As interest in business architecture grows, multiple approaches are evolving. Architects are blending a wide variety of generic models to develop business architectures that are specific to their environment and organizational context. Organizational scope, business architecture goals, and EA’s viewpoint also drive architects to produce unique business architecture views. In addition, architects are iteratively developing, validating, and refining their business architectures to create products that resonate with their stakeholders’ needs. All of this creativity is resulting in widely divergent perspectives on business architecture. Business architecture approaches and artifacts will diverge even more as architects become more business knowledgeable and generate architectures that align tightly with their company’s business model.
How do you achieve this?
The technology side of enterprise architecture can be, and often is, developed from the bottom up. Architects frequently start with technology standards and work their way toward strategy and portfolio management. Developing business architectures with a top-down approach requires more upfront planning. The first planning steps are all-important. To start up a successful business architecture effort, you should:
Define your scope. Set your business architecture’s scope based on organizational realities. Business receptivity is the primary determinate. Are business leaders willing to engage in business architecture efforts? At what level: executive leadership, business unit management, product and process owners? If business leaders are reticent, can you sell them on the idea? Will IT leaders support business architecture development efforts? Be prepared to start at with a narrow scope and expand as you gain traction and deliver value.
Set your goal. Business architecture efforts can produce a wide range of benefits, but be careful that you don’t get bogged down trying to boil the ocean. Setting a specific goal helps the team focus on outcome and creates a clearer value proposition for business leaders.
Define your deliverables. Identify the business architecture deliverables that reflect your scope and goals. Stay focused on what is important to reach your current goals; don’t create too much detail. Start with high-level views, and validate them with stakeholders. Iteratively develop the next level of detail until everyone is satisfied with the outcome. Don’t assume that every artifact needs the same level of detail. Business models, value chains, and business goals often provide context for other, more-detailed artifacts.