Just Released: World-Class EA: Business Reference Model

Check out this new whitepaper from the Open Group in the area of Business Architecture. What are your thoughts on the latest edition in their World-Class EA Series? Does it get The Open Group or TOGAF closer and deeper into the business architecture world? Is the material useful? Love to hear your thoughts.

The whitepaper is entitled Business Reference Model part of the .

See the whitepaper description below:

Business architecture is being used to design, plan, execute, and govern change initiatives throughout public and private sector entities. An architectural approach can systematically highlight the most effective state for a given environment, and then define how change can be effected within acceptable benefit, cost, and risk parameters. A key challenge to this approach is the consistent definition of the organization and where it needs to be, and in response this White Paper introduces a comprehensive reference model for business. The Business Reference Model (BRM) can be applied to both private and public sector organizations alike, and gives complex organizations a common way to view themselves in order to plan and execute effective transformational change.

It is envisaged that the introduction of a BRM into a transformation planning exercise will increase collaboration across the business, increase awareness of organizational opportunity and risk, and facilitate more holistic business investment; all of which culminates in an improved and more sustainable working environment leading to a better working world.


Find the whitepaper here: http://bit.ly/1sagaSK


So Many Different Views, So Much Business Architecture Confusion

Mike The Archtiect Blog: Business Architecture There certainly is no shortage of opinions in the industry around business architecture. This spans from what it is the definition of Business Architecture to how one would implement followed by the skills and competencies needed to successfully execute.

It can be overwhelming for anyone that is new to this space. Wrapping your mind around the fact and fiction is lengthy and sometimes down right frustrating. This is mainly due to where the Business Architecture discipline is at. I discuss this further in my post, “Business Architecture Ready For Prime Time”.

The second largest contributor to this is all the different views and opinions coming from the marketplace at large. From vendors to consultancies to analysts and even people like myself that blog about such topics and all of these positions are coming at the problem from a different angle.

Can it be more difficult?  Hopefully I can help.

How Do I Better Understand Business Architecture

Before we get into the weeds it important to understand a few things.

There isn’t necessarily a who’s right and who’s wrong solution here. I think of the problem of understanding Business Architecture positioning as a matter of perspective. Let’s assume all have the best intentions but have a certain set of biases, constraints, incentives and motivations. While there is more drivers, these are the major ones.

So to better deal with these dynamics I suggest using a mental frame for thinking about these contrasting and or conflicting opinions. When I look at the this market, I segment where the opinions or positions are coming from. I then look to understand the motivations for their opinion and start to form a classification mechanism so it’s easier to understand their perspectives.

Mike The Architect Blog: Business Architecture Vendor COnsultant Analyst Standards Persectives Mental Framework

As shown above you will find such an activity. What you see below is how slice and dice the major voices in the business architecture world. I carve off 4 major perspectives that include:

  • Analysts
  • Standards Bodies
  • Vendors
  • Consultancies

There is a problem with the model…

You will notice a very key source missing. That would be the actual end organizations accountable and responsible for this effort. While there are pockets where this perspective is represented, this voice is largely missing. I would assume this is due to the fact that they are too busy adding value in their organizations rather than just talking about it at conference or on a blog.


Walking the Model

The image above is a high-level representation of how to split the different perspectives that you may encounter using the model that I’ve created.



This perspective is interesting as it does have some very unique qualities to it. It’s important to really understand the drivers behind the position asserted here. Analysts got through a very rigorous vetting process and they are very good at what they do, analyze the market space. They are not practitioners(anymore) and have very little “skin in the game” when it comes to actual results with end customers. However, they have one very strong attribute that trumps other perspectives, their rich data and hypothesis or predictions they make with that data. This data is a vital aspect to the decision making process.

