Business Architect’s Approach to Architecting the IT Department using TOGAF

A Business Architect’s approach to architecting an IT Department is a straightforward architecture development problem. How do we optimize a modern IT organization?

Most IT organizations result from haphazard development without an understanding or focus on their support for the operating model of the company. They have reacted to a mixture of random organizational pressures and technology change. Most often, the organizational design and structure driven by the technology implemented.

Business Architect’s Approach to Architecting the IT Department using TOGAF

At a Glance

Why Create a Business Architecture for the IT Department?

Most IT organizations have haphazardly evolved without an understanding or focus on their support for the operating model of the company. They developed without a deliberate business architecture. They have reacted to a mixture of random organizational pressures and technology change.

Most often, the organizational design and structure are driven by the technology implemented. When organizational design is considered, the most common discussion is the continuum between centralization and distribution.

Neither approach prepares an IT function to support Digital Transformation. Digital Transformation is a strategy, operating model, and operational change. A change where technological advancements are directly tied to the products and services an organization provides to its customers.

The business architecture of the IT department sets the stage. It is surprises many that you should apply Phase B of the TOGAF ADM to the IT department. It is required in a Digital Transformation - Lever 4 of the Seven Levers of Digital Transformation is your IT Delivery capability.

The Value of Good Business Architecture

Before we get into the value of good business architecture, it helps to define exactly what that is.

Business architecture is one enterprise architecture domain. The business architecture process entails developing the company's desired state and current state using a set of singular artifacts. The most important elements of the architecture are how such artifacts relate to one another, and the gap between the current and target state.

The gap tells you what needs to change in your organization. An architecture roadmap is the prioritized journey to develop well-align capabilities to meet the company’s goals, communicating this need to all stakeholders, and moving the company from its current state to its desired state.

Business architecture aids in the organization of a company's structure, staff, technology, and operations. As a result, business architecture gives a representation of an organization's operations and aids in business planning and improvement. It gives you a complete picture of your company's policies, beliefs, services and solutions, standards, and guidelines. It promotes and coordinates IT activities within the organization.

The major aims of business architecture are to identify how the enterprise's goals will be met, as well as its important components and their relationships with other components.

To clearly define the enterprise's goals and critical components, as well as their interrelationships. Business architecture is based on individual department goals and overall corporate objectives. Business architecture and strategic planning are essential for planning, organizing, and implementing an organization's business objectives. It assists in the smooth running of many internal and external components within an organization.

Business architecture is a type of planning based on a company's strategic vision that shifts from a "narrative" approach with hundreds of pages of text to a more visual, easy-to-understand approach. It aids the firm's diverse skills in forming a synergy and guiding them toward strategic goals. A business architecture provides a clear foundation for a company's structure, staff, and business.

Business architecture, with its visual and graphic effect, may achieve what pages and pages of information about a company's performance cannot. Business architecture may both describe and project a company's current baseline condition and an ideal world future state. Between current and target, there can be one of more transition states. Regarding the company's aims and the ideal state, a transition state is a compromise.

So, what makes business architecture so important? We properly transformed the failure of the upstream corporate vision to into actionable objectives is a prevalent problem in today's industry. Critical coordination between business divisions, as well as between the business and IT, fails downstream. The purpose of Business Architecture is to ensure that the company is appropriately aligned. Business architecture shows how a company is constructed and may clearly show how aspects such as capabilities, processes, organization, and information interact. Business architecture is only one domain of enterprise architecture, but a significant one that even the most seasoned experts in their field overlook.

What is a Business Architect?

A business architect performs the analysis that helps a stakeholder understand their organization to make better decisions about improvement. When you understand the system, you can effectively change it.

It is not the job of the business architect to select the target. Rather, their job is to convert aspirations and deficiencies into understandable change. Change that has cost, uncertainty of success, and prevents other change. The business architect helps the stakeholder select the best path for their company.

Business Architecture of the IT Department

The classic structure of an IT Department as a cost-sensitive support organization must be changed. During the change, the business architect needs to account for the impact on customers, partners, and suppliers.

Like any other transformation, IT delivery transformation is a complex endeavour. The distinctiveness of reinventing the IT department is the shift in the role of IT during a digital transformation.

