Business Architecture concepts that help Business and IT to align (Value Streams, Business Capabilities, Business Processes)

Business Architecture has become a broadly used concept not only by Enterprise Architects, but also by all kinds of stakeholders, including business people. In today´s article, we discuss three major concepts that can be used to describe an organization´s business architecture.

How to Model your Business Architecture?

Business Capability Models

Business capability mapping is used as translator between business and IT. Common situations in which there is a use case for business capabilities include (click here for the detailed explanation):

- Provide IT landscape transparency on all underlying enterprise architecture layers (typically applications, data, technologies)

- Prioritize projects based on the importance of their underlying business capabilities

- Optimize demand management processes based on business capabilities

- Optimize application landscapes based on business capabilities

- Use business capabilities to align different IT landscapes in the context of an IT post merger approach

If you want to get started with business capabilities and do not repeat the failures of others, I highly recommend you read through the 12 Must-Dos to get Business Capabilities Right

Business Process Modelling

Nowadays, many companies have detailed business processes modelled on different levels. However, starting to model new business processes can be time-consuming. In order to save time and resources and to ensure industry standards, many organizations start their detailed modelling activities with an industry standard framework, such as the one from APQC.

Business processes are used when the order of something or decision points are important. Typically, this is the case when process models are used to achieve operational excellence.

Value Streams

- The stakeholders initiating or being involved in the value stream

- The phases in which exactly value is generated

- The value proposition derived from the value stream

Value streams are the most high-level concept when it comes to business architecture. They are typically used to gain a broad, common understanding of a business. For instance, during restructuring activities. In a second step, business capabilities would be used to understand what exactly creates the value. In a last step, a business process would be modelled to understand the details. This shows that all three concepts have their place in business architecture, however, they especially differ in the level of detail that they are made for.

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