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  • Writer's pictureNavid Kheradmand

Business Architecture Fireside Chat; A day in a life of a business architecture practitioner

Updated: Sep 7, 2023



This fireside chat explores the practical aspects of the role of business architect and its value on the ground working with different stakeholders in a variety of engagements and business scenarios.


There are 5 episodes in this series with episode 1 focusing on the value of business architecture and setting the stage to deep dive into the interactions that a business architect might have on a day-to-day basis with three different personas, namely leaders (episode 2), project teams (episode 3), and subject matter experts (episode 4). Episode 5 wraps up the conservation with a quick look into what the future holds for the business architecture discipline and the role of business architect.


Navid Kheradmand is Founder & Managing Director, Archist (www.archist.com)

Susie Moore is Founder & Manager Director, Moore2it (www.moore2it.com.au)

 

Episode 1: The value of business architecture

Business architecture is not about focusing solely on tools and techniques but about delivering value by solving real-world problems and facilitating effective decision-making. The value is to provide tangible insights at the right time to the right people, contributing to the organization's overall success.



Few takeaways from this episode:

  1. The True Value of Business Architecture: The value of business architecture lies in actively leveraging it to make informed decisions, support strategy execution, and enable change within an organization.

  2. Moving Beyond Tools and Techniques: It is important not to get caught up in the tools and techniques of business architecture. Instead, focus on understanding the problem at hand and using the tools to provide solutions. Keep asking the "So What?" question.

  3. Measuring Success of Business Architecture: When stakeholders call on business architects again and again and refer them to others, that's one of best indicators that they do see a value in their engagements with business architecture.

 

Episode 2: How business architects support leaders


Business architecture serves as a versatile tool that helps leaders effectively articulate and package their strategies. Business architects can assist in framing and structuring the strategy so that it can be understood and executed by all stakeholders. This involves making the strategy more tangible and actionable for the entire organization.



Few takeaways from this episode:

  1. Strategy Articulation through Storytelling and Facilitation: Business architects help leaders tell a compelling story about their strategies and initiatives. They use visual aids, such as one-pagers or placemats to create a clear and engaging narrative. This visual storytelling makes it easier for leaders to effectively communicate their ideas throughout the organization. Business architects also facilitate workshops and discussions with leaders and their teams. These sessions help clarify goals, identify root-causes of problems, and better define strategies.

  2. Connecting the Dots: Business architects have a holistic view of the organization and can connect the dots across the whole business ecosystem and between different departments and initiatives. They ensure that the cross-impact of strategic directions are well understood and departmental strategies and plans align with the broader organizational goals and objectives. This, in turn, ensures that there is a horizontal alignment across the organization.

  3. Customization and Adaptability: Business architecture is not a one-size-fits-all. Customization and adaptation is essential when dealing with various stakeholders and scenarios, each with their unique needs and challenges.

 

Episode 3: How business architects support project teams


Business architecture play a crucial role in ensuring alignment between project execution and the overarching business strategy. Business architects supports project teams by providing insights and guidance throughout the project lifecycle and collaborating with other disciplines, such as business analysis and enterprise architecture. They help project teams stay on track to achieve their objectives.



Few takeaways from this episode:

  1. Strategic Alignment and Clarity: Business architects help the project teams to "build" alignment and communicate to leaders and other stakeholders how the project is contributing to strategic directions. They help ensuring that everyone involved understands the "why" behind the project and how their engagements enable the execution of the strategy.

  2. Continuous Monitoring and Assessment: Business architects provide continuous monitoring and assessment throughout the life of a transformation journey. This ongoing assessment helps "maintaining" alignment, identifying areas where the initiative may be deviating from its goals, and enabling corrective actions.

  3. Collaboration with Business Analysts: Business architects collaborate closely with business analysts to align requirements with the strategy. As business analysts collect requirements, business architects provide a strategic perspective to ensure those requirements are in line with the overall vision. Business architects also provide a frame of reference to derive requirements based on the gaps in capabilities and value streams required to enable and operationalize business strategies.

  4. Engagement with Enterprise Architecture: Business architects also engage with enterprise architecture to ensure alignment between business and technology aspects of the transformation. This alignment is crucial for the success of any initiative.

 

Episode 4: How business architects support subject matter experts

Business architects assist subject matter experts (SME's) in addressing their day-to-day business challenges by facilitating problem-solving discussions, simplifying complex challenges, and identifying the root-causes of problems. By bringing a holistic view and providing clarity, business architects enable SME's to make informed decisions, improve operational efficiency, and bring positive impacts to the day-to-day operations of the organization.



Few takeaways from this episode:

  1. Problem Solving: Business architects assist SME's in solving day-to-day business problems. SME's may approach business architects when they encounter challenges that are not well-defined or when they need help in understanding the root-causes of issues.

  2. Systems Thinking: Business architects provide a big picture view of the organization. They help SME's see beyond the surface of a problem (i.e., the tip of the iceberg) and identify interconnected issues within the business ecosystem. This systems thinking approach enables SME's to better understand their problems and challenges in a holistic manner and to better define solutions that are more effective and long-lasting.

  3. Simplifying Complexity: SME's rely on business architects to simplify the complexity of operational challenges. Business architects break down complex problems into manageable components, making it easier for SME's to analyze and address them.

 

Episode 5: The future of business architecture


Imagine a world where business architecture is truly woven into the fabrics of organizations and recognized as a vital discipline to contribute to better decision-making, strategy execution, and the overall success of any organization. We still face challenges and haven't yet reached to this future vision, but are on the right track to get there. And the global community of practitioners keeps working hard every day to get to that future vision one step at a time.



Few takeaways from this episode:

  1. Maturity and Recognition: There is a growing trend where executives and C-suite members are acknowledging the value of business architecture, even attending training sessions themselves. This recognition indicates a shift towards higher maturity of the business architecture community.

  2. Challenges of Change: Introducing new concepts and approaches can be challenging. Business architects often face frustration and doubts, but passion and resilience are key to overcoming these challenges. Business architects need to help others rewire their thinking and embrace new ways of working, which takes time and patience, similar to learning to ride a "backwards bicycle".

  3. Continuous Learning: Continuous learning is an essential part of a day-to-day life of a business architect.

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