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Business Architecture At 50,000 Feet

        posted by , February 11, 2011

Business architecture sounds like a simple enough term — but ask someone to define it and they usually come up at a loss.

The Definition

Business architecture is a set of tools for aligning a business model with business operations.

business architecture diagram

Relationship to Enterprise Architecture

Business architecture is part of enterprise architecture (EA). The four domains of EA are business, application, data and technical architecture.

Enterprise Architecture

The Five Views of Business Architecture

Business architecture provides a comprehensive blueprint of an organization or business unit. Typically, five different views of the organization are developed.

business architecture

Strategy view
Tactical approaches for achieving business goals and metrics that can be used to track progress.

Capabilities view
Describes enterprise business services including core business, business management, customer-facing and partner relationship functions.

Knowledge view
Organizational vocabulary and relationships between key concepts such as customer, supplier etc...

Process view
Core processes that transcend organizational boundaries. Describes roles, resources and controls involved in each process.

Organizational view
Maps capabilities to roles, groups and business units.

Current vs Target Business Architecture

Business architecture documents both the current (as-is) and the target architecture (based on business goals). It is a common pitfall to spend too much energy documenting the current state. The current state has little value on its own — it is only required in order to identify gaps. Gaps in capabilities such as services, processes, people, business integration and tools and identified and ranked.

Value of Business Architecture

You might be wondering — what is the value of all this?

Business architecture is a foundation used to enhance accountability and improve decision-making. This happens as part of IT governance. The end result:

- better value for IT investment
- improved business operations
- legal compliance

This translates to business benefits such as higher sales, reduced costs, reduced risk, increased customer satisfaction, enhanced brand and reputation and better relationships with partners and suppliers.


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