enterprise architecture   enterprise architecture  

Mapping the future with Business Architecture:
Agility vs. Innovation

By Teresa Di Cairano

Agility and innovation – what do they really mean? Most will probably agree that information technology is at the very least an accelerator – making it possible to respond faster and faster.  Organizations benefit from this by increasing agility and shortening their reaction to changing environments.  The main benefit of IT transformation initiatives – which rest on a backbone of technology innovation - is often targeted at gaining agility through overcoming legacy costs and constraints.

Business ArchitectureBut does this necessarily bring with it the kind of game-changing business innovation that creates sustained competitive and strategic innovation?  “Business transformation (vs. IT transformation) is an outcome of strategy” says Ian Gilmour, Intervista faculty and Enterprise Architecture Associate Partner at KPMG.  “It is a strategic initiative that coordinates organizational, process and technology to achieve an end state that is more closely aligned with the enterprise’s vision.”1

And by the same token, the Business Architect is really a chameleon that represents strategic, organizational and IT perspectives.  In doing so, Business Architecture can act as a catalyst for deeper change and help to build a blueprint for the enterprise’s future.

One way to think of how IT transformation and innovation differ is with Fred Brooks' notion of essential and accidental complexity.

"Accidental complexity relates to problems that we create on our own and which can be fixed; for example, the details of writing and optimizing code or the delays caused by batch processing.”2 Major IT transformations address these issues and can also result in business process improvement and incremental innovation.

"Essential complexity is caused by the problem to be solved, and nothing can remove it. If users want a program to do 30 different things, then those 30 things are essential and the program must do those 30 different things.”3 Understanding those essential ‘things’ the user wants are really what lead to breakthrough client-centric innovation.

As the accidental complexity of technology is tamed in organizations with IT transformation initiatives – or at the very least hidden from view with cloud computing - the role of understanding and managing essential complexity becomes increasingly important.

Business Architecture provides a methodology for modeling strategy and the essential complexity of the enterprise.  This in turn, provides a map for enterprise change.

The benefits are twofold – a more robust client-centric understanding of needs as well as, a more precise target operating model for specifying IT design. 

And that means Business Architecture will play an increasingly critical role in enabling better and faster innovation outcomes.

Learn more about Business Architecture at one of Intervista Institute’s upcoming sessions – http://intervista-institute.com/ba.php.

1. Intervista Business Architecture Courseware
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Silver_Bullet
3. Ibid

© 2012 Intervista Inc.

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Business Architecture

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Program Overview

1. The innovation imperative
2. The Business Architecture manifesto
3. Real World Business Architecture
4. Identifying a Strategic Roadmap
5. From Strategy to Business Architecture
6. Fundamentals of enterprise models
7. Business services design
8. Understanding the value chain
9. Getting the semantics right
10. Lifecycle analysis
11. Modeling business processes
12. Capturing policy and business rules
13. From over-the-counter to 24/7
14. Patterns in the business environment
15. Managing the transformation portfolio
16. Building the business blueprint

Course leader

John BruderJohn Bruder

John is a member of the Intervista faculty and has over 20 years of experience in the information technology industry.
Learn more about our faculty

Peter DyckPeter Dyck

Peter is a member of the Intervista faculty and has over 25 years of experience in the information technology and management consulting industries.
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