How Business Architecture Deliver Values in Digital Projects

Today, businesses are now part of an integrated value chain and each unit are required to play an important role in Digital Transformation. Enterprises are investing like never-before to transform their business digitally in order to gain competitive edge and as well to maintain the business continuity. They are also required to ensure how business units are inter-connected and inter-dependent and most importantly, how technologies support them to meet their business strategic needs.

According to Gartner “90% of corporate leaders view digital as a top priority,” and that yet “83% of leaders struggle to make meaningful progress on digital transformation.” Even though Digital Transformation is deemed as inevitable, many enterprises have yet to embark Enterprise Architecture (EA) to help them in achieving business values.

Moving through 2020 and beyond, the rapid changes of emerging technologies have forced EA to evolve from a support function into a very strategic function, that is in charge for designing an intelligent architecture to create new capabilities in the business that supports digitalisation and innovation. Business Architecture must be used at the early planning stages of a digital project first to minimize the time that can be wasted between business stakeholders and EA team while gathering information and to lower the number of agile iterations before the delivery of solutions that meet the business strategies and objectives. It also make sure that EA team from different projects do not deliver conflicting or partly redundant software solutions.

 Approaches to Business Architecture

Enterprise Architecture practices have always been about technology and will continue to be about technology but nonetheless EA still incorporate business architecture and strategy to focus on developing new capabilities and map them into whole landscape of the enterprise. Business architecture that provides a mutual understanding of the organisation and deals with the structure of the enterprise regarding its governance structure, business processes, and business information. Even the tools are rapidly evolving where it can be used as a single source of truth and show the impact analysis in a holistic way ranging from strategy to data.

Business Architecture is an important domain within the broader scope of enterprise architecture. This is also witnessed by the inclusion of business architecture blueprint which provides a common understanding of the organisation processes and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands by creating a direct and clear linkage between executive intent and organisational action such as capability, outcome and course of action in the latest version 3.0 of the ArchiMate language for enterprise architecture modeling. Business Architects are needed to support enterprises with identifying the current state of their business, discussing the future state of their business, and addressing all dimensions of the enterprise challenges. They need to equip with the practical skillsets in creating and refining business architecture model in the context of technology strategy to enable innovation and deliver new business capabilities.

A guide to start off your Business Architecture is the strategic direction provided by the Business Analyst and Business Stakeholders. It is suggested to carry out the following steps:

  1. Conduct various assessments such as Digital EA Competency, Digital EA Readiness, Digital EA Maturityto evaluate various options;
  2. Clarify goals and strategies top-down and horizontally using Business Model Canvas, Customer Journey Mapping and/or the Business IT Architecture Fundamentals linking them at minimum to value streams and capabilities;
  3. Provide value using Value Propositions, customer-driven Value Streams and Value Stages
  4. Prioritize capabilities by examining in detail the enabling capabilities of a value stream;
  5. Assess and measure the problematic capabilities that are enabling a customer-driven value stream;
  6. Identify the gaps of each problematic capability of a customer-driven value stream from its “as is” state to its desired state;
  7. Elaborate expected initiative outcomes for each problematic capability;
  8. Provide feedback on the feasibility of your business model alternatives; and
  9. Only then should a final digital project roadmap be selected.

About Aaron Tan Dani

Aaron Tan Dani, Chief Architect of ATD Solution, President of the Singapore Computer Society EA-Chapter and Founder and Chairman of Iasa Asia Pacific