written by Daniel Lambert

Fortunately, Enterprise Architecture (“EA”) is not always only about enterprise and IT documentation anymore. EA is trying more and more to be involved with the digital transformation of their organization. Yet, their digital transformation initiatives are still too often planned and deployed without involving the business side of their organization. Business Architecture, one of the four foundational domains of EA, is too often neglected and even dismissed all together in budget constraints. Rarely do EA initiatives start with Business Architecture as it should. To succeed, an organization and its CIO(s) need to focus more resources in building and communicating Business Architecture change maps that will involve not just enterprise architects, but also business executives, business architects and obviously, the CIO(s). The Object Management Group (“OMG”) and the Business Architecture Guild® are currently working hard to establish a formal metamodel to enable BIZBOK® based tool automation. As for the Open Group, it has worked recently with the Business Architecture Guild® to deliver its own TOGAF® Capability and Value Stream Guides. The fact that the Open Group, the OMG and the Business Architecture Guild® among others are working more and more together is positively impacting the reconciliation of both the Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture practices allowing enterprise architects and business architects to work in better harmony to the advantage of their organizations.

Searching for the Business Value of Enterprise Architecture

A fairly recent Jason Bloomberg[1] article[2] in Forbes pointed out that “enterprise architects have used various frameworks and other tools to document how their organization operates, often with meticulous detail. But to what end? The cost savings and responsiveness benefits that EA has purported to deliver have been few and far between. Stories of stalled or misdirected EA initiatives vastly outnumber bona fide examples of EA efforts leading to measurable business value. (…) Unfortunately, EA is often synonymous with the practice of documenting one person’s viewpoint of their company’s IT. (…) In fact, the notion that the practice of EA has become all about documentation rather than effecting business change is a common theme across many boardrooms and IT shops. EA generally centers on the use of a framework like The Open Group Architecture Framework[3](“TOGAF®”), the Zachman Framework™. (…) Yet while the use of such frameworks can successfully lead to business value, frameworks like TOGAF® and Zachman “tend to become self-referential,” according to Angelo Andreetto[4], where EAs spend all their effort working with the framework instead of solving real problems.”

The problem with too many EA practices was that an organization is not an ordinary system like an appliance or a building, and can’t be architected or engineered as such. Businesses are living and complex organisms. More and more enterprise architects understand they and their CIO, to which they report to, can only succeed if their organizations are treated as complex systems with a multitude of non-siloed business and IT components that are constantly changing and adapting within their digital transformation.

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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 organisation often making them less relevant, as I have pointed out in a past article entitled “Make Your CIO More Relevant Using Business Architecture”[5]. More CIOs have been routinely 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: technical infrastructure, information/data, application/integration and leaving too many times hardly any resources for Business Architecture. To succeed, CIOs need to focus more resources in communicating and building Business Architecture change maps that will involve not just enterprise architects, but also business executives, business architects and obviously, the CIO.

As indicated by Sharon Evans[6], “If a company really does want to focus on an enterprise perspective in their company’s solutions and technology, then it must start at the top using Business Architecture.”[7] Amitabh Apte[8] shares a similar point of view. “These days often the funding for EA is limited and high priority projects and programs are often competing for best resources and funding. In these situations, often the Business Architecture resources are sacrificed to make way for technical architects (e.g. infra, integration). In such scenarios, an organisation runs the risk of doing EA without Business Architecture. This probably results in this organisation doing IT Architecture rather than EA. It will probably still deliver value by bringing structure, discipline, visibility and planning to the critical IT project delivery. However, these efforts risk falling short of becoming something much more meaningful and sustainable investment for business and not just IT.”[9]

How Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture Fit Together

There has regrettably been some contention between business architects and enterprise architects in the past and still today. In an excellent article entitled “Business Architects vs Enterprise Architects: The Battle Must End”[10], John Maynen[11] explains how both disciplines can be reconciled by asserting that “simplistically, Business Architecture is about what a business does while Enterprise Architecture is about what a business knows.”

The Object Management Group[12] (“OMG”) and the Business Architecture Guild®’s collaborative Metamodel Team, as explained by William Ulrich[13], are currently working hard to establish a formal metamodel to enable BIZBOK® based tool automation. As for the Open Group[14], it has worked recently in collaboration with the Business Architecture Guild® to deliver its own TOGAF® Capability and TOGAF® Value Stream Guides[15]. The Guild is also currently providing input to the Open Group’s Open Business Architecture standard. Very recently, the Business Architecture Guild®, the Center for Advancement of Enterprise Architecture Profession (CAEAP), the Business Architecture Society (BAS), the Data Management Association International (DAMA), the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) have also agreed and announced a common new definition of Business Architecture in alignment and cooperation with related Business Architecture disciplines.[16] The fact that the Open Group, the OMG, the Business Architecture Guild® among others are working more and more together is positively impacting the reconciliation of both the Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture practices allowing Enterprise Architects and Business Architects to work in better harmony to the advantage of their organizations.

As described in the BIZBOK Guide®[17], published by the Business Architecture Guild®[18], “Business Architecture represents a business in the absence of any IT architecture, while EA provides an overarching framework for business and IT architecture. (…) Most EA approaches do agree on the foundational domains, which include:

  • Business Architecture,
  • Data Architecture,
  • Application Architecture, and
  • Technology Architecture.”

