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Richard Skidmore
Richard Skidmore

A view of Business Architecture

Just to pass some time recently, I was reading a dictionary (like you do) and I came across the following definitions of architecture:

  1. The art and science of designing and superintending the erection of buildings and similar structures
  2. A style of building or structure
  3. Buildings or structures collectively
  4. The structure or design of anything

So, I got to thinking about these, particularly the last one, and came to the following conclusion - you would not be a very good architect if you didn't understand how buildings are structured and how builders work. 

So it seems sensible to conclude that you wouldn't be very useful as an architect in the world of:

  • data architecture, if you didn't understand data modelling and databases
  • applications architecture, if you didn't understand software construction and integration
  • infrastructure architecture, if you didn't understand technology and communications

Therefore, it must be a fundamental requirement for a Business Architect to understand business and the jigsaw of elements that need to fit together to make the entire picture. If I want to understand the business architecture, I need to appreciate the business motivations, business models and business capabilities, plus the people and processes that bind all these individual elements together to deliver value to customers and other stakeholders.

While any business architecture needs to be consistent with, and coordinated with, technical architectures, it is important to understand that it is a different type of architecture. It has clear requirements when it is being constructed. And, it requires a unique blend of skills and competencies to develop it. Business architecture is not just an afterthought of the technical and solution architecture world. 

Many business analysts and business managers are becoming involved in business architecture. In developing their knowledge and skills, it is important that the focus is on business understanding if they are to understand the underlying concepts, interconnections and impacts needed for this rapidly expanding discipline to succeed.

In our current world, the pace of change in technology is significant. However, it is also true that with the advent of innovative ways of working, new ways of structuring organisations, streamlined processes and a work force with different motivations and aspirations, we need to consider the architectural considerations and aspirations of the business in addition to those related to the technology. This way, outcomes of real value can be achieved with minimum, or at the very least, controlled, impact to our organisations. It really is the only sustainable way forward. 

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This entry was published on Mar 10, 2013 / Richard Skidmore. Posted in Business Analysis Planning (BABOK KA), Business Process Management (BPM) , Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) , Business Analysis. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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