Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to Avoid Buzzword-Driven Business Architecture

Business Architecture is more than a "hint of the business process."

In general, Architecture can provide support for different business dimensions. However, a very high percentage of EA practices fail to satisfy customers. Business-driven Architecture has common fallacies such as Vendor-driven Architecture and Buzzword-driven Architecture. What are the best practices to share or what kind of pitfalls need to be avoided though?

  • Regardless of the framework used, the levels of elaboration of these layers serve different purposes. It is not just the layers that define Enterprise Architecture but the level of elaboration of each layer and resulting Enterprise Architecture deliverables that define the practice.
-Conceptual – High-level business strategy, processes and supporting capabilities
-Logical – Business process and component decomposition for a specific business process
-Physical – Business workflows and functions supporting a specific process 

  • Business Architecture is more than a "hint of business process": It contains most of the time, all primary business processes and their interrelation. With only the description of primary business processes, it is not possible to analyze the impact new business problems introduce for all the stakeholders. So how can business architecture achieve the coherence of different concerns the different stakeholders might have. 

  • When applying architecture, it is necessary to define first enough perspectives from which those stakeholders operate: You can use it to describe as little or as much detail you want to produce that is useful for your organization. Besides processes, the business model, strategy, market, and industry all play key roles in shaping the BA model that is eventually settled upon. An effective BA needs to become a handy tool for business communication and problem-solving.
Therefore, contextually, effective business architecture drives decisions in other layers, but decisions driven out the other EA layers could also drive business architecture and in fact even change or determine the timing of the execution of a business strategy. And a buzzword-driven BA will be too empty; while an overly IT-driven EA could be too narrow-minded, how to strike the right balance is the key to the success of enterprise/business architecture practices.


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