  • Time Horizon of Guidance: Past 1 year to 5 years in the future
  • Perspective: Broad Industry Thought Leading 
  • Context of Guidance: Prediction Based
  • Can be used for: evidence of a position, understanding the market landscape, understanding your peers in the industry and general advisory


Standards Bodies

Often times when looking at the perspectives of a standards body you are looking at one in which is the most grounded in the day to day reality. The goal of most standards bodies is to articulate practices that are proven in the industry. This is what I refer to as the “safety net”. As an example, The Open Group currently has 465 company memberships that represent HQs in 38 countries! Each one of these companies has a say and a vote on what gets ratified as a standard. That is one great vetting process.

  • Time Horizon of Guidance: Past 5 years to 1 year future
  • Perspective: Broad Industry Proven Practice
  • Context of Guidance: Evidence Based
  • Can be used for: practical implementation, provides a safety net or "insurance policy" for making decision on what has worked for customers world-wide, faster time to market on standards and reference architectures



Another unique perspective here is that of our vendors. While this isn’t always true, most times it is, vendors base their opinions on the ability to drive services and products. After all that’s their business. I find that this perspective isn’t bad or wrong it’s actually a very good one as it can connect the broader more ethereal perspectives back down to reality with implementable tooling.

  • Time Horizon of Guidance: Past 1 year to 3-5 years in the future
  • Perspective: Thought Leading based on enabling a capability. Usually technical in nature.
  • Context of Guidance: Immediate and Near Future Market Needs
  • Can be used for: advice and tools for automation, deep coverage of a functional or capability area



Consultancies are similar to vendors in many regards with one small tweak, I usually find that services companies don’t share their opinions in detail. This is largely to their business model. They monetize their knowledge (intellectual property) and services. So if you do hire a services / consultancy firm I personally find extremely high quality material but you have to purchase it to get a hold of it.

  • Time Horizon of Guidance: Past 5 years to 2 years in the future
  • Perspective: Proven practice and some leading practice (largely depends on the type of consultancy)
  • Context of Guidance: Evidence based in the context of a specific offering by the firm
  • Can be used for: evidence of a position, understanding the market landscape, understanding your peers in the industry and general advisory



Hopefully with this mental frame it helps reduce
the confusion in the marketplace. You probably noticed that I didn’t give you my personal opinions on specific perspective areas or sources, I don’t think that is productive as each of those sources has it own set of drivers for making those assertions. Rather than doing that I would rather arm you with the tools I use to form my opinions so that you can do the same. 

I find that it helps me in the following ways:

  1. Keeps me Calibrated. Keeps me a sanity check when I’m reading material so that I can properly consume the information I am reading.
  2. Go Deeper. I know what questions I need to ask myself or to the perspective that is sending messages my way. That allows me to ask the right questions to form my own opinion.
  3. Ability to Rationalize. I can better classify information and thus use it more effectively
  4. Effective Communication. I can more effectually use the information in my communication to my peers, customers or partners
  5. More Effective Decision Making. By understanding these perspectives I can leverage the information in a fit-for-purpose way thus reducing the risks of mistakes and mishaps.

Business Architecture Ready For Prime Time


It’s probably no surprise to all of you that there has been a significant amount of talk about Business Architecture in recent years. Just coming back from the Open Group Conference in San Francisco it was one of the key topics for practitioners. However, with all the buzz, is Business Architecture really ready for prime time? This is a real and very legitimate question.

Separating fact, fiction and pure buzz is an important data point for Enterprise Architects. We all but learned our lesson from similar buzz worthy topics like SOA and Cloud. So needless to say, diverting energy into unproven spaces or trends is a very risky business. EA’s must continually add value back to the company and must be very judicious with their time. Most EA departments if not all that I talk to, just don’t have time to experiment on trends or fads.


So what does this mean for Business Architecture?

Mike The Architect Blog: Mike Walker Defining Business Architecture. TOGAF 7 Illistration of Business FocusI believe that business architecture has been one of those topics that has always been here but has gotten very little attention until now. Seemingly  Business Architecture seems like a new discipline but it isn’t. In a previous post titled, Defining Business Architecture  I talked not only about what is business architecture but also some history around it. What I talk about is how Business Architecture is actually been here for quite some time. You can find evidence of it in the beginnings of the EA frameworks. While “true” EA was in its infancy so was Business Architecture component of it. During that time most things that occurred in the technology space were mostly just that, technology focused. I believe that for many reasons that was the correct thing to do based on where we were at in our industry, limited maturity of our discipline, our capabilities that we could offer and the rudimentary and basic profile of the technology landscape. Simply put…

Crawl, Walk and Run.


