14 years, 5 months ago

Are you a Business Architect or a Business Analyst?

Link: http://sergethorn.blogspot.com/2009/12/are-you-business-architect-or-business_09.html

Enterprise Architecture domains include Business Architecture which is the first architecture domain within TOGAF 9. An Enterprise Architecture program that includes this domain, maps critical business processes to their application, information, and infrastructure components to provide a comprehensive view of the business and IT landscape that enables informed decision-making.

Business Architects are supposed to manage Business Architecture, but who are they, what are their skills? How are they different to a Business Analyst or even a Project Manager?

Business Analysts are on the way to becoming Business Architects. Sometimes called IT Business Analysts, they are not strictly business or IT specialists. They write business cases (with very few technical terms), identify business requirements and often are part of a Development Team.

Based on many job descriptions and my observation below, is a grid of standard skills and responsibilities related to the function of a Business Analyst. In the second column, are the responsibilities also applicable to a Business Architect and in the last column comments on how TOGAF 9 recommend the activities to be addressed.

Expected skills and activitiesBusiness AnalystBusiness ArchitectComments related to TOGAF 9
Is an intermediary between IT and the business users, follows the implementation strategy with respect to getting stakeholder buy-in and support.xxBoth roles require to be positioned between IT and business.
In particular business processes of a line of business.xThe Business Architect considers the organization’s strategy and less focused in a specific line of business.
Acts as catalyst to implement strategic and tactical change for the business.xxThe Business Architect will focus more on strategic changes.
Works with end-user groups to assist with aligning IT to the department’s business goals. Conduct feasibility studies to define the purpose, functions, and overall structure of business processesxxThe Business Architect in TOGAF 9 will use Business Scenario techniques.
May be involved in Business Process Management (BPM).xx
Performs analysis and documents business processes leading to process change and/or system implementation.xxThe Business Architect will model and process the business processes.
Operating as a more-or-less independent group that is focused on delivering BPM servicesxThe Business Architect will be working at a strategic level and will be less focused on the delivery of BPM services.
Does not have an IT background, but had, instead, a background in quality control.xThe Business Architect must have a perfect knowledge of the business.
Translates user requirements into software requirements that IT can then use to develop softwarexA Business Architect would not develop and review design specifications for software application. This would be the role of the Application Architect during Phase C.
Analyze and resolve software errors in a timely and accurate fashionxA Business Architect is not in charge of managing incidents linked to applications. IT operations may escalate this to the Development Team, or the vendor. Once a first level of diagnostic done, it will be transferred to one of the architects depending on the domain (technology, application).
Helps to develop and maintain software to support the business processes. Assist in developing system/application architecture.xThe Business Architect does not contribute to software development. This is done by the Solution Architect.
Leads and validates enterprise system designs across multiple business applications.xThe Business Architect does not lead Application Architecture. This will be done by the Application Architect and potentially the Solution Architect.
Creates and executes test plans to ensure that the functional and business requirements are met by the proposed solutionxThe Business Architect does not contribute to test plans. This is done probably by the Solution Architect.
Documents and defines processes, eliminating activities that don’t add value and straightening out the flow of the activities.xxIn the TOGAF 9 Phase B we would do this by documenting the baseline and target architecture and do a gap analysis, identifying the various business architecture building blocks to be eliminated.
Determining how business policies are implemented in business rules.xxBusiness rules have to be identified and implemented when business processes documented in both baseline and target architecture. Can be done at both strategic and tactical level.
Analyses customer needs and the processes customers go through to interact with an organization are key skills that any business process practitioner needs to be effective.xxBusiness scenarios would be used to identify business requirements.
Creates, manages and maintains an optimum business architecture that includes informational, organizational, process, performance and systems architecture.xThe Business Analyst focus more on projects delivery. The Business Architect is mostly focused on the delivery of the Business Architecture.
Defines, socializes and implements Business Architecture. Reviews roadmap projects for impact and compliance.xBusiness Architecture roadmaps will be delivered from the gap analysis.
Identifies and facilitates cross divisional continuous business improvement initiatives.xThe Business Architect works at a strategic level and focus mostly on Strategic Architecture.
Member of the Architecture Board, composed of representative process owners who approve any cross organizational business process changes.xBusiness Architects should be part of the Architecture Board.
Identifies and maintains an up to date picture of opportunities and risks.xxRisks have to be identified during both the Architecture vision phase and the development of the solution.
Experienced in business/process architecture including broad skills in the area of strategy mapping, business analysis skills, conceptual data and process modeling/design, EA frameworks.xThe Business Architect must have these skills. The Business Analyst may focus on process modeling only.
Strong work experience in Project and Change management.xxBoth roles require these skills.
Proven track record for working effectively with technical and business functions.xThe Business Architect must work with other domain’s architects.

My observations are:

Business Analysts are much closer to IT. They often are assigned to a specific Line of Business, which is close to the Development Team, and are implicated in software development. They may be part of the Development Team or the Project Management Office. The Business Architect reports to managers or senior managers who may be business or IT but are independent of any project. They have a global view on most business and will be responsible for modeling the business as a whole, then working top down to “architect” encompassing end to end business processes. Their role is more horizontal and is considered a neutral voice and because of that will make more critical decisions than a Business Analyst.

Business Analysts document requirements as defined by users during workshops. A Business Architect documents and may contribute to define a business strategy using requirements provided by the users if that strategy is not finalized. The Business Architect must have the ability to think in both a strategic and tactical manner whereas a Business Analyst is normally tactical.

The Business Analyst operates within the confines of a predetermined application and technology architecture. A Business Architect is a part of the decision making process to define the IT architecture (Data, Application and Technology). He will have a strong influence directing information technology to meet business needs, and assist in identifying business inefficiencies and opportunities.

Business Architect must be cognizant of enterprise strategies whereas a Business Analyst is normally concerned with specific projects independent of enterprise strategy.