Tuesday, August 24, 2021


The business architecture of the future will be positioned as the glue between the customer, the business, and technology as the business boundary has been expanded; an overseer of the ever-evolving business landscape, and the compass of transformative changes.

Due to high velocity and continuous disruptions internally and externally, Cross boundaries, organizations face many dilemmas, meet a lot of paradoxes, get misunderstood and experience frustration when they don't get expected results from change or strategy management practices.

 Business Architecture as a “critical success factor” explorer can help the management clarify effective value propositions, diagnose crucial issues, and avoid the following potential issues to transform the “order-taker” - reactive types of companies to “value-generator”- proactive leading organization.

Well-intentioned business initiatives, but don't deliver value: Organizations today are inundated with the sea of information, overwhelmed with too many initiatives, overloaded and understaffed. Theoretically, every business initiative is to solve a certain problem and achieve certain value. However, in practice, many well-intentioned business initiatives don’t deliver the expected value because any business initiative involves a certain degree of risk in it. Business architecture is an effective tool to govern and culture is a determinant upon how effectively the business initiative can create sustainable business value by setting good principles, clarifying goals and objectives at the strategic level, doing capability mapping and process alignment.

Business Architecture provides a holistic understanding of intentions and goals of varying change initiatives, and analyzing of all critical success factors accordingly to ensure the overall portfolio management effectiveness. They care more about the abstract concepts of everything working together, including policy, process, assets -including people, with psychological factors around business initiatives, and the output from all functional areas meshing together to create business synergy. Often, behind well-intentioned initiative, business architecture as an effective tool provides a broader angel, allowing the management to see the chain of issues that perhaps need to be handled thoughtfully, so they can develop a healthy portfolio to ensure problems get solved more radically and the benefit get realized from multifaceted value proposition.

Implementation of redundant or duplicative capabilities:
The speed of change is increasing, thus, organizations have to accelerate their speed to either solve problems or shorten the cycle of strategy management. Many organizations live in their functional silos, and it costs significantly to implement redundant capabilities or reinvent the wheel. Business Architecture is an effective tool for identifying gaps in business capabilities and strategies for strengthening them to ensure they are coherent, mutually reinforcing and aligned with what calls the "demands of strategy." To accelerate performance and adapt to rapid change, organizations should build dynamic capabilities by modeling, developing, integrating and optimizing, even in the real time, for leading desired change successfully.

Some degree of redundant or duplicated capabilities exist because of silo setting, or different naming or labeling, or traditional organizational legacy, etc. It’s important to assess capability maturity via scale, scope, coherence impact, etc, lenses; it’s also critical to scrutinize all those important ingredients such as people, process, asset, technology in order to build optimized capabilities. Business Architecture is an effective tool to identify capability gaps in the context of future need, capability dependency and core competencies of the organization. So the management has an insightful understanding of how to drive capabilities-enabled change and strategy management and developing organizational advantage.

Ignoring root-cause problems because they are politically difficult to address: Many companies get stuck at the daily busyness by fixing the symptoms of business issues, but the same problems keep coming back and even get worse, waste time, suck energy and cause frustration, fatigue and culture inertia, etc. Sometimes, the management ignores the phenomenon because they are getting stuck at the “in-the box” thinking mentality, and routinely have “we always do things like that "attitude; or because those issues are politically difficult to address; or sometimes they focus on getting the quick win, but lack of motivation and incentives to solve issues from the long term perspective.

Many organizations perhaps lack a good strategy or sufficient resources or capabilities to take care of the large scale issues, etc in a structural manner. Business Architecture is more appropriate to wild rather than tame problems because the latter rarely need shared understanding, etc. Breaking down large problems to the interdependent smaller problems helps to see a larger system with interactive pieces and “conflict” goals, look for interconnectivity between those pieces, understand the potential solutions from the future lens, and assemble those smaller pieces of issues in a different way to give you a sense of “what it could be.” Leverage architecture tools to keep conscious of business weakness or deficiency, frame the most critical problems or challenges facing organizations, and solve the issues with the largest potential impact on the long term success of the organization.

Infeasible or conflicting business strategies that never get resolved but drive wasteful or conflicting behavior: Every organization is on the journey of business evolution. Business strategies along with a set of roadmaps enable the company to realize their well defined vision stepwisely. However, strategy in many companies are the shelfware no one understand; or in some organizations, there are many versions of strategy or sub-strategy with conflicting or infeasible goals, no wonder the success rate of strategy management is so low that the staff get discouraged by not understanding the purpose of their work or lack the appreciation of their accomplishment. That further enhances the culture of mediocrity and leads the company towards the downturn cycle of stagnation.

Business Architecture can be used as a framework to explore innovative management discipline and handle complexity, clarify strategic planning, bring together purpose, use, aesthetics, and more to create an environment to suit the purpose. Every organization is at a different stage of the business growth cycle. The effective strategic planning should start with a clear picture of its own enterprise application landscape at a minimum and preferably an understanding of its own capabilities and practices maturity relative to its industry and increase in the range of planned activities against the potential unplanned (presumably unforeseeable) activities. It further broadens the cohesive view including influencers, drivers, business models, and initiatives for change, etc, so the various stakeholders can work more collaboratively to provide invaluable feedback and drive desired attitude and behaviors.

Unvetted or unreviewed business decisions and initiatives that optimize one area of the business at the greater expense of other areas
: Organizations leaders and professionals spend significant time on making either strategic or tactical decisions on a daily basis. However, across the sectors, the high ratio of strategic decisions have been made poorly and cause serious issues from time to time. It is more critical than ever to understand the interconnectivity between the parts and the whole, otherwise, you perhaps focus on making a seemingly right decision for fixing something in one specific area, but unfortunately cause bigger issues elsewhere without contextual understanding. One of the problems with views in the enterprise today is that they are not integrated. Business Architecture is a useful tool to leverage a multitude of viewpoints involving cross-disciplinary understanding for integrating diverse views, improving strategy decision coherence, and harnessing a holistic management discipline to drive the future of the company.

The business architecture of the future will be positioned as the glue between the customer, the business, and technology as the business boundary has been expanded; an overseer of the ever-evolving business landscape, and the compass of transformative changes. The information provided in the architecture provides guidance/direction on what steps need to be taken by the board and senior executives to reach their strategic goals for the company. It helps the management make effective decisions for reimagining, redefining, reinterpreting, and reinventing the enterprise components and their relationships, and apply interdisciplinary management methodologies and practices to implement business initiatives smoothly and consistently.

Organizations are the “purposeful” system, that means they have a purpose and work to achieve a set of goals. But many traditional companies still function as the mechanic system which has all sorts of dependencies, fricions and dysfunctional parts or practices, and showing the above symptoms unintentionally. Therefore, by leveraging Business Architecture as the glue to connect purpose, strategy, and execution in terms of information, performance, process, and capability, either as it exists or as it is intended to be, the management can drive roadmaps and address any barriers to achieve the target state in a more practical manner and build an organic business that can collaborate seamlessly and solve problems holistically.


Post a Comment