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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

A critique of the BP Trends' Business Process Architecture approach #1

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This BP Trends advisor proposes a method to develop a business process architecture which, to quote, "briefly walks through one approach to developing a comprehensive business process architecture--the approach used by BPTrends Associates (BPTA) in consulting engagements with its clients".

And here is a critique the BP Trends Business Process Architecture approach. To start with, I challenge the concept of business process architecture. Is it really an architecture or rather a taxonomy that results from the effort? Why wouldn't we use one of the existing process frameworks of which we have quite a few? Is this just a backdoor into the business architecture arena?

Since the term architecture is so lightly used today, even in conjunction with the business and enterprise architecture efforts, I won't question it any longer. It looks like everybody is an architect and everything it does is architecture as such. But admitting it is an architecture, can or should a process architecture be used as a standalone method to document, improve and roadmap the enterprise? Here is my view.

In the first place, a business process architecture is not a business architecture. No confusion about that. For one, the "components" of a business architecture are much more than processes. On top, the process architecture, which is on a par with the information architecture, would be part of a grander Business Architecture (BA) which, in turn, is a tier of Enterprise Architecture (EA). 

Once this settled, a standalone business process architecture would have little impact in the enterprise transformation effort. A reason is that the process architecture cannot be acted upon without integration in the big picture of the enterprise, the architecture of the whole that links all architectures together, including information, technology, finance and human resources.

Now, in the BP Trends advisor, fig. 1 represents the value chains of an organisation. I remark only that it is not called an enterprise. Was it because of the desire to avoid stepping into the enterprise and business architecture arena? Perhaps. 

Fig. 2 shows the stakeholders. This maybe standard procedure. In any case, it looks remarkably similar to what I published years ago on the web site and book. On the home page, click on the right side of the picture and roll through the posters to the third of a total of four, "The Models", where you'll find the illustrations of both Stakeholders and Value Chains, at the beginning of a longer and proper design sequence. 

So far, so good. 

to be continued...


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I agree entirely and I think these attempts to call business architecture a product of BPM, Enterprise Architecture or the many other suggestions appear to reflect a level of insecurity over a space that people perceive being replaced and where they traditionally have earned their living. So I excuse it all on that consideration.
In my book ‘Business Architecture Made Easy’ I offer a business architecture methodology that has worked in an industrial setting and was the subject of my five year PhD action research programme into the effectiveness of business architecture.
We are also releasing the entire methodology in a on-line web based workshop program solution and a local database. See www.businessarchitecture.com.au
One very important factor though: it is not attempting to tell anyone how to do their job, such as one would expect from a process study. It is not replacing BPM or Enterprise Architecture.
It is just simply providing that thing that was missing for so long.
It coordinates a full understanding, for everyone, of the importance and necessary performance of every component of the business and its relationships with and dependencies upon all other components in achieving a design that is strategically aligned to the intentions of the business.
This has commonly been referred to as architecture in construction, manufacturing and other industries for many years.

Bernard Morris

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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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