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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

About Business Architecture, BizBOK and business architects

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Nick Malik, in this post discusses the business architecture definition of the BizBOK 2.1. For completion, the BizBOK 2.1 definition cited is:

"A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands".

First of all, EA is conspicuously absent from the BizBOK BA definition.  Yet, business architecture should be a part of EA, at least because EA includes the technology architecture, without which the business blueprint is abstract and cannot be acted upon for either "tactical or strategic" causes. 

Still, even if they can be developed independently to a certain degree, the BA and the overall EA should be built on a common EA framework that would natively align the architectures since, taken in isolation, they would be of narrow use.  

Nick says in "conclusion: the BizBOK 2.1 defines the concept of "business architecture" in terms of an artifact that business architects do not create!"

It's hard to say what business architects do, at least because they have not even been around till recently.  And so far, I have not seen any methodology for the development of business architecture except for loose lists of existing independent approaches. To the extent of my knowledge, for now, BizBOK just lists a raft of disjoint and overlapping activities (such as value chains, value streams, capabilities, process frameworks...), coming from various domains of activity, without providing any integration paradigm. 

Nick continues with 
"Clearly the concerns of the business stakeholders include "aligning the strategic and tactical demands" of the enterprise. I would not LIMIT the scope of enterprise architecture to this one concern. This is the other problem I have with the BizBOK definition... it is limited to alignment only. Perhaps that was intentional. I have not asked. But it is clearly limiting."

This, I entirely agree with. I would remove the statement of EA intent from the BizBOK 2.1 definition or I would make it more comprehensive. But what would be left of the definition then?

In the end Nick defines Business Architecture as
"1. A specialization of the Enterprise Architecture business function that collects and manages functional, structural, and motivation-related information for decision support purposes including eliciting and improving the alignment of strategic and tactical demands.
2. One of the four traditional domains of Enterprise Architecture."

I would say though that the relationship between the two is that BA is "a part of" EA rather than a "specialisation" of EA. 
The definition then continues with describing what the EA business function does - such as collecting information... - rather than what the BA is, i.e. a blueprint, changing as such the object of the definition from the BA itself to the BA function that implements it.

In any case, the activities (such as collection of information) mentioned in Nick's definition reminds us of a business analyst job description that "collects" the information for the EA architect to produce the blueprint.
This is surely the case today when the business architect is in fact a mere business analyst with many business analysts jobs newly advertised as business architects, unfortunately. 

Hence I can understand the position that a business analyst (even if badged as architect) cannot and should not produce a business blueprint. 

Moreover the business analysts or the new "business architects" cannot do the job without a proper business (and EA) framework or experience in "architecture" which is not currently part of the business vocabulary.

But as long as EA means still EITA to too many, I can understand why the BA guild would want to evolve separately and eventually supply those business architects that can produce blueprints.

In any case, EA is the integrated blueprint of the enterprise, that includes BA. It does not really matter who produces the business blueprint, as long as they know how to do it and the blueprint contributes to the greater EA. 

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Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

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