Strategy, architecture, projects, business, IT. Think about these words and how they are related. Just taking any two at a time yields dozens of abstractions, relationships, scenarios, metaphors, deliverables, processes, perceptions, and misperceptions. Volumes have been written. When looking at all five together, the complexity and number of variations expand exponentially. But one conceptual approach can help put order to these individual practices and focus areas: capabilities.
An understanding of the structure, meaning, and relative value of an organization’s portfolio of business capabilities can act as a universal translator. It serves as the connection, or intersection, point for the value and change agendas. It is possible to correlate almost everything we do through their support for, and alignment with, the capabilities model. Capabilities provide clarity, focus, and a common language to bring the community of stakeholders onto the same page. Through them, an organization can strategize and execute without misunderstandings, biases, and improper expectations; ultimately, helping to build trust between business and IT.
In this issue, we dive into strategy and capabilities. Jan Gravesen offers part 2 of his article on making enterprise architecture strategic by aligning it with business strategic thinking. He describes the different approaches to EA as they relate to different forms of strategy that have evolved since the 1950s. It’s a nice segue into the discussion of capabilities by our other contributing authors. Andrew Swindell explores practical examples for developing and applying a Business Capability Model. In our final article, David Katauskas examines commodity vs. differentiating capabilities and shares an integrated real-world example of a health insurance payer that successfully transformed its enterprise.
We hope the perspectives on strategy and capabilities in this issue provide you with ideas that you might use to upscale your EA practice to be more strategic and business focused. And thanks again for being an A&G reader!