Why a Business Architecture?
The main goal of a Business Architecture (as a subset of Enterprise Architecture) is to enable the business to improve customer service quality through a better transparency, flexibility and adaptability of business operations. The market environment changes more rapidly and the use of technology by customers dramatically influences how a business can operate. Financial services calculation processes, marketing programs, business rules and content change already weekly rather than monthly. A BA includes both the definitions for a business strategy and business processes, which are linked through goals and outcomes.
However, if a business architecture has to be modeled, encoded and assembled by using a large number of tools and software components it cannot provide the benefits. Today’s heavily fragmented and hardcoded-integrated IT systems (including SOA) are too rigid to enable rapidly changing business environments. Most IT departments do not focus on adaptability and innovation because they have been requested to focus on lowering cost and system stability. Therefore, six month rollout cycles are the norm with three month being the exception. Business users expectations of stability and executive demands for lower cost are incompatible with the ability to achieve a flexible and adaptive, competitive IT infrastructure. Efficiency is still the main IT goal, with effectiveness a far-off second and agility being no more than an overused buzzword.
Combine this with the misconception that running a business can be pre-planned and therefore encoded into rigid process flowcharts and gloabl rules, with decisions being taken by predictive analysis based on historical (or better outdated?) business data. I propose that good business decisions are always taken by experienced people who use intuition to combine relevant data in business context. I call these LEVERAGE POINTS, where a people skill has a relevant effect on a customer outcome.
Neither BPM nor BI consider this human side of running a business and therefore fail to produce a nimble, agile organization. Based on unproven management theories and over-optimistic information technology benefit claims a huge IT governance bureaucracy is now necessary to manage a complex technology stack. Control and use of the technology stack is only feasible through outsourcing partners and the necessary complex contracts reduce corporate agility even more. Billions are spent by the IT monopolists for marketing to sell an illusion of the IT-controlled business that does not exist and is not achievable by the proposed complex means.
The above situation was the reason for me to develop a different IT platform that does not require a huge technology stack and does not need complex programming, but uses a simplified modeling and rule definition methodology to build a flexible and adaptable Business Architecture that is mostly under the control of the business. The IT department has the important role to link the existing systems into this arhitecture model. But I know that we won’t be able to convince people without any process flows, so we plan to offer a BPMN presentation of processes as well.
Agility AND innovation happen on the people level.
BPM and SixSigma use the people empowerment slogan too, but fail to deliver because in neither approach people are given the freedom to do things as they see fit as long as the goals are achieved. Enterprise 2.0 is a counter movement to the bureaucratic IT-Governance approach, but if it is simply putting Web 2.0 behind the firewall without giving the user access to plausible business data entities there is not such thing as empowerment. Social Media in general is the antithesis to strict governance and rigid workflows. But this is where we are going.
William of Ockham wrote in Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate: “The explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible and not invent further entities to explain a theory.” He was a friar and felt that the one entity of God would explain everything. Bertrand Russel translated it to: “The simplest explanation is usually the best.” Translated further to IT means that coded software systems or process solutions that require substantial resources to be model a business and even more to then adapt it to changing needs make things more complex than necessary. Flexibility AND adaptability by the user – while ensuring transparency and maintainability – are the key capabilities of modern systems. SixSigma adds a lot of bureaucratic complexity that is certainly not in line with Occam’s Razor. Let’s simplify …