13 years, 5 months ago

Business Architecture without Capabilities?

There’s been a tremendous uptick of chatter about capabilities.  At SenseAgility, we’ve been on the Capability Based track all along, so it’s been fascinating to see how the market has evolved in a relatively short period of time.  When I presented at Open Group Boston in July, I removed several background slides on Capabilities waiting for my speaking time slot.  I usually spend at least 5-6 slides setting the context on this topic before getting to main points of my presentations.  Fortunately, the first two speakers laid that educational groundwork for me, so my presentation became much more concise.

Concurrently, there’s been a tremendous uptick of interest in Business Architecture.  I don’t believe these two developments of increased interest are orthogonal.  If you look back just a year ago when we first published our Vanilla Enterprise Architecture Capability Map, neither one of these terms were common.  Forrester had just came out in support of capabilities as a communication vehicle between business and IT.  Business Architecture had just been tossed around by Gartner, Forrester, and a few independent analysts.  

Given the relative immaturity of this space – we didn’t even know what to call ourselves a mere 18 months ago – confusion is the order of the day.  Business Architecture, as I mentioned in the Open Group Boston presentation, is being defined in various ways to suit what various interests are selling.  Fortunately, those of us in management have developed a good “BS Filter” considering how much of it we have to wade through to make a decision.  Capabilities are also being defined in various ways, but the trouble with these ways is that every single definition is correct.  That is due to the fact, as Doug explained last year, that capabilities can be applied in every level of granularity.  Hence, they’re not the easiest creatures to understand.

So the question that I’d like to toss out is whether effective Business Architecture practice can be conducted without capabilities?  Being so close to the fray, I’m not sure I have the objective context to answer this question myself!