Business Architecture Survey

Nov 04, 2016

irisThis 2016 Business Architecture Survey General Findings Report is written in collaboration by Whynde Kuehn, Partner at Business Architecture Associates, Robert Kost, Partner at Thematix, Daniel Lambert, Vice-President at Benchmark (IRIS Business Architect), Alain Picard, Chief Technology Officer at Benchmark (IRIS Business Architect), Larry Smith, Partner at Thematix, and William Ulrich, Partner at Business Architecture Associates.

From October 4 to October 18 of this year, Thematix, Business Architecture Associates, and IRIS Business Architect fielded a 13-question survey was fielded by . We received 224 responses.

The survey reveals that business architecture is a young but rapidly growing discipline that has taken hold primarily in large corporations across a diverse set of vertical industries. It appears to be most valued in cases where businesses are grappling with change — in digital transformation, change management and customer-centric business modeling. It is typically carried out by small teams seeking to help their companies mature in their business architecture practice. The respondents report that greater executive participation and business knowledge is essential to their companies’ success but that, despite these impediments, business architecture has yielded great benefit in over a quarter of companies using it.

Business Architects in our survey work at large companies. Among the 224 respondents, one-third (32.6%) are employed at companies of 10,000 or more people. Nearly two-thirds (63.0%) are in companies with over 1,000 employees.


The Consulting category edged out as the top industry with 17% of respondents. In this category, most respondents provide business architecture services and we suspect that very few consulting firms have an internal business architecture model for themselves. Excluding Consultants, half (49%) of Business Architects are most prevalent in these 4 sectors:

Financial Services, Banking (other than Insurance): 15.6%
Computer, Software, Technology & Internet: 12.5%
Insurance: 12.1%
Government: 8.5%


The majority, (54%) of Business Architects in the survey are located in the USA and Canada with Europe accounting for 33%, and the remaining 13% located within other regions.


Most organizations have small business architecture teams; 53% of respondents answered that their firms employed 1-5 practitioners. Interestingly 22% report large teams of more than 10 business architecture practitioners.


Respondents who view themselves as Business Architects carry a variety of job titles. Less than one-third, 29%, report their actual title as “Business Architect”.


About half (49%) of the organizations who practice business architecture having been doing so for 3 or more years, while the other half have been practicing for 1-2 years or are still learning about the discipline.


The five possible selections at question 7 (Q7), are based on the Business Architecture Maturity Model (BAMM) in the BIZBOK® Guide (Appendix B.3). Consistent with staff and maturity, 62% of companies have a business architecture in place to some extent, as indicated by their maturity level assessment of a level 2 or higher. However, it should be noted that of these companies, fewer than one quarter (19.7%) scored themselves as having achieved a high rating of business architecture maturity at a level 4 or 5. The remaining 38% have yet to establish the discipline.


Each respondent identified an average of 4 different purposes for using business architecture in their business. Purposes can vary significantly, but Digital Transformation, Change Management and Customer Centric Business Modeling were consistently the top three. It is clear that customer-oriented change is at the heart of many business architecture practices.


Over one-third of respondents (35%) indicate that a broad constituent base participates in the business architecture practice, while 45% report distinct silos. 20% report that implementation has not yet occurred, which is consistent with the 35% of companies reporting they are still learning about business architecture.


Despite the predominance of large companies and diverse representation across the business, the total number of stakeholders remain small. 76% report that fewer than 10 stakeholders are involved.


A quarter of the respondents gave high ratings (4 and 5 stars) for the realization of benefits to their business architecture efforts. Nearly one-third indicate no benefits; this is consistent with reports that 35% are still learning.


Respondents indicated multiple pain points related to their business architecture practices with three as the average. Topping the list was Executive participation and acceptance, and Knowledge about Business Architecture. The third most common involved Politics, disagreements and conflicts which might be expected for large companies in which there are challenges related to facilitating coordination and decision-making across business units, integrating with multiple disciplines, etc.


The inverse to the pain points is reflected in the lessons learned as the top two choices were Executive Sponsorship, and Knowledge and practice.


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