Example of the NIH IT Enterprise Architecture Framework, where the Business architecture is pictured as part of the enterprise architecture. A business architecture is a part of an enterprise architecture related to corporate business, and the documents and diagrams that describe that architectural structure of business. People who build business architecture are known as Business Architects.
Business architecture bridges between the enterprise business model and enterprise strategy on one side and the business functionality of the enterprise on another side.
The term "business architecture" is, first of all, an architecture and used to refer to an architectural organization of an enterprise or a business unit, architectural model or profession. A formal definition of the first meaning is defined by the Object Management Group's Business Architecture Working Group as follows:
- "A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands." 
Business Architecture articulates the functional structure of an enterprise in terms of its business services and business information. The business capability is ability to perform certain business functionality and deliver business results or values. The business capability is provided by business services that state "what" the organization does while the business processes implement business functionality and define "how" the organization can execute its capabilities. By following the governance and articulating business information, the business architecture considers all internal and external actors to an enterprise (including its customers, suppliers, and regulators), to ensure that flow in and out of the enterprise are captured.
Business architecture topics
Different views of an organization
In order to develop an integrated view of an enterprise, many different views of an organization are typically developed. The key views of the enterprise within the business architecture are:
- Business Strategy view : captures the strategic goals that drive an organization forward. The goals may be decomposed into various tactical approaches for achieving these goals and for providing traceability through the organization. These strategic goals are mapped to metrics that provide ongoing evaluation of how successfully the organization is achieving its goals.
- Business Capabilities view : describes the business functional abilities expressed via business services of an enterprise and the sections of the organization that would be able performing those functions. This view further distinguishes between customer-facing functions, supplier-related functions, core business execution functions, and business management functions.
- Business Knowledge view : establishes the shared semantics (e.g., customer, order, and supplier) within an organization and relationships between those semantics (e.g., customer name, order date, supplier name). These semantics form the vocabulary that the organization relies upon to communicate and structure the understanding of the areas they operate within.
- Business Operational view : defines the set of strategic, core and support operational structures that transcend functional and organizational boundaries. It also sets the boundary of the enterprise by identifying and describing external entities such as customers, suppliers, and external systems that interact with the business. The operational structures describe which resources and controls are involved. The lowest operational level describes the manual and automated tasks that make up workflow.
- Organizational view : captures the relationships among roles, capabilities and business units, the decomposition of those business units into subunits, and the internal or external management of those units.
In addition to the above views of the enterprise, the relationships connecting the aforementioned views form the foundation of the business architecture. This foundation provides the framework that supports the achievement of key goals; planning and execution of various business scenarios; and delivery of bottom line business value.
Business Architecture is a disciplined approach to realise business models and to serve as a business foundation of the enterprise to enhance accountability and improve decision-making.
Business Architecture's value proposition, unlike other disciplines is to increase functional effectiveness by mapping and modeling the business to the organization's business vision and strategic goals.
- Mapping identifies gaps between the current architectural state and target state, which affects underlying services, processes, people, and tools.
- Modeling discovers business requirements in the area of interest including stakeholders, business entities and their relationships, and business integration points.
Business Architecture directly realizes business strategy. It is the foundation for subsequent architectures (strategy embedding), where it is detailed into various aspects and disciplines. The business strategy can consist of elements like strategy statements, organizational goals and objectives, generic and/or applied business models, etc. The strategic statements are analyzed and arranged hierarchically, through techniques like qualitative hierarchical cluster analysis. Based on this hierarchy the initial business architecture is further developed, using general organizational structuring methods and business administration theory, like theories on assets and resources and theories on structuring economic activity. Based on the business architecture the construction of the organization takes shape (figure 1: strategy embedding). During the strategy formulation phase and as a result of the design of the business architecture, the business strategy gets better formulated and understood as well as made more internally consistent.
The business architecture forms a significantly better basis for subsequent architectures than the separate statements themselves. The business architecture gives direction to organizational aspects, such as the organizational structuring (in which the responsibilities of the business domains are assigned to individuals/business units in the organization chart or where a new organization chart is drawn) and the administrative organization (describing for instance the financial reconciliation mechanisms between business domains). Assigning the various business domains to their owners (managers) also helps the further development of other architectures, because now the managers of these domains can be involved with a specific assigned responsibility. This leads to increased involvement of top-level managers by making them domain-owners and well aware of their role. Detailed portions of business domains can be developed based on the effort and support of the domain-owners involved. Business architecture therefore is a very helpful pre-structuring device for the development, acceptance and implementation of subsequent architectures.