Enterprise Architecture Evolution… How do we get to Running?

Times have certainly changed and so has IT and along with it EA. This industry has matured and along with that maturity comes more sophistication. Up-leveling what we do has a goal of bringing more value to our customers.  What we have found is that delivering context-less technology widgets are just not delivering the right level of value to add to the capabilities of our businesses.

With all this said, I believe that Business Architecture is still at the beginning of its journey. I do think that we have come a long way with establishing the need and the value but there is still a great deal of work to be done to get Business Architecture formed as a fully standard practice. We see this be just looking back, from largely ignoring it in 2000’s to shifting that in the 2010’s and  addressing it as a key focal point of EA.

So if we look at some common mental frames for calibrating where we are at out where things are at in the industry we could use Geoffrey Moore’s, Crossing the Chasm as a way to gauge where we at. And if I look at that model I would say you were still in the chasm however we are quickly coming out of it.




So what is that me, it means that we are seeing evidence of organizations outside of early adopters and innovators actually using Business Architecture to solve real-world problems in the next class of individuals and organizations are for two as the early majority. We’re starting to see a lot of this in the industry.

But also let’s talk a look outside my anecdotal points with the customers and look at what we see from the analyst community as well. We see strong evidence of this as well. As an example,  Gartner conducted a double blind 2011 worldwide survey and a 2012 survey of EA summit attendees in the US and Europe, Gartner finds that the vast majority of organizations are focusing their EA efforts on how they can drive business value (including IT), not just on driving IT decisions.


Source: Gartner (2012): Gartner Hype Cycle 2012

Based in the above shows that Gartner finds that 67% of organizations are either: starting (39%), restarting (7%) or renewing(21%) their EA efforts. By the way, they also note that they know that many of the organizations that state that they are "starting EA for the first time" are actually "restarting" because we have talked to them in the past – it is just that the current EA leaders don’t know that there previous efforts.

The analyst are the only ones reporting on this activity. We have independent bodies of knowledge that have sprung up that are continuing to try to crack this business architecture did not. A couple of the most popular ones include:

  • BABoK
  • BizBoK


And of course behind that comes vendor practices and boutique consulting practices.

With this flurry of activity from real customers, vendors, analysts and standards bodies alike, Business Architecture is very real and is a discipline within Enterprise Architecture that needs some serious focus.

Integrating TOGAF and The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) Service Landscape Whitepaper

Today The Open Group released the updated whitepaper, Integrating the TOGAF® Standard with the BIAN Service Landscape. This release might be beneficial for those architects in the banking space that use or considering to use TOGAF in conjunction with BIAN.

For those not familiar with BIAN, it is a not-for-profit organization which seeks to accelerate the adoption of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) in the banking industry. It does so by promoting convergence
towards a common service landscape, and by providing semantic standards which makes it
easier and more cost-effective to integrate such services.

Mike The Architect Blog: TOGAF and BIAN Whitepaper

This whitepaper aims to support Enterprise Architects within the banking industry, reaping the synergies of two complementary industry frameworks:

  • TOGAF®, an Open Group Standard, is a proven Enterprise Architecture methodology and framework used by leading global organizations to improve business efficiency.
  • BIAN, the Banking Industry Architecture Network, delivers an overall framework and set of IT Service definitions and BIAN Business Scenarios specific to the banking industry, aimed at improving systems interoperability.

In the heart of the White Paper, both the TOGAF standard and BIAN are mapped to each other. The leverage of the BIAN deliverables in the context of the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) is further elaborated. For each step in an architecture development process, the integration of BIAN deliverables is described.


