Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Business Architecture

I have been having intense discussions lately on the topic of Business Architecture. I have looked at TOGAF, Zachman and other sources to find out what the experts are saying. I have also been talking abbout this with my colleagues at SOA Consortium to see what they have been doing in this area. It appears that while we all understand IT Architecture fairly well, there is less clarity when it comes to Business Architecture. Is it Process Modeling, Value Chain Analysis or something else that constitutes Business Architecture?

We can all agree that the purpose of any Architecture is to manage change. In order to manage business change effectively, we need to understand how a business is designed. It is this understanding of the design of business that is essential in managing business change. Additionalyy, there must be active management of a business design otherwise business design has very little vaklue. The bottom line is that some form of business architecture exists in every business simply due to the fact that a business is operating, producing goods or services and serving its stakeholders. What is generally missing is the formal representation and management of the business design.

I would propose that Business Architecture therefore is both formal representation of a business' design and associated processes and organizational structure to manage the on going evolution of the business' design. The question is what is the right way to represent a business design. A number of approaches are available including Process Modeling, Business Motivation Modeling, Value Chain Analysis, Six Sigma, Lean etc. Similarily what are the right processes and organizational elements that can yield an effective business architecture. I dont thins there is a single answer to this questions. We will explore this further in future postings.

Ashok Kumar

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