The Diagram 1 above shows how most enterprise architects perceives the four domains of their discipline. The order may differ, but the items are usually not changed. Application Architecture is usually very well documented. Data and Technology Architecture are often adequately addressed. As for the Business Architecture domain, it is too often weak and limited to a few business capabilities.

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While there is general agreement that Business Architecture should help frame business requirements for IT, this represents a limited view of the role of Business Architecture within an organization according to BIZBOK®. Key differences today between BIZBOK® and TOGAF® are as followed:

  • BIZBOK® has the concepts of Value Streams and Value Stages, which are mapped to their enabling business capabilities, allowing to easily understand which capabilities provide the most value and which ones do not; while TOGAF® decomposes capabilities into detailed processes instead,
  • BIZBOK® maps information using Information Concepts linking it to various other maps, as where TOGAF® relates them to Data Entities that are part of Business Data models and business services/information diagrams,
  • TOGAF® does not map Initiatives, Products & Services, Strategies and Policies. BIZBOK® does.
  • TOGAF® relates to business transformation preparation in general, and does not go as deep as BIZBOK® with shifts to a customer-centric approach, merger and acquisition analyses, new product/service rollout, globalization, business capability outsourcing, supply chain streamlining, divestiture, regulatory compliance, etc.

Where usually things start to become contentious between enterprise architects and business architects is when the discussion about the organizational structure of Business Architecture and Enterprise Architecture is addressed. Enterprise architects usually perceive that business architects should be integrated among their team under the CIO in an org chart. The Business Architecture Guild and many business architects thinks that, on the contrary, the Director of Business Architecture and his business architects should ideally be involved with the business strategy and transformation efforts and report to the COO, as shown in Diagram 2 above, to insure top level business sponsorship and that the business stakeholders’ participation in the Business Architecture modeling of their organization takes place with more enthusiasm. Each main business unit should include one Business Architect, that aligns its business unit strategies to the organization and in synchronization with the appropriate elements within EA’s Data Architecture, Application Architecture, and Technology Architecture.

As indicated in the BIZBOK® guide, “aligning Business Architecture with Enterprise Architecture offers the following benefits:

  • Brings a robust, business centric focus to the discipline of EA,
  • Integrates all aspects of strategic analysis and planning through solution deployment,
  • Provides a complete business and IT perspective to issue analysis and cost/benefit analysis, and
  • Aligns multiple disciplines cross the business and technology teams to maximize investments while optimizing value.”[19]

Conclusion

To provide more value to its organization, enterprise architects must focus a lot more on its Business Architecture foundational domain. To succeed, an organization and its CIOs need to focus more resources in building and communicating Business Architecture change maps that will involve not just enterprise architects, but also business executives, business architects and obviously, the CIOs. The fact that the Open Group, the OMG and the Business Architecture Guild® are working more and more together is positively impacting the reconciliation of both the Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture practices allowing enterprise architects and business architects to work in better harmony to the advantage of their organizations.

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[1] Jason Bloomberg’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonbloomberg/.
[2] The article is entitled “Is Enterprise Architecture Completely Broken? and written by Jason Bloomberg in Forbes on July 11, 2014.
[3] For additional information about The Open Group Architecture Framework (“TOGAF”) visit this webpage: http://www.opengroup.org/subjectareas/enterprise/togaf.
[4] Angelo Andreeto’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angeloandreetto/.
[5] The article is entitled “Make Your CIO More Relevant Using Business Architecture” and written by Daniel Lambert on IRIS Business Architect’s Community Website on March 10, 2016.
[6] Sharon Evans’ LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharoncevans/.
[7] The article is entitled “Why Enterprise Architecture Must Start with Business Architecture” and written by Sharon Evans on LinkedIn Pulse on July 6, 2015.
[8] Amitabh Apte’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amitapte/.
[9] The article is entitled “Don’t Sacrifice Your Business Architecture” and is written by Amitabh Apte on LinkedIn Pulse on January 31, 2016.
[10] The article is entitled “Business Architects vs Enterprise Architects: The Battle Must End” and written by John Maynen on LinkedIn Pulse on September 22, 2016.
[11] John Maynen’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmaynen/.
[12] For additional information about the Object Management Group (“OMG”), visit this webpage: http://www.omg.org/.
[13] Read this post entitled “Business Architecture & Industry Standards Alignment” written by William Ulrich on October 7, 2016. To view the post, you must be a Business Architecture Guild member.
[14] For additional information about the Open Group, visit this webpage: http://www.opengroup.org/.
[15] The TOGAF Capability and TOGAF Value Stream video Guides are available on these webpages: https://youtu.be/epQ09u9hUCw and https://youtu.be/W3yHCffXDM0.
[16] Read more in this press release entitled “Collaborative Industry Consortium Announces New Definition of Business Architecture” published on May 20, 2017.
[17] The quotes are extracted from the BIZBOK Guide® version 5.5 in section 6.2 on p. 423 and 424.
[18] For additional information about the Business Architecture Guild®, visit this webpage: http://www.businessarchitectureguild.org/.
[19] The quote is extracted from the BIZBOK Guide® version 5.5 in section 6.2 on p. 428 et 429.