11 years ago

Five Practices of Successful Business Architects

Link: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheBusinessArchitect/~3/0YnDyVl6ojg/

Most of today’s business architecture initiatives are struggling to gain a sound footing in their organization. Part of the challenge is the immaturity of the business architecture profession and a lack of exposure in the business literature. However, architects are often part of the problem too, trying to implement the theory too explicitly. At Accelare, we work with a number of highly successful business architects that have proven their value. Here are five practices we typically see in this group of successful business architects:

Create a business architecture practice, not a blueprint. By defining business architecture as a blueprint or any other specific deliverable, architects unwittingly narrow their role. When you see business architecture as a set of artifacts, your role becomes creating that artifact. Architects create blueprints, I am an architect, therefore; my role is to create blueprints. Of more concern, it does not connect the business architecture function to its stakeholders’ needs and concerns. Successful business architects understand that blueprints and other artifacts are just a means to an end.

Are deliverable agnostic. Too often, architects focus more on creating an elegant architecture than creating value. My definition of great business architecture (from a deliverable point of view) is that it resonates with the business leadership. The shape, form, coherence, and completeness are significantly less important. If business leaders understand it, see value in it, and use it, it is good. If they don’t, it’s bad. Not committing business architecture to a specific deliverable creates a flexible approach for business architects to align with executive thinking and communication style. It also sets the stage for growth into new roles with different deliverable sets.

Provide solutions, not models. Business executives are action oriented. They think in terms of opportunities, problems, decisions, and solutions. “A new competitor has entered the market (problem). We need a new strategy to be relevant (solution).” They do not have a lot of patience for descriptive models unless the models tie directly to solving a problem or creating a new opportunity. Effective business architects do not get caught up in analysis/paralysis. They limit their analysis to finding new insights and quickly move on to facilitating decision making and implementation design. 

Think effectiveness first, efficiency second. New business architecture teams often look for operational inefficiencies to quantitatively demonstrate their value. This is particularly true of business architects from IT or other operationally focused organizations. Unfortunately, this creates more focus on “how things are done” than “what we need to do” and sets a precedent that is hard to break. Perceptive business architects focus first on strategic effectiveness issues, even if they play a small role initially. This puts them in a position where they can build credibility and quickly move on to bigger, more interesting opportunities.

Think globally, but act locally. While architects envision creating a comprehensive enterprise viewpoint, the great majority of business architecture work is contained within a single line of business, business unit, or department. Executives heavily incent mangers to maximize their organizations’ value giving business unit managers little motivation to support optimizing the whole at their own expense. Successful business architects accept this reality and are comfortable working locally with sensitivity to the larger enterprise context.   

The bottom line:_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Successful business architects understand the theory behind business architecture but search out pragmatic application approaches that resonate with business leaders. They design action oriented, decision based artifacts that help illuminate issues and opportunities. Interestingly, this group is dedicated to growing influence in strategic decision-making and has a plan to get there. 

Tagged: Best Practices, Business Architecture, Organization