Firms today are challenged with understanding the impact of technology, business model, and customer disruption.
An effective business architecture (BA) discipline provides a platform to develop transformation plans that meet the needs of firms.
Global research firm Forrester's Business Architecture Playbook provides enterprise architects with a robust and integrated framework and methodology that gives organizations, regardless of industry, a sound basis for managing business change.
According to Forrester's Business Architecture Playbook, strategic change initiatives proliferate within organizations today.
For example, change projects to deliver better customer experiences work at odds with the efficiency aspirations of business operations. Without coordination, the enterprise struggles to resolve conflicting objectives and achieve its business goals — challenges that are all too familiar to business architects.
Forrester defines Busniess Architecture, or BA, as: An organized and repeatable approach to describing and analyzing an organization's business and operating models to support a wide variety of organizational change purposes, from cost reduction and restructuring to process change and transformation.
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According to Forrester, a BA program adds value to a wide range of challenges for enterprises - including these 7 key value points:
Executing top-level business strategy. The combination of various BA models links operational improvement efforts to strategic objectives, enabling direction setting and communication at all levels, and ensures that work supports defined organizational goals.
Developing responses to both internal and external drivers. A broad set of methods, such as capability and value stream modeling, combined with business services provides stable models to coordinate change across the organization, engages all relevant stakeholders, and enables a consistent approach to problem-solving.
Optimizing enterprise performance as a whole— avoiding suboptimization. A consistent framework for decision-making builds precision and confidence in investment decisions. By decoupling process execution from the org chart, the change program can more easily avoid the politics associated with fiefdoms.
Designing and coordinating broad change programs. Taking a capability and service-oriented view, ostensibly competing functional units collaborate to design better customer offerings that tap the expertise of all involved. With an articulated target operating model, the organization can more easily replicate its operation in a new territory. Emphasizing customer outcomes engages employees more easily as active participants and proponents of change.
Clarifying and aligning priorities across dependent parts of an organization. Through a careful analysis of capabilities and service offerings, change teams find the overlaps and redundancies across the organization. They can then resolve collisions between different change initiatives.
Understanding costs and similar metrics. Capability and service models provide a coherent structure for metrics, regardless of the geography or business unit implementation. This enables internal comparisons and external benchmarking.
Optimizing business and technology investment and project portfolios. With a consistent and depoliticized understanding of the business, stakeholders can take a portfolio view of organizational change — focusing attention, investment, and resources where they can make the greatest impact.
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Before an enterprise undertakes a BA initiative, it must have a clear understanding of what it is and how it is defined. An effective BA program provides a layered set of models addressing the plans, decisions, and questions of all key stakeholders. It also helps to prioritize and integrate organizational change initiatives, bringing projects and programs together and ensuring that they support corporate goals and objectives.
Forrester's BA playbook supports business-focused enterprise architecture professionals in developing and using BA methods, skills, and tools through all of the phases and milestones of their journey. For more information on Forrester's BA playbook, and the collection of Forrester business playbooks, click here.