Business architecture (BA) plays an important role in enterprise architecture. It helps establish context, including the link to strategy. It is the glue that connects and holds everything else together. More than any other part of EA, it can be meaningful to executives, managers, and staff alike, spanning the organizational divide that exists between IT and the business. When done well and in clear business terms, BA can help put everyone on the same page. It drives informed, coordinated, and consistent decision making across the enterprise and is used to guide specific implementations. That is the business architecture opportunity.
The challenge is to make it work. Diagrams and models are a start but are not enough. Like everything else in EA, it is ultimately about participation and communications. BA can only really be successful when there is business ownership. An active partnership between business and IT-side personnel in a wider EA program is a goal. Many traditional IT-resident enterprise architects have been attempting business architecture work, by proxy, for years. There have been a few wins. Now, for the first time, we see enthusiasm among business-side executives, even to the point where they are initiating BA work. It isn’t obvious, yet, that many of them really appreciate the connection to EA, but their interest is a positive sign. Clearly, this is an opportunity to help accelerate EA.
This issue of A&G features a contributed article on business architecture progress at Wells Fargo and part 1 of an interview with Mike Walker on business and information architecture. Part 2 of the interview and additional articles will follow in future issues. BA isn’t just the latest hot topic. It is a fundamental part of EA, and we hope to make it a continuous presence in A&G. Please share this issue with your business-side colleagues! Perhaps your story, and their participation, will appear in a future issue.