Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

A critique of the BP Trends' Business Process Architecture approach #3

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 ..continued from previous.
As suspected, the approach ends up with a process map, sliding back into familar territory to BP Trends.
The process map (here is the process architecture method again) consists of Management, Core and Support processes. Yet, what do we call Core processes today? The "core" concept may change in time and it depends much on the enterprise. For example, few Western firms do manufacturing nowadays. Still, it appeared as a core activity in the past. For example, Core for Apple Inc. seems to be the Design while for partner companies the manufacturing of Apple products and parts is.

In fact, with the advent of the Cloud, the Governance function becomes the only core function of the enterprise since all other functions can be outsourced to external firms (core means a key competency of  the enterprise). This forms the basis of the Cloud enterprise described here. In conclusion, I do think that the Core category is not really relevant.

In fig. 7, the approach proposes not to represent the Support processes. That is common sense. In truth, there is no way you can do that in a single page architecture. But that was emphasised before in the notes section of the GODS generic business architecture paper published also with BP Trends.

The concept of designing all stakeholders' flows rather than only the customers' was underlined in the "An Enterprise Architecture Development Framework" book reviewed by BP TrendsThe architecture framework chapter illustrates how an architecture is built incrementally by adding the flow views for each stakeholder.  

The method further exhibits a high level development process which terminates with "aligning enterprise capabilities" rather than in a business process architecture. It is hard to understand from the few steps of the process what that means or how it came to that. The notion of enterprise capability had not been introduced so far. But the term seems to come from the enterprise architecture field which was not mentioned at all. 

The ensuing process redesign effort adopts same terms as enterprise architecture, i.e. "As-Is", To-Be", finishing up with rolling out the redesigned processes, that is implementing them as it seems to be also the case for "Aligning capabilities". How could that be achieved without considering technology, human resources and the information involved, that is the overall enterprise architecture? It is hard to understand how to transform the enterprise based on the business process architecture method alone. There may be the tacit assumption here that enterprise architecture only covers IT though.

This is where I leave it be. To summarise my view, the BPTA method comes late in the architecture arena were most of its ways and approaches have already been published and used for some time. It does not bring anything new but subtly borrows from other methods. It does not claim to cover either business architecture or enterprise architecture but it does and it looks like competing with them to some degree. The lack of mention of business or enterprise architecture though makes everyone ask where this method sits in the grander schema. Is it only meant for the BPM community? 

No comparison is provided with known business process frameworks so that one can understand why the method should be employed.

Not least, it would be better for all for the method to acknowledge the work already done in the field by adding references. There are many things that may look like common sense and well known now but they were not a few years ago when they were proposed. Also, since the method seems to have adopted concepts from other work, even published on the same site, it would be fair to specify the sources.  

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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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