Business Architecture Framework for Digital Transformation

In order to create effective business architecture for complex digital transformation programs, we must follow an established yet innovative framework. A framework is a basic structure underlying a business and technology system. Our framework can start with understanding the organisational structure of the business. This framework can include multiple considerations and business viewpoints. Business organisations are made up of stakeholders with different roles focusing on common goals.

This point takes us to the second key component in the business architecture framework: stakeholder awareness. There may be many people with varying roles and responsibilities undertaken by the business, technical, operational, and partnering stakeholders in the digital transformation programs. It is one of our critical responsibilities to analyse our business stakeholders in a careful and methodical way. As business architects, we must precisely analyse our business stakeholders and document their roles, responsibilities, concerns, expectations, requirements, and aspirations.

Business organisations can have multiple capabilities. We can categorise these capabilities broadly under services and products offered to customers for generating revenue and growing business. Related to revenue and growth, we also need to understand the incurred costs and gained profits from these business capabilities. Our understanding of business capabilities can help us establish a fundamental business architecture framework supporting the digital transformation goals. We all know that every business must generate revenue, control costs, grow strategically, and cannot survive without profit.

Apart from business capabilities, we also need to carefully consider business value streams. Business value streams can relate to both internal and external stakeholders. External stakeholders are usually the customers of the organisation. In the simplest terms, business value streams refer to the value gained from the customers based on products and services that the business organisations provide. Business value streams are also known as business value propositions. We must analyse the value streams and map them to the future state of our business architecture framework by considering our organisation’s business capabilities, vision, strategy, and tactics.

This critical focus brings us to the next significant component of the business architecture framework, which we call business vision, strategy, and tactics. These three critical business terms are interrelated. Every business initiative starts with a vision that sets the future state. Understanding business vision helps us to set business strategies. Business strategy is supported by business tactics which are small steppingstones to the strategy. These relationships amongst the vision, strategy, and tactics must be crystal clear in our business architecture framework.

The next core factor in our business architecture framework is business information. Every business organisation generates and own various information types and systems at the organisational level. Business information can include facts and can be generated from data of various systems in the organisation. In many business organisations, information not only establishes the communication and operating processes but can also be critical assets making the products and services for the customers. Therefore, business information can be considered an important capability and fundamental business value proposition for our organisation.

Our business architecture framework must consider projects and initiatives of the organisation. The main goal of these projects and initiatives is to enable business products and services for our customers. It is important to note that projects and initiatives are particularly structured, and they can be seen as practical approaches for creating our business value. Projects and initiatives manifest as products and services of the organisation. To reiterate, products and services are the major business capabilities.

Other important factors that we must consider are business events and decisions created by projects and initiatives. A business project life-cycle can consist of many business and operational events and require various business decisions related to marketing, sales, financial, political, and commercial aspects. As business architects, we need to understand these important aspects.

Our business architecture framework must also factor in governance requirements including policies, rules, and regulations. These are fundamental business management factors to govern internal and external aspect of our business and financial processes. Governance relates to all aspects of a business organisation. For example, effective stakeholder management requires flexible and functional governance model.

And last but not the least, from governance and administration perspectives, our business architecture framework must consider considerable amounts of metrics and measures to complete the full picture.

To summarise and reinforce these critical points, our business architecture framework must include organisational structure, stakeholders, business capabilities, value streams, information, vision, strategy, tactics, projects, initiatives, events, decisions, products, services, policies, rules, regulations, metrics and measures. I redefined and detailed the new roles and responsibilities of business architects within digital transformation programs in my latest book titled “Agile Business Architecture for Digital Transformation

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