Fortunately, enterprise architecture (“EA”) is not always only about enterprise and IT documentation anymore. Enterprise architects are trying more and more to be involved with the digital transformation of their organization. Yet, their digital transformation endeavors are still too often planned and deployed without involving the business side of their organization. Still today, business architecture, one of the four foundational domains of EA, is too often neglected and even dismissed altogether in budget constraints. Seldomly do EA endeavors start with business architecture as they should. To succeed, an organization and its chief information officer (“CIO”) need to focus more resources on building and communicating business architecture change roadmaps that will involve not just enterprise architects, but also business executives, business architects, and obviously, the CIO and its program or IT portfolio managers.
Combining Business Architecture with Enterprise Architecture to Increase the CIO’s Relevancy
The fact that too many EA practices were used in the past only to document how their organization operates has most probably contributed to isolating many CIOs from the rest of their organization often making them less relevant. Many CIOs in the past have routinely been bypassed by business executives when making technology investments. Too often CIOs fight this trend by transforming their department using enterprise architects, focusing on what they know best: technology/infrastructure, information/data, application/system, integration, and leaving too many times hardly any resources for business architecture. To succeed, CIOs need to get much more involved in building a solid and profit-oriented business architecture practice focusing on solving business strategic priorities by having its EAs involved in the organization’s business transformation governance committee reporting ideally to its Chief Operating Officer.
How Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture Fit Together
Most EA approaches do agree on the four foundational domains, which traditionally include:
- Business architecture,
- Information/data architecture,
- Application/system architecture, and
- Technology/infrastructure architecture.
This order may differ, but the items are usually not changed. Application (or System) Architecture is usually very well documented. Information/Data and Technology/Infrastructure Architecture are usually adequately addressed in many organizations. As for the business architecture domain, it is too often weak and limited to level 1 business capabilities or outdated business processes. This needs to change drastically. Enterprise architecture should always start their endeavors with business architecture and include a significant portion of their resources in it.
Business architecture will usually include core subdomains, like business capabilities, value streams (and or customer journeys), information, and organization mapping. It will also include key internal and external stakeholders, products and services, assets (including information technology assets), and initiatives (with roadmaps and supported my projects). Finally, in planning the details of project delivery, other business architecture sub-domains will need to be addressed, like defining business requirements, business processes, and business rules and policies.
- Aligning business architecture with enterprise architecture offers the following advantages:
- Provides solid, business-centric attention within the discipline of EA,
- Incorporates all facets of strategic analysis and planning into solution deployment,
- Provides a comprehensive business and information technology perspective to issue analysis and cost/benefit analysis, and
- Aligns all planning disciplines across the business and technology teams to optimize value to both customers and the organization.
To provide more value to its organization, enterprise architects need to stop working in a silo and need to focus a lot more on its business architecture foundational domain. To succeed, an organization and its CIO need to focus more resources on building and communicating business architecture change roadmaps that will involve not just enterprise architects, but also business executives, business architects, and obviously the CIO.
Authored by Daniel Lambert of Benchmark Consulting, an EA Principals Partner