For more information

Australian and New Zealand Architects Surveyed on Business Architecture

Mike The Architect Blog: Business Architecture

Business Architecture (BA) is a really hot topic these days. A few years back it was  a topic that people either didn’t talk about or they avoided it. Over the past year or two I have noticed it’s frequency increase a great deal. I think the reason it comes up so much is that we as Enterprise Architects are desperately trying to solve the root business challenges instead of implementing technology for technology sake. 

In this post I will reflect on the two part surveys The Open Group conducted over a few months back. Kudos to them for conducting this in a crowd sourced / practitioner based way and not going into an academic debate over this topic. This is as real world as you can get.

Before we go into the survey I think there is a broader context I want to highlight and take a step back. I believe that Business Architecture is not ply part of EA but also key to EA success.


Business Architecture is Core to the New World of Enterprise Architecture

[UPDATED Gartner Research]

Based on a double blind 2011 worldwide survey and a 2012 survey of Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit attendees in the US and Europe, Gartner finds that the vast majority of organizations are focusing their EA efforts on how they can drive business value (including IT), not just on driving IT decisions.

In a June 2012 survey, they find that 80% of organizations are focused on how they can leverage EA to either:

  • Aligning business and IT strategies (25%)
  • Delivering strategic business and IT value (39%)
  • Enabling major business transformation (16%)

They also find that 67% of organizations are either: starting (39%), restarting (7%) or renewing(21%) their EA efforts. A point to note that many of the organizations that state that they are "starting EA for the first time" are actually "restarting" because we have talked to them in the past – it is just that the current EA leaders don’t know that there previous efforts.

See more in: Hype Cycle for Enterprise Architecture, 2012


Wow, those are big numbers behind the refocusing . I was very surprised to see that the number was so high. The next set of statements from Gartner was that those new and restarted EA organizations are not rebooting with the same concepts they had in the past but rather business oriented ones instead. That then drives for a much stronger focus on Business Architecture.

With these data points from the analysts and from what I see with customers I certainly see the tide shifting. There is a readiness factor to all of this though. Of the total customers I work with, I would say that currently there are very few that are performing what I would call an end-to-end BA practice. Of that base there is a growing community of EA’s very ready to do BA or have started in some way but again still small. The largest population I’ve seen are the ones willing  entertain the notion because they realize that keeping their heads out of the sand only focusing on technology hasn’t given them overwhelming success.

Evidence shows that business leaders are sick of the IT status quo and are making drastic shifts. IT is getting run by more and more business professionals. Both Gartner and Forrester agree that there is a new breed of the CIO. This person is one that comes from business background and runs IT as such. Gartner says 46% of today’s CIO comes from a business background. This is compounded by other roles taking on IT. Like at NASCAR, the CMO has a large stake in big data and pulling in the IT budget as his own. This is becoming increasingly popular with CMOs but also COOs as well.

The bottom line for me is that this wave is coming, either we can be on top or get swept by it and pulled under by the current.

What is Business Architecture – By The Open Group Survey Members

Back in April 2013, the president of the Open Group, Allen Brown surveyed Australian and New Zealand Architects on their views of Business Architecture. The post was called, "What is Business Architecture".

Some of the questions asked were:

  1. What is Business Architecture in the context of your organization?
  2. Do you have Enterprise Architects in your organization? If so, what is it that you do that they do not? If not, how do you see Business Architecture differently from Enterprise Architecture?
  3. Who do you report to? Is your line of reporting up to the CIO, the COO if you have one, or other senior level person?
  4. How is Business Architecture perceived in your organization? It would also help me if I knew something about your organization.


Allen says it well on the state of Business Architecture:

The first level of analysis, which should come as no surprise is that Business Architecture is a relatively new discipline for most organizations: in most cases it has been around for between 1 and 5 years.  Described by some as a growing capability, or as immature, or even as “largely missing”.  One respondent describes herself quite rightly as a pioneer.


