Extending the generalized definition above, a Business Architect should be “someone concerned with the art and science of designing and constructing a business.” Note the verb: constructing. A business architect needs to be able to construct a business… from parts.
Reality check: How many people, with the title of business architect, are responsible for constructing a business?
Most present business architects are technologists, concerned primarily with the alignment of IT projects to business strategies. They may be planners or solution owners or process owners… but most work in IT departments of large organizations, often directly with the Enterprise Architecture function.
But if we take the view that a Business Architect is responsible for designing a business, or constructing it from constituent parts, then who should have the title of Business Architect? Should it be an IT person… or should it be a business person?
I do not believe that Business Architecture is a technical function.
In fact, I don’t believe that IT people do a good job, at all, of describing the architecture of a business, much less making design decisions about the structure, roles, responsibilities, and coordinated artifacts that make up Business Architecture.
But if it is a business skill, what do we get by applying the architectural approach? We know what it means to be a business person. What does it mean to be a business architect?
Operating as a business architect requires rigorous engineering skills, an understanding of patterns, and the ability to convey complex ideas through images. He or she must use a rigorous methodology and clear visual language for creating rich diagrams that depict the business from different perspectives. To build out the science, we need to create a comprehensive set of cost, flexibility, durability, and agility methods associated with producing viable designs. Using visual models, business architects can review each other’s efforts, evaluate compliance, test for quality, and to produce detailed design that form the basis of activities.
In effect, if the impact of Business Architecture is to be fully realized, I believe that Business Architecture should become a rigorous and well defined science that is taught to people in Business Schools around the world. Every MBA would be exposed to business architecture, and some graduates would focus on the profession.
I’m interested in seeing the development of an MBA program in Business Architecture.
Does such a thing already exist? If you know, please share…