The perspectives on the design of subsequent architectures are more common: information architecture, technical architecture, functional architecture. The various parts (functions, features and concepts) of the business architecture act as a compulsory starting point for the different subsequent architectures. It pre-structures other architectures. Business architecture models shed light on the scantily elaborated relationships between business strategy and business design. We will illustrate the value of business architecture in a case study
Frameworks for business architecture
Rows 1 & 2 of the Zachman Framework deal with Business Architecture discipline.
The Object Management Group
Modeling standards of the Object Management Group (OMG), including the Unified Modeling Language (UML), Model Driven Architecture (MDA), Business Motivation Model (BMM), Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Rules (SBVR) and the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), enable powerful visual design, execution and maintenance of software and other processes, including IT Systems Modeling and Business Process Management.
The OMG established the Business Architecture Working Group (BAWG) in December 2007 to pursue the development of standards to support the Business Architecture community. The group has begun an effort to catalog business scenarios and to capture a library of business techniques that will be used to isolate and prioritize areas of work. This initiative has as a key part of its mission the interlinking and unification of existing standards to accommodate the demands for integrated end-to-end business analytics.
The BAWG conducts periodic Business Architecture Information Days at the OMG's quarterly Technical Meeting as part of an outreach effort to bring interested practitioner and vendor organizations into the standards process.
The BAWG Modeling Workgroup is currently working to develop a standard framework for business architecture that is aligned with the Business Architecture Guild Business Architecture Body of Knowledge Handbook.
The Business Architecture Guild
The primary purpose of the Business Architecture Guild  is to promote best practices and expand the knowledgebase of the Business Architecture discipline. Founded in late 2010, the Guild opened up membership in the fall of 2011 based on the initial release of the Business Architecture Guild, Body of Knowledge Handbook (Handbook). Handbook 1.0, delivered in skeletal form on August 21, 2011,  has garnered significant industry attention. With the release of version 2.0 of the Handbook on January 27, 2012 the Business Architecture Guild delivered the first complete set of writings covering the outline delivered as part of the organization's initial vision.
The Open Group
The Open Group Architecture Framework of the The Open Group is a community-based effort for describing methods and tools used by architecture. It is being developed and continuously improved by the Open Group, a consortium of interested individuals and companies involved in information technology.
Although the Open Group limits their framework to be used to develop Information Systems only, their framework includes Business Architecture as one of the four "domains" of architecture. The other three domains are Application Architecture, Data Architecture and Technology Architecture. TOGAF describes business architecture as "the business strategy, governance, organization, and key business processes".
A Business Architecture describes the functional aspects of the business domain instead of the IT domain. TOGAF defines four dimensions, three of which can be considered relevant to Business Architecture:
- Scope or breadth of the enterprise or across a specific business function from end-to-end,
- Level of detail, and
- Time as-is architecture vs. to-be architecture.
eXtended Business Modeling Language
A framework for denoting Business Architecture is the xBML (eXtended Business Modeling Language) framework. This framework advocates the following Business Architectural components:
- Activity (What?)
- Responsibility (Who?)
- Locality (Where?)
- Temporal governance (When?)
- Information (Which?)
- Operation (How?).
Additionally, xBML provides a detailed "instruction set" (or formal rule set) that enables the practitioner to build content for the framework in a consistent, repeatable and verifiable manner. There are approximately 55 rules that ensure consistency in output generated, unlike other frameworks available.
Industry reference models
Industry reference models are frameworks or models that provide a best practice off-the-shelf set of structures, processes, activities, knowledge and skills.
- The enhanced Telecom Operations Map (eTOM), published by the TM Forum, describes the full scope of business processes required by a service provider in the telecommunications industry, and defines key elements and how they interact.
- The Supply-Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) is a process reference model, endorsed by the Supply-Chain Council as the cross-industry de facto standard diagnostic tool for supply chain management.
- The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts and policies for managing information technology (IT) infrastructure, development and operations.
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