2009-08-17

Linkedin: What does mean the term 'Business Architecture' today and what it should mean tomorrow?

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I would start from the context and a few definitions. (I use below some of my definitions from http://www.samarin.biz/terminology )

In the broadest sense and as already mentioned, an architect is a person who translates a customer’s requirements into a viable plan and guides others in its execution.

In the case of enterprise, the "roles" from this definition can filled in the following way:
“customer” = top management, senior executives
“wishes, dreams and expectations” = creating a new company, merger, changing of unit’s internal structure, survival in heavy competition, cost cutting, modernisation of legacy applications, outsourcing the whole unit or just its IT environment, portfolio rationalization, etc.
“others” = the whole enterprise

An enterprise can be, for example, a business unit or department, an entire corporation, a government agency or a collection of businesses joined together in a partnership. An enterprise can be considered as a system whose parts are people, processes, information and technology. In general it is a complex and dynamic system of systems.

I use a term “enterprise business system” for the top level view of an enterprise as a system for conducting the business. This top level view may concentrate on how the business is structured, what it does and what it needs to do to meet its goals. The issues of greatest importance for enterprise business systems are the following:
• the core end-to-end business processes (also known as value streams);
• the governance structures;
• the core business information (semantics);
• the communication with the core business partners.

Architecture of a system is, in some sense, the main tool to work with the system. Architecture comprises two inseparable parts: descriptive (nomenclatures of artefacts, relationships, etc.) and prescriptive (rules on how to evolve this system). Both of them may be implicit or explicit or somewhere in between. Both of them are used together in “what if” analysis of different changes.

So, “architecture of an enterprise business system” or “business architecture” -- coherent and proven set of principles, recommendations, practices, and tools which provides guidance and practical help for the design and evolution of enterprise business system to achieve enterprise vision and strategy.

Thanks,
AS
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