Saturday, January 9, 2010

Business Architecture – Is it IT’s intrusion into Business?

OMG’s SOA Consortium working group recently published a paper on their perspective of Business Architecture.  The paper is clearly by the IT Practitioners.  The way they define Business Architecture is as follows –
We define business architecture as the formal representation and active management of business design. Expanding this definition, business architecture is a formalized collection of practices, information and tools for business professionals to assess and implement business design and business change.
The paper advocates the active management of business design, with the same focus as that of IT.  Though it sounds good on paper, is it really practical? -  Especially when the fact is Enterprise Architecture is driven by IT. Will the social and power structure present in Today’s organization allow this?

 No doubt that we need a clear understanding and formal representation of business design, however, the comprehensiveness should be limited to suit the need, which is typically an input to IT (and not management of business).  Also, the involvement of business in driving the IT solution is critical, however, the involvement should be periodic, although frequent, and every attempt should be made to keep the overhead on business  as minimum as possible.  Attempting active management of business may be considered as unnecessary intrusion of IT into business and often, it is counter-productive. Instead, a process for periodic review of business models and refresh should be institutionalized.  The EA-IT team should, however, do the active management of IT portfolio and ensure alignment of IT investments with business goals through active governance structure.

Having said this, the paper does provide some useful information and examples of artifacts. It will be good if OMG standardizes the business architecture models and encourage tool vendors to support it. The Enterprise Business Motivation Model (EBMM) will be a great start.


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