What is Business Architecture?

Business Architecture, in a nutshell, is an approach to describe the structure and behaviour of a business that results in a clearly defined map to get from where the business is to where it wants to be. One of the key goals of business architecture is to depict an integrated picture of the business that shows the inter-dependancies between all aspects of the structure and resources of a business and the linkage to its strategic outcomes. This holistic picture enables quick identification of areas for improvement or transformation that will give the most benefit. It also enables analysis of the impact on other areas of the business when making those changes.

Using  the Business Architecture approach enables you to create a set of integrated models that answer the key Who, What and Why questions about the business:

  • Who are the stakeholders and customers and what are their needs and expectations?
  • What is the strategic direction and target outcomes (measurable goals) of the business in response to those needs?
  • What business capabilities are needed to accomplish those outcomes?
  • What legislation, standards and policy guide and/or constrain the business?
  • What information is needed to set strategic direction, measure outcome achievement and operate the business?
  • What other resources are needed to implement the necessary business capabilities in alignment with the strategic direction.

In addition, Business Architecture includes the definition of the business implementation:

  • How are human resources organized and what skills are needed?
  • How do people and/or mechanized or computerized resources interact to perform the work (who does what and when)?

For those of you familiar with the Zachman Framework for enterprise architecture, business architecture is comprised of a set of models that represent the business point of view across many of  the framework’s columns and rows .

Ultimately a good business architecture provides a strategic context for defining solid business and technology solutions to successfully execute business strategy.

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