Saturday, April 10, 2021

Underperformed Business Architecture

Building an evolving digital organization is to advocate the concept of “business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces.

Business Architecture contains the organizational context, provides guidance that does not make it tactical by nature, and is strategic in that it gives direction to the large-scale business transformation while tactical realizations are underway. 

It is a framework focusing on all crucial success factors integrated to build business capabilities; the communication tool to facilitate change and the glue between strategy and execution. Therefore, it’s logical and there are different risks in Business Architecture getting into too much tactical.

Irrelevant - do Business Architecture for Business Architecture’s sake: Business Architecture is like the compass to guide the organization forward and create business value. To keep Business Architecture relevant, be focused, and keep the end in mind. The architects need to clarify: Why are you engaging in Business Architecture initiatives and how to measure its return on investment. Can you diagnose the problem early enough if it loses focus on strategic and important issues. They have to revisit the value that the architecture adds to the organization and not make it after the fact as the document costs too much with no business value.

Generally speaking, the benefits of using Business Architecture in business improvement initiatives include things such as portfolio rationalization, gap identification, or risks mitigation, etc. If the value of business architecture cannot be justified, is it because of lacking an effective set of metrics to measure deliveries, no value delivered or out of date value? When selecting the right set of metrics to evaluate Business Architecture Efforts for cost optimization, ask whether the metrics can reveal anything meaningful for the identified purpose, and ensure the management buy-in for the metrics collection processes. It’s also critical to leverage architectural design thinking to see how the business solution being built will perform with respect to their quality attribute goals.

Ineffective or inappropriate meddling: Every business initiative needs to solve certain problems. Although business architecture is not a solution in/of itself, but rather, a component of the overall business objective. The pitfalls of BA efforts include such as: Too much focus on Business Architecture tools and frameworks. The wrong scope focuses from the start or culture inertia "that's the way we've always done it." Too frequent deficiency in requirements quality, often devolving into little more than a long list of point functionalities, with little regard to the larger business picture, etc. An architecture abstract layers should include generalization - reusability, specialization or customization, classification, etc. Gaining an in-depth understanding of architectural abstraction improves planning flexibility, enforces communication effectiveness and tailors the varying business audience.

Every situation has choices, every situation has unknown unknowns, the only way we get to understand these is by not giving up and using a higher level of thinking and practical tools such as BA to fully understand the current situation, and guide the business to the future in a structured way. An architect’s mindset is abstract, critical, coherent, and persuasive. Ideally, the enterprise architecture framework that is created needs to be maintained and used to adapt and improve the organization in the future by abstracting major concerns, facilitating the strategic goals and objectives of the enterprise, and achieving a situational balanced compromise or a trade-off.

Inflexibility in business architecture methodologies/practices: Compared to the business world a couple of decades ago, the digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic, hyper-connected and interdependent. The best practices in the industrial age are perhaps not fit for the digital new normal. Taking the “ivory tower” approach to practice BA with linear steps is no longer fit for the rapidly changing business environment. Inflexible Business Architecture disciplines/methodologies/practices perhaps enlarge the gaps and generate fragmentation, outdated & silos of technical knowledge, lack of resilience in organizational design, etc.

Business Architecture is a great tool for enterprise leaders to orchestrate the organizational interrelationship between people and process, streamline information flow, enforce cross functional business communications, foster collaboration, build trust, keep rationalization and optimization, and ultimately lead to greater autonomy. The organization can take multiple paths to reach the “inflection point” where it goes from being able to hold the business architecture in the mind of key business leaders, align the different parts of the digital ecosystem to adopt more points of integration with modular capabilities and processes and have standard open interfaces.

Building an evolving digital organization is to advocate the concept of “business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. ”Business Architecture enables “mind crafting” and deals with the variety of complexity, know how to tap various resources and be inclusive and recognize merit, orchestrate the interrelationship between people and process, and bridge the multitude of viewpoints. By leveraging BA as a design and business transformation tool, it’s important for digital leaders and managers today for learning to think about the systemic wholeness, develop the hybrid digital solutions and practices for renewing knowledge and rejuvenating something new into the classic business management, and improve the organizational maturity.


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