterprise, you would have an external and an internal analysis. For external analysis, you might consider the processes dealing with the operational management, for the Capability model would play a key role in defining and mapping the internal information. Not to mention that it would be the key in determining the core competencies of the enterprise.

Therefore, the value of capability maps is to provide the useful tool to visualize the enterprise. The quality capability model allows business leaders to establish important business goals relevant to the capability and identify goal dependencies to establish a high mature enterprise.


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