Business Architectural Reflections – 5th Annual Innovation Summit

Apr 06, 2017

I’m a week out of the 5th Annual Business Architecture Innovation Summit & Business Architecture Reference Model Workshop and may now have enough distance from the event to offer some useful reflections on the meeting and on the future of business architecture.

The meeting is put on every year by the Business Architecture Guild, a group that has the feel of a perennial start-up.  This is due to its peripatetic founder, William Ulrich, whose energy and good humor has the effect of constantly energizing and educating his audience.

Bill’s enthusiasm stems from the core insight that the Business Architecture Guild has hit on: that a business can be viewed as a system whose components — value, capability, information, organization — each has systematic relationships to one another. What makes this insight powerful is that, by modeling the business as a system, simulations, measurements and alignments with other realms become possible. Thus, what was once thought to be too informal or not subject to the same kind of rigor as, say, a computer software application is in fact very much susceptible or rational analysis and reconfiguration.

What galvanizes this excitement is that fact that some of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies have business architecture practice deeply embedded into their strategic and operational planning efforts.  Boeing and Federal Express, for example, each had a very substantial presence at the Summit.  Copies of their presentations and 10 or 12 others can be found here.

There is an exciting future here, but the Guild must move quickly and decisively to develop it.  Work is underway on a meta-model, whose RFP was completed at the Summit, and which will be formalized and published as a standard by the Object Management Group.  This and various industry reference models are currently underway.  The important thing will be to publish what is “good enough” and work to perfect and improve it over time.

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