Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Which One of Kipling's Friends is the most important to the business architect?

Which One of Kipling's Friends is the most important to the business architect? This question was asked of me the other day by a delegate on a training course.

"I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who."

After some thought I concluded that "WHY" was the answer.

On the basis that if a business architecture doesn't have a motivation to its construction it therefore doesn't have a linkage to its strategy. An architecture with no strategy is an architecture to nowhere.

Linkage from strategy in a traceable and obvious pathway from strategy through a business architecture an onwards through to a route map is key. Business architecture is part of the change process, a flow or a cycle, not an independent thing. In fact linkage in both the directions is frequently missing in many presented business architectures. Linkage is key. All target operating models should demonstrate good linkage.

Purists may say "but an architecture is just how bits of the business join together"; but in my view how an architecture that is driven by motivation the why and then also how it will be deployed via the implementation road or route  map is the job of a good business architect. The business architect may well have to work in partnership with strategy or implementation people but he or she should influence the whole story.

Let us also not forget that these questions represent the definition of the columns in the well known "Zachman Framework".

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