Introduction / Definition: Business Architecture Landscape.
Blosch, Brand, & Osmond in their April 2022 article propose a grouping of business models they title the ‘Business Architecture Landscape’, or BAL. The BAL is not an architecture framework such as the TOGAF or older Zachman framework but rather a “set of interrelated models that make up an organization” and include both internal and external factors of the enterprise. The BAL consists of various models that combine to provide a holistic view of the organization’s strategies, business activities and internal operations, and external factors. The BAL construct consists of three main parts: the strategic core, the ecosystem perspective, and the financial perspective.
Key Personal Take-Aways.
The authors place an emphasis on importance of connections and relationships between models, can be as significant or more significant than the objects themselves. For example, the relationship between design and production within an enterprise can be more critical to product success than the capabilities of either department considered independently. In another example, the authors note that “when an organization fails, it is almost always at the point of ‘executing’ its strategy — the part of the process where the operating model is actually defined and created.” In this example, while a strategy may be solid and an operating model by itself is practical, the links between them are often the cause of failure for organizations. This point serves to highlight an important concept in a previous post (6.1) – diverse, cross-functional models are important for decision-making. Architects provide a better wholistic picture of the enterprise when their models are diverse. The risk of a miscommunication or break-down in performance between functions or layers (i.e., between strategy and execution as mentioned above) increases when models are highly distinct or separate and do not account for other functional areas of the business.
The BAL Strategic Core.
The ‘strategic core’ of the BAL consists of (a) strategy, (b) business, and (c) operating models. This correlates roughly to the (a) why, (b) what, and (c) how of the enterprise achieves it’s goals.
The BAL Ecosystem Perspective.
The ecosystem perspective is composed of two additional models of external and environmental factors.
The first of these is the “ecosystem model” which represents the full supply chain of suppliers, customers, competitors, and regulators (governmental and intergovernmental organizations, for example). This provides a primarily externally-focused view which is critical to understanding and shaping the strategic core. Because no companies today operate in a disconnected environment – every business is reliant upon external supply chains and are regulated to some extent – modeling the business ecosystem is an important aspect of developing strategy and maintaining the ability to flex operations. The primary challenge for architects in this model is understand and choose the most important aspects of the nearly boundless external environment.
The second part of the BAL ecosystem in the “service model” which documents the services and/or products the enterprises produces for customers.
The BAL Financial Perspective.
As Blosch, Brand, & Osmond note, “in many cases, business strategy is shaped by the opportunities and disruptions of the macroeconomic environment.” The financial perspectives consists of the “financial model” (primarily internal factors such as budgeting, profit margins, taxes, investment, and financial goals) and the “economic model” (external factors such as the status and general direction of the economy and markets, inflation, local unemployment, price elasticity, and future forecasts for supply and demand).
Blosch, Brand, & Osmond make two key recommendations which I think are worth noting. Firstly, they recommend to select only the most important aspects of the BAL to start with, and don’t become over-invested in completing each part of the landscape methodically. This recommendation mirrors other EA opines which recommend starting with quick wins and modeling critical parts of the business which can have tangible, early results rather than systemically attempting to model the entire business at the first iteration.
Secondly, the Gartner team recommends beginning the BAL modeling with the strategic core: strategy, business, and operations. According to their team, “most organizations will get the greatest benefit by understanding the relationship between strategies and goals, and business and operating models.” This approach can help to alleviate the organizational disconnect some enterprises see between senior management, operational management teams, and the execution or technical teams.
Source: “Design a Better Digital Business With the Business Architecture Landscape“, Blosch, Brand, & Osmond, Gartner, 29 April 2022