No Enterprise is the same. They all have different visions, processes, procedures and culture. Enterprise Business architecture (EBA), which is integrated with the corporate strategy, provides the common ground for people, processes and technology; a shared domain from which all strategic initiatives are linked. EBA provides an opportunity that organization if overlooked will lose out to the competition. The Enterprise Business Architecture (EBA) needs to address business functions, processes across the organization and primary concerns of the stakeholders. How the EBA viewpoint should respond to the following stakeholder needs is:
• To reduce cost and/or improve regulatory compliance.
• To create a more agile organization that can efficiently and effectively develop and implement new services.
• To get the highest returns from implementing the future-state architecture.
The future state framework is also depended on the EBA viewpoint. The EBA will also define abstractions for models of the enterprise architecture, which help to focus on particular business context of the enterprise architecture. These context are determined by what the stakeholders and business units want to be communicated and what should and should not be visible. Hence it is completely focused on the stakeholder and business unit. In order to use such a viewpoint approach within an enterprise architecture, architects require a tool environment, which supports management of architectural views.
Our organization utilizes the EBA with business analyst to define all of the requirements and business rules in language that stakeholders and business units understand. It requires co-operation of information architects, application architect, infrastructure architect, security architecture and the EBA, as well enterprise architects to extract their information needs from this base of shared knowledge rather than having the business analyst create different sets of specifications or views for each strategic initiative or project. Our organization incorporates EBA’s as part of the team rather than the alternative of a “SILO”. This allows for the EBA to be shared between the Business Process Management (BPM) and EA domains. This then forms a holistic understanding of our organization to close the gap toward the future state.
Enterprise Business Architecture (EBA) does not stand alone when it comes to the realm of Enterprise Architecture (EA). Enterprise Architecture incorporate other viewpoints which includes Enterprise Business Architecture, Enterprise Infrastructure Architecture, Enterprise Data Architecture and I believe Enterprise Security Architecture should also be include as well. There are schools of thought that believe EBA does stand alone, and EA is only associated with IT. This is understandable because Frameworks such as TOGAF are geared more towards IT than the business.
It is important when developing a business context that guides recommendations and deliverables within the enterprise technology architecture to incorporate all of the viewpoints. In doing this will be incorporating all viewpoints of IT as part of the steering committee so decision making will keep costs and the use of resources will be curtailed. It will also be easier to have buy-in when creating governance, which decides on changes that will occur, or be rejected. This is firm ground to build solid business and IT alignment when developing the business context.
An important pitfall to avoid when building business context is combining EBA and business context together. Couple of things I see time after time is the fact that IT does not believe they need the business context, and all other viewpoints takes a back seat to the EBA. These acts can have disastrous results. For instance: drive wedges between the business and IT, and as business grows now a days it holds the purse string, and with all the competition the business can go elsewhere to satisfy their IT need. To avoid situations like these it is important for EA to integrate all viewpoints so that correlation are built between the business context and the viewpoints.
As a final thought it easy to get confused when it comes to EBA and EA. To keep it all in line remember that EBA is a viewpoint within enterprise architecture and to be successful EA program communication and build buy-in for all viewpoints. Finally involve IT with the business when building long term goal. This alone will build some common ground between the business and IT without using EBA as the go between
The definition of Enterprise Context is ideas or capabilities that involves recognizing the stakeholders, environmental trends and aspects of business processes in order to form an enterprise architecture (EA). This could also be consider a part of the EBA artifacts because it delivers information about organization and its future state. This is why it is important to build Enterprise Context as the first deliverable when creating EA. All other viewpoints are led by it.
As business grows and become worldwide and competition becomes greater, it is important to have an understanding of the Enterprise Context and business strategies. This being said Enterprise Context can also be used for identifying internal and external trends, requirements gathering and developing anchor models of the business. These types of efforts will guide business leaders to shape business strategies and EA to better understand the business landscape as it relates to technology.
Problems that may occur while building out the Enterprise Context. In turn can cause these hills to become mountains when building out EA. Here are some listed below
• Silos around technical teams
• Limited knowledge of business strategies
• Not having a Holistic view of the organization
• Increase risk of information being misleading
If EA teams collaborate with a diverse group as well as adopt knowledge base recycling, design some artifacts as templates so all involved can utilize them, improving overall experience. Other ways to battle these issues is through collaboration. If there is no communication nothing will get done and frustration will set in, causing loss of project, time, money, and effort. It is important to build lines of communication so that over time trust and credibility is formed. Making it much easier in the decision making process. Another best practice is EA should become a leader in recognizing trends and strategies. It is important for EA to be on the cutting edge coming to the business making suggestions instead of the other way around. Proactively involved with the business and IT will keep the organization ahead of the competitors and help solidify EA role within the organization.