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Information Architecture and Business Models its not just for the Enterprise

February 14, 2011

As organizations continue to adapt to the changing technology landscape they are faced with many new decisions. The change in information architecture and business architecture is very similar to what’s happening in libraries around the world. Gone are the days of physical books stacked on shelves, microfiche is a thing of the past, and the Digital and multimedia offerings have expanded vastly. The ability of libraries to deal with the new reality of information sharing is very similar to what businesses have to deal with today.

Businesses large and small are now faced with decisions about in sourcing outsourcing and resourcing. the frameworks commonly available to help them think about how to design a business architecture are often incomplete and overly cumbersome. Most of the current enterprise architecture frameworks are designed for large enterprises national governments or specific lines of business. This leaves them largely incomplete and incomprehensible for most business owners.

the goal of any business architecture is below:

  • a focus on value delivery not just analysis, what makes the most sense to stakeholders involved thinking about sales operation marketing finance etc
  • a complete view of the business meeting business environment external and internal, business strategy, capabilities, operations and organizational culture
  • the business orientation describing the business fully in common business charts this is often a business service map of some type
  • having a clear outcome for designing a business architecture this means using terminology and relationships to help dry out simplicity in common business functions
  • finally with any model having practical meaningful examples is very important, being able to demonstrate how all and architecture can change the way a business functions

Taking a look broadly at the enterprise architecture frameworks available today there are four major models being used.

  1. The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)
  2. United States Government’s Business Reference Model (BRM)
  3. MIT Sloan School’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR)
  4. Canadian Government’s Business Transformation Enablement Program (BTEP)

The very idea of business architecture is still newly minted in today information organizations. IT managers and business architects should expect changes from every direction including consultants, standard bodies, user communities, and vendors. As with any new developing idea focus should be given to the business value achieved. Today business architecture is focused on the correct model, that doesn’t mean much to the CXO trying to determine the most capable business execution strategy and the associated CIO who get to execute.

To that degree there are other frame works worth reviewing although not as fully though out they offer signf

  • The Business Motivation Model (BMM) provides an excellent model for describing the complete strategy landscape. The strategy component definitional work is excellent and provides a sound basis for establishing a standard vocabulary.
  • IBM has published a detailed paper on its view of capability maps, the Business Component Model (BCM) it also provides a good discussion of capability maps.
  • Motion Lite is a Microsoft methodology for applying a simplistic view of capabilities to prioritize the project portfolio. It provides a high-level view of the process, including examples of interim deliverables.

The present state is very fractured so choose carefully and consider a combination..

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