I personally feel you would be hard pressed to find any one individual or organization that is an authority on Business Architecture. Myself included here. I am very much along for the ride to see where this leads as well.  Now with that said I certainly have perspective on the field and want to evolve it to the best of my abilities. As with the other architects that participated in the survey, we all have our own unique perspectives on the matter. With that are success stories that are largely situational in nature and don’t represent the profession.

This is a challenge that we need to be mindful of. We don’t have a baseline that is universally accepted from a BA perspective.  Meaning that without universally accepted outcomes of doing things with common roles and approaches our "mileage will vary". It just will not be repeatable and predictable for the masses. So while it may work in unique situations, once you go outside of that the value may diminish.

I say that because most practitioners, including myself have made our own way through BA. What this leads to is lot of independent thoughts, methods, misconceptions, etc. around this discipline of BA. You can see evidence of this in Nick Malik’s blog post about Business Architecture definitions. We are all over the map. 

These architects surveyed see this as an issue. They want standardization from both a broad industry perspective and their respective industries.

A recurring theme was that the ability to have a company-wide or industry-wide model was critical as it provides a common terminology across the board to what the organization actually does and enables understanding of the implications of any changes. 


Which of the five interrogative’s do business architects focus on?

In the post some of the surveyed architects said that BA focuses on the "what" part of the equation. An area of clarif
ication that I would add to the comments is in regards to BA’s only focusing on  "What" the business is. I don’t think this gives the BA its full justice.

In my opinion, I see the common mistake that business architect make is that they focus on what the business currently is, instead of focusing on what the business should be. You need both views to guide you. Business Capability Models (BCM) do a great job of addressing "what" the business is. But if you don;t understand the motivations and value creation and ultimately realization you are left with a context-less and a risk of a flawed BCM.

Business Architecture in my opinion all boils down to rationalizing "Why". To be explicit, rationalizing and not creating the business strategy.

Below is a model I have used to articulate this:

Business Architecture Overview


I believe the surveyed architects nailed the BA focus with the following listed:

  • Understanding strategic themes and drivers
  • Modeling value chains, value streams, configurations
  • Context modeling e.g. external interactions
  • Capabilities, including business capability, service capability (including both business and IT capabilities), capability maturity, targets and gaps
  • Calling out the interdependencies of all the business and architecture domains: strategy, governance, market, distribution, product, capability
  • Design – entities, people (organization structure, incentives), process, systems, functions, roles
  • Linking with and supporting the strategy and injecting into the investment planning cycle
  • The Business Architect provides processes, part of the input and information for the business to determine whether or not any investment will be made within their organisation

The only thing I would add here is that while models, templates and tools are good and helpful, we need to be wary not to develop a model for a models sake. Business Architecture facilitates the process of understanding the business and how to improve it based on that analysis. In other words it’s not about the destination (models and tools) but the journey (collaboration, ideation, rationalization, negotiation, etc.).


Again, a big thank you to the Open Group for conducting the survey and distilling the results for all of us. Much appreciated.

Mike Walker on Business Architecture, Part 2


In this is Part 2 article, “Walker on Business Architecture” in the Architecture and Governance Magazine , I continue to explore and answer questions in the business and information architecture discipline. In part 2 of this article we switch the focus to real world application of BA and IA.

  • Describe examples of business architecture (BA) and/or information architecture (IA) you have seen at organizations you have worked for or been exposed.
  • Have you seen anyone make an attempt at BA or IA and fail?
  • If you had to pick one critical success factor for BA/IA, what do you think it would be?
  • General comments/thoughts as it relates or does not relate to enterprise architecture.

Before we get into the article, be sure to go to the Architecture and Governance Magazine site and check out all the other great articles as well. Just sign up and you can browse all the volumes.


Part 2, Walker on Business Architecture

A&G: Describe examples of business architecture (BA) and/or information architecture (IA) you have seen at organizations you have worked for or been exposed to (generic, no company names)? And how would you rate those efforts?

