Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Business Architecture and Future of Enterprises

The future of the organization is hyper-connected, always-on and border-less. 

We all understand that the rapid changes in the marketplace and technological advances provide growth opportunities for business to thrive, but also put additional pressures on organizations to survive. 

So which role Business Architecture needs to play in the future of enterprises, and how Business Architecture, as a discipline, can help design and manage such future organization.

1. The new Characteristics of Future Organization

From today's perspective, Future Organizations need to possess certain characteristics and capabilities to survive. They need to possess speed, flexibility, and adaptability to manage customer expectations and develop and deliver products and services to their customers and stakeholders while maintaining or improving their competitive edge. It would require continuous alignment and improvement of business strategy, business models, and operating models.

The emergent trends which shall shape the behavior of future enterprises and some have been happening already.  
- Disrupting Technologies - SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytic Cloud )
- Digital Transformation (IT Consumerization)
- New Consumer Trends
- Next-Generation Worker & Multi-Generational Workforce
- Accelerated Shift to Multi-Polar World
- Agility & Flexible Service Delivery
- Work without Boundaries 

Thus, rapid business model innovation, digitization, consumerism, and many other factors are creating new challenges and opportunities for enterprises. They are also affecting business capabilities in many ways including but not limited to business relationship management, brand reputation, information management, and competitive advantage.

2. The Role of Business Architecture

What is the role Business Architecture may play to design and manage future businesses that can respond to such multi-dimensional factors impacting business model, business operations, and business reputation? Which skills the architect of the future should sharpen in order to design the future of business?

The emerging consensus is that Business Architecture can have two impacts: business model evolution, and business alignment. 

(1)     Business model evolution
In the business model evolution category, Business Architecture tends to focus on the use of verifiable data about the capabilities of both the enterprise itself and influencers in the ecosystem in which the enterprise operates.

  •  In those cases, a broader EA approach is perhaps needed. In these situations, bringing an understanding of how the information of the organization is managed, and how the technology is managed, the EA can bring a unique viewpoint to key business decisions including business model conversations, product and service conversations, market segmentation, culture analysis, value proposition conversations, cost and resource model conversations, and service monetization conversations. 
  • BA-enabled organization design and structure: The key and this is where a business architect can provide a unique and highly valuable viewpoint, is to help architect an anti-fragile or agile & resilient organization. In a paradigm-shifting business environment, this may be the most important result of BA involvement.

(2)     Business Alignment & Integration

 In the business alignment/integration category, Business architecture tends to focus on capability analysis, current state evaluation, gap analysis, and development of the roadmap to reach a reasonable target future state. More specifically:

·       Business Alignment: Business architecture can be very valuable for performing a wide array of additional services, including process measurement and optimization, segment analysis, strategic positioning, and a wide array of other business functions. Business Architecture should have the capability to transform the manual process and the business requirement to process design and process governance so that the organization’s mission, vision, and goal can be realized. 

·       Business Integration: Integrating customer experience with business design should be a critical aspect of planning and architecting future businesses. Only by aligning the outside view with the inside view, can you understand the needs of people but also the channels needed to support them? Customer satisfaction and customer reputation should be tracked diligently and managed continuously in this very interconnected world.

·       EA as 'Super-Glue': EA of the future will be positioned as the glue between the customer, the business, and technology as the business boundary has been expanded. For the EA to understand the social media aspects and understanding of the customer experience and all aspects of the service, from the customer's perspective has to be understood too. 

·       Skills of Business Architect: So the architect of the future may also require customer experience and service design skills too. Align these skills with the traditional business architecture skills and you will be able to create a true 360 degrees model of the business, which is designed around the experiences of your customers.

Business Architecture role in designing and planning future enterprise will be both interesting and challenging; from inside-out to outside-in, from static to dynamic; from industrial-segregation to digital modularization; and from legacy to modernization.


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