Gartner EA: Business Architecture Primer

Presenter: Betsy Burton

The presentation is starting out with a future vision statement. They believe that “by 2011, the majority of automated business processes at Global 1000 organizations will have evolved our thinking about processes with a shift from linear to nonlinear. Processes will have evolved to include a combination of formal workflow, information analysis, social networks, collaboration and ‘person-centric’ processes.”

She states that the goal of business architecture is to create the foundational artifacts for people to define the organization and enable change in the organization toward a future state. The interesting term in this statement for me is “organization.” Having roots in IT, we often want to talk about technology, and the application of technology, but when we bleed into organizational discussions, many architects think that it’s the job of management. Guess what? Organization can be an impediment or an enabler for being successful with technology so it is something that we need to think about. If it’s management’s responsibility, then invite them to the table and include them in the discussions so your efforts can be successful. As she just stated, “70% of what EA does is family counseling.” Don’t ignore the people!

She’s now moved on to the dimensions of business architecture. She includes people, financials, organization, and process. All of these are layered across the business functions of the organization. If we have these dimensions, we then need to develop requirements of business processes, the principles that guide people’s use of business processes, and the models of what the processes should look like in the current and end state. She now has a slide, and she’s showing an example of an anchor model and it’s importance to Enterprise Architecture. I’m really glad she called this out, because it aligns directly with my horizontal/vertical thinking I’ve mentioned before. I called this out back in the December EA Summit, and it’s nice to see that their thinking has continued to evolve. The anchor model is a representation of the business capabilities of the organization, and as the name suggests, it’s an anchor for other efforts like SOA and BPM.

There’s a ton of good information being presented here at a very fast pace, so I’m not going to keep trying to quote things. They’ve given a great walkthrough from the anchor model into some swim lane diagrams of processes, and have stated that this example is available online. If you’re a Gartner subscriber, and interested in this, I recommended looking for the “Bank XYZ” example artifacts that they have. As someone hoping to look more into business architecture in the future, I think this material is going to be very useful.

Her final recommendations in the standard Gartner powerpoint template are:

  • Don’t do the business architecture in a vacuum.
  • Focus on interdependent business and IT viewpoints, aligned in the solution architecture.
  • Use a multidisciplinary team approach.
  • Business architecture is much more than process optimization.
  • Involve business leaders as much as you can.
  • Start at the conceptual level, and work your way down, maintaining traceability as you go.
  • Demonstrate actual value through improvement (or business operational improvement) and reuse.
  • 3 Responses to “Gartner EA: Business Architecture Primer”

    • peter foley:

      Excuse my ignorance but what is an anchor model?

      Your Gartner blogs have been very thought provoking so far. Thanks

    • Thanks for your comments Peter. While it would be great if I could post the screen shot used by Betsy, I can’t, so I’ll do my best to describe it. Essentially, it begins with the interface points into the company, typically looking at it from a value chain perspective, and drills through the major functions of the business, with support systems being at the bottom. It’s independent of the org chart, process models, and other diagrams. Interestingly, I asked the question in the talk about what it means if the anchor model is distinctly different from the org chart. Betsy’s answer was that it is neither good nor bad, it depends on how you deal with the areas where it differs.

    • peter foley:

      Thanks I think we call that a business process framework (tho ours doesn’t have the interface points). That might be an interesting overlay!

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