Walker: In regard to business architecture success stories, I’ve seen a company transform its entire IT landscape to make business architecture a first-class citizen. It did this by creating an executive business steering committee. And that executive business steering committee was responsible for centralizing the corporate strategy. Having that structure tied down then led to a formal business architecture team. The business architecture team reported directly to the strategy steering group. So, for the first time in that company’s history, it had a business architecture translating the business corporate strategy into something consumable by the enterprise. That function was elevated all the way up to executive vice presidents, the highest level in the corporation, to focus on the discipline of the business architecture.

The outputs of that were things like road maps, business and IT strategies, and architectures and future state models of where the company wants to go. The company was so ambitious that it said let’s forget the sins of the past and let’s focus on what this company would look like 10 years from now, and let’s create that view. Committee members spent several months creating that view, and then they went back to the enterprise and said, okay, what is the gap, because this is where we need to go as a company. It really gave the company focus and direction in what’s important and what’s not important.


A&G: Have you seen anyone make an attempt at BA or IA and fail? If so, what led to that failure?

Walker: A lot of times it comes down to a few factors. Executive support: it has to be something that’s important to your CIO level executives. If they don’t buy in, it’s not going to happen. I’ve seen those failures. I’ve seen environments where the CIOs were believers but the people didn’t have the right level of business acumens, or they didn’t have the right leadership skills that would make it happen.

All that is important to note here is none of these failures were the result of having a bad tool, a bad technology, or a bad model. I’ve seen all those failed organizations overcompensate on capability models and strategy maps, etc. The result was that they lacked the critical soft skills to make that a successful venture in their companies. The linchpin in all of this is: if the people who are booting this up don’t have great people skills, they will fail. Because, at that level, this job is based on influence and making people understand that this is important. It’s not about the model you use; it’s about how you conduct yourself and how you win the hearts and minds of the organization.


A&G: If you had to pick one critical success factor for BA/IA, what do you think it would be?

Walker: The critical success factor really comes down to two things. One is business acumen: knowing the business, what the company wants to accomplish, its goals and objectives, its strategies, etc. That will help you have a meaningful conversation. Second is soft skills. I’ve talked a lot about this on my blog: emotional intelligence, which is self-awareness of yourself but also self-awareness of other people, things like empathy. If you don’t have a high degree of emotional intelligence, if you’re not empathetic, you’re not making a connection. And if you’re not making a connection, they’re less likely to buy into what you’re doing. Why is this important? Because when you’re at the business architecture and information architecture levels, the stakes are much higher because they have broad and pervasive impacts. It becomes much harder to convince someone to change or architect their business architecture versus buying a new server.


A&G: What other general comments/thoughts do you have about business and information architecture as it relates or does not relate to enterprise architecture? To solution development and delivery?

Walker: Both of those disciplines, in my opinion, are part of enterprise architecture. There are specific things you do to make sure you have the right enterprise architecture. If you look at any methodology out there, it says you should start out with understanding the corporate strategy. Then, you should go and do a business architecture. Then, you should go understand your information architecture, application, technology, etc.

These two disciplines roll under enterprise architecture. If we look at the BAIT model, which is business, application, information, and technology architecture, enterprise architects are focused more on the business and information and will look at application and technology more secondary. The IT architects have a tendency to focus more on the application and technology architecture. Primarily speaking, they can’t divorce themselves from the other stuff, but if they’re going to focus on transforming the company those are the two disciplines they have to spend more time on.


More Resources

My Architecture & Governance Magizine Article: Business Architecture & Best Practices

Mike Walker Architecture and Governance Magazine

The new issue of Architecture and Governance Magazine is out. This issues is centered around the Business Architecture practice with elements of Information Architecture. It’s tiled, “Business Architecture: The Blueprint for Success?”

I was fortunate enough to be included in this edition. I speak about the definition of the Business and Information Architecture domains, their relationship to each other, and enabling techniques and models supporting each. 

You can find my article here: Walker Talks Business Architecture and the Best Practices for Using It 


To subscribe to A&G check it out at: http://architectureandgovernance.com/