Insights / The added value of Business Architecture (1/3)

The added value of Business Architecture (1/3)

01 March 2021

Do you remember, doing administration at a set time that had to be reserved weekly, filling in an acceptgiro's, the booklets full of bank statements, household books and stacks of receipts under a paperweight? Or at the moment suprême have no insight into what your expenses are? This era seems to be long behind us now that we carry our bank in our inner pocket. A few presses of a button and both business and private we have insight into all our banking business and can control a lot from our mobile phone or smartwatch. For most of us, this is the daily reality.

What does this have to do with the added value of a good Business Architect? If we look at this from a bank's perspective. A few years ago it was a race to offer customers as much as possible via an app, the most beautiful GUI with a lot of functionality. But did the features offered via an app also work directly and well? How was security? These apps worked on a technical architecture that is sometimes more than 10 years old. This is quite a puzzle subject to requirements of not only the technical solution. What does the strategy want? What does it take to survive in this app world as a traditional bank with an old cost structure? In this puzzle you will come across a lot of bears. How can we find a viable and achievable way in this? How do I prevent rabbits from the hat that the organization later plunges into a at-risk area?

Technological development is moving so fast that new structures of organisation and technology are emerging every 10 years. With each shift, structures are created in which there is only limited scope for adaptation. The question of whether change should take place within this space or outside often plays a role. A promising approach is to ensure transparency in the structure and how this relates to the strategy and operation. Transparency shows you where it pinches, and how far the possibilities extend. 

By transparency, we mean showing that a particular strategy requires a certain structure, and this in turn enables certain capabilities – which an organization can do. And, these capabilities, in turn, will use available technology. In short, the separation is large between technical architecture and what an organization wants to offer to the customer. From a strategy point of view, capabilities are articulated, but do they fit in? How do we do this? Do we understand each other when it comes to customer needs and technical architecture? 

In that understanding is now the crux. A business architect can help with that. Creating transparency is not only an architect who makes pictures, but an architect who ensures that a vocabulary is used during planning in which the coordination between the many disciplines and domains is possible. He guides the path from the strategic domain – a given for him – to the associated business structure and translates this into manageable requirements for a successful operation. In short, he helps understand where boundaries lie, and also focus on the – sometimes difficult structural – business decisions that this entails. That's what the business architect profession was invented for.

If you have become curious about how that business architect does that, in a few weeks the next blog will follow in this series.