Sunday, September 22, 2013

Do all Discussions of EA include BA

Business Architecture (BA) is part of Enterprise Architecture (EA), Business Architecture is the requirement set for the Business; IT architecture may be one of those requirements. Other requirements might include capabilities, processes, changes in organizational structure, changes in value chains and systems.

Any initiative, even though very technical one should have a business objective associated with it. Doing anything just for technology sake is proved to be futile if it does not have a business purpose. EA is top down, it means to  always do business architecture first. So it is better to look into business architecture while doing any EA.

Enterprise Architecture as being the synthetic combination of Business Architecture and Technical Architecture. Business Architecture is the driver or the "raison d'etre" for the Technical Architecture. The Technical Architecture is seen as essentially serving the Business Architecture. It is almost as if the Technical Architecture has no reason to exist without the Business Architecture justifying it

The ROI for any Enterprise Architecture is demonstrated by showing the impacts on the business side of the equation.  An EA that is developed without an examination of the business processes to be supported is doomed. The first thing one should always examine when beginning the development of any enterprise architecture is the underlying business architecture. Deploying a technical architecture for technologies sake has no business justification and it is therefore impossible to demonstrate an ROI.

The ultimate aim for any EA is to 'loosely couple' BA with technology architecture, to allow for changing / new business models/processes/capabilities with minimal changes to underlying technology. Such trend is accelerated through the evolution of 'Cloud Computing and the emergence of 'meshed up' business processes and models. However, each architecture is more or less interdependent of each other and evolves according to its own rules and timetables. The Technical Architecture is as likely to influence the Business Architecture as vice versa. As time goes by, the influence of Technical Architecture over Business Architecture is actually growing.

Perhaps the better question might be "Does all discussions of enterprise architecture include TECHNOLOGY architecture?”. As EA is to be driven by the business and its strategies and visions. To dig through with a series of questions such as:
1) What business capability do we have to enhance or create to fulfill the strategic vision?
2) What business processes do we need to create that capability?
3) What information do we need within that business process to be able to create that capability?
4) Then comes the question. Do we need a technology support to do this? 

So all discussions of EA should be informed by BA; and all forms of EA. even IT-centric ones - should include BA somewhere, to define the business-purpose of the architecture. 


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