Today marks the end of a long dry spell.  As of today, I’m back in print with an article in the Architecture Journal called “Towards an Enterprise Business Motivation Model.”


Of interest to Business Architects, Strategists, Business Planners, and Management Consultants, the Enterprise Business Motivation Model (EBMM) is the first published model to consider the needs of the multi-faceted modern business, one where the needs of many divisions, and many business models, have to be considered.   

Finally, a model where the competing strategies of many business units can be captured, displayed, compared, prioritized, and placed on enterprise-wide roadmaps. 

I made some controversial decisions in putting this one together.  I don’t expect that everyone will agree with the choices I made. 

Update from the author

Since publishing the article on MSDN, I have continued to maintain the actual metamodel for the EBMM on it’s own website (  If you would like to know more about the EBMM, please visit that site to discover the core elements of the model, and the methods that I used to create it.  You can download a PDF of the model or a model file from Sparx Enterprise Architect that will allow you to navigate it easily.  Also on the EBMM site is a complete html sub-site created by the Sparx tool allowing you to navigate through the model, visit connections, and examine the definitions for each of the terms.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

6 thoughts on “Towards an Enterprise Business Motivation Model”
  1. Hello Gary,


    The OMG Business Motivation Model is the same as the Business Motivation Model (BMM) developed by the Business Rules Group (BRG).  The BRG submitted their BMM to the OMG some years ago, and the OMG blessed it as "version 1" about a year and a quarter ago.  

    All effort to improve it appears to have moved to the OMG.  I believe that they are releasing version 1.1, if they have not done so already.

    My article, referenced here, makes EXTENSIVE use of the OMG/BRG Business Motivation Model.

    — Nick

  2. Nick, this is great stuff. I read through the details in the article and on your site and I have a question. Regarding Business Unit Capability, you state "Business Unit Capability…is described only in the context of a business unit." Does this imply that the model requires duplication of capabilities that more than one Business Unit is required to perform? I am thinking of things like manufacture product or sell product, that multiple Business Units must perform. Thanks.

  3. Inside Microsoft, we use a reference model of capabilities that are MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Comprehensive, and Exhaustive).  The model is a large taxonomy of business capabilities arranged for simple navigation.

    When we identify the business unit capabilities for a particular business unit, we use this taxonomy.  That way, we can take a different view and look at any one capability (or hierarchy of capabilities, like manufacture product) and review comparative information about how each of the different business units fare.

    For example, let’s say that "respond to customer service issue" is a capability that many business units need to perform.  In our taxonomy, that particular capability would appear once (and only once).  Let’s say that it has the formal name " Respond to Customer Service Request".  Our business architects will use this formal name when working with the business.  

    Let’s say that the SpyGlass business does an excellent job, but the process is manual.  We would say that "value" is high, "performance" is high, but "maturity" is low (because of the manual process).  Now let’s say that the SpeakerComponent business takes longer to respond, handles 1000x as many requests, and uses automated software.  

    In that case, "value" is high, "performance" is moderate, and "maturity" is high.  

    By using the same taxonomy of capabilities, we can see these two different capability evaluations and compare them.  Perhaps we could use the same software for the SpyGlass business and invest in improving the performance of the process all around.  

    The use of a standard taxonomy is a valuable method that leverages the notion of business capability as modeled in the EBMM.  There are other opportunities to use shared taxonomies as well, such as taxonomies of business services, IT managed services, business processes, business rules, strategies, etc.  

    Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has a service line that provides services for planning IT (called ITAP).  They use a standardized approach called MSBA (it used to be called "Motion") that leverages a standard taxonomy of business capabilities.  If you are interested in taking up a capability modeling exercise, I recommend contacting your local MCS office.  I know these guys personally.  They are senior talent.  Truly brilliant men and women.

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