A Business Architecture Community Coming to a Town Near You!

Michael Khodosko, Co-Founder of The Business Architecture Guild’s Calgary Community

December 12, 2018

When IT Architects asked me to write about the Business Architecture Community of Alberta, I saw this as an opportunity to promote the business architecture practice. Business Architecture has been confused by both business leaders and IT professionals.  If I had to define Business Architecture in one sentence, I would explain that “Business Architecture is the knowledge domain of connecting business strategy to information technology execution”. But what does it really mean to organizations interested in maturing their business and optimizing their IT, and how do organizations go about do that? 

Business Architecture as a practice is starting to gain broader adoption across different industries, and more companies committed to competing in the market have already started adoption.  A number of Business Architecture frameworks address the growing Business Architecture need of these companies, including BA Guild (BizzBook), Gartner, and TOGAF, while most of the leading consulting companies have their own methodologies and incorporate Business Architecture into an overall Enterprise Architecture (EA) framework. Most of these frameworks support Business Capability models, and while there is value in creating such models, it is important to keep in mind that it is not the final product but rather a means for enabling Business Architecture.

So what is the value of Business Architecture? In my experience, it’s all about developing a shared understanding of your enterprise and how it operates, by providing a clear link between high-level business strategy and objectives, applications and technology, and projects and initiatives. This may sound a lot like Enterprise Architecture, and it is but focuses on the Business Architecture domain within Enterprise Architecture.  This is where business capability models become instrumental in representing Business Architecture and its artifacts. By mapping business strategy and objectives to capabilities, we ensure that we, as an enterprise, are focusing on the right things at the right time. Furthermore, by mapping applications to capabilities allows us to better understand the current application landscape, and identify duplications or gaps; while mapping projects and initiatives to capabilities ensures we are focusing our work efforts on improving business processes and optimizing our applications.  Linking our work to business capabilities helps us to explain how what we do actually supports business strategy and keeps us focused on the capabilities that we need to be enabling to support business goals and objectives. Personally, I find it quite useful to organize your roadmaps around business capabilities instead of technologies or programs/initiatives – not only because it provides a clear, business focused view of why we need to do all those projects and enhancing communication with business stakeholders, but also because it provides a consistent approach to roadmapping, current state assessment, and future state definition.    

A question facing many organizations is: “Do we buy a Business Capability model to represent our business, or do we develop one ourselves and to what level of detail?” I think the answer really depends on the objectives of the Business Architecture practice. I also believe that purchasing or leveraging a high-level industry reference model has value and can save us a lot of time and effort. There is a lot of value in developing lower level capabilities, especially in strategic and business differentiating areas. This allows us as IT not only to gain a better understanding of the business, but also facilitate building strong relationships with our customers.

Since Business Architecture is still evolving as a practice, I’m a strong proponent of establishing a community of like-minded business and IT professionals in the same field. This may explain why I joined Business Architecture Guild some time ago. It has been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot by participating in Government Business Reference Architecture development initiatives in the past. Working alongside Business Architecture peers from around the world has helped me to better understand and appreciate the challenges that Business Architects face every day. With the growing number of Business Architects in Alberta, the time has come for The Business Architecture Guild’s Calgary Community, with our first community meeting being scheduled for January 23, 2019. You can visit the Business Architecture Guild web site (https://www.businessarchitectureguild.org/) for more information, and reach me directly as per my contact information below.

Mr. Michael Khodosko is the Co-Founder of The Business Architecture Guild’s Calgary Community.  Michael is also a senior architecture consultant specializing in Enterprise and Business Architecture in both the public and private sectors, and is affiliated with IT Architects in Calgary, Alberta. Michael has consulted internationally, and holds an MBA and Masters in Computer Science.

IT Architects (www.itarchitects.ca) is an information consulting firm specializing in business process optimization, system evolution planning, and the deployment of leading-edge technologies.  If you require further information, Michael can be reached at info@itarchitects.ca or 403-708-8281.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.