To develop the Business Architecture, use the standard Business Architecture Models

  • Operating Model will normally be superior architecture
  • Business Model for the enterprise will be superior architecture. Creating an IT Business model is a good idea.
  • Value Chain can come from the IT4IT Reference Architecture
  • Capability Model is required
  • Information Model should be based on the IT4IT Reference Architecture
  • Process Model will be helpful
  • Organizational Model is required
  • Functional Model is required

>>> Look at the Business Architecture Capability Assessment Guide for attributes to describe the necessary IT Department Capability, Process, and Functions

You can expect a complete transition from a cost-sensitive support organization to an organization the continues to enable back-off functions at the same time as being central to value delivery.

After a digital transformation, information technology can be the product, the service, or perform value adding steps in the value chain

To put it simply, when you change an IT organization, we should change it using best practice business architecture techniques. Once you have a business architecture, you will develop the organizational model and supporting applications to enable the business of IT.

Far too often, IT leaders forget they need to operate as a business unit and under-deliver. Good business architecture of an IT department leads to enterprise agility and needs to align with the enterprise architecture principles.

So, what are some guidelines that individuals and IT teams can follow to facilitate good business architecture? We believe one of the best frameworks for business architecture is TOGAF.

What is TOGAF?

The Open Group Architecture Framework, or TOGAF, is the leading enterprise architecture framework. Almost every competent enterprise architect has at least a basic understanding of the framework. After all, it has been a part of the development of important architectures for many of the world's most successful enterprises for almost two decades.

The framework offers customers the direction they need to create high-level corporate architectures. These designs may therefore provide a level of perspective that aids stakeholders in maximizing the efficiency of important processes as well as developing complete, risk-aware organizational growth strategies.

The Open Group's TOGAF Framework is a widely used and broadly approved standard in this industry. Let's have a look at the basic best practices offered by TOGAF to get a better understanding of how it operates.

Business Architecture Best Practices

Developing a business architecture requires working with stakeholders and with the different enterprise architecture jobs in an EA Team. Business architecture for IT is not any different. The IT Department is an organization in your enterprise. If you are embarking on a digital transformation, it can make or break the transformation.

Weak Enterprise Architecture Teams use their business architects to translate from 'the business.' These are not business architects, they are translators. Best practice business architectures do their job - they help change leaders select the best change, and provide them with the tools to govern change.

The best practice method of developing enterprise architecture of the TOGAF Architecture Development Method. If you are not familiar with the TOGAF ADM, have a look at the TOGAF ADM Phases Explained or read the Practitioner's Guide to Developing an Enterprise Architecture.

Business Architecture Models

Developing a business architecture will require developing several enterprise architecture models. Each enterprise architecture model describes a fundamental structure or group of structures. Different models explain the enterprise in a different way.

Taken together, the models describe the business architecture. In the complete enterprise architecture, these models will link to other models that describe the other enterprise architecture domains.

Operating Model

Many people confuse how they use an operating model with what an operating model is. An operating model represents how value is created by an organization - and by whom within an organization.

Typically, an operating model shows the unique capabilities aligned to the enterprise's strategy, skilled leadership teams, unique investment profiles, and tight coordination across the value chain. The Operating model is an anchor for the enterprise. It is critical for the strategy's effectiveness and longevity.

Business Model

The physical process of creating a business model artifact allows the architect to include the enterprise's strategic viewpoints into strategy development and business planning operations. The architect and the models he or she creates to bridge the gap between strategy and architecture in this scenario. This helps to enhance Enterprise Architecture's alignment with strategy, improve the overall quality of the architecture, and boost the architect's expertise and value to the business.

The TOGAF ADM's Phase B: Business Architecture can include business models as a critical input. The business model is very good at getting members of the leadership team to agree on new strategies or a new company direction. At an operational and organizational level, the Business Architecture is more successful at aligning the rest of the company on what has to be done (and how).

Value Chain

A value chain diagram is a high-level representation of an organization's interactions with the outside world. The value chain diagram, in contrast to the more formal functional decomposition diagram generated in Phase B, concentrates on presentational impact. The goal of this diagram is to swiftly onboard and align stakeholders for a specific change endeavor so that all participants are aware of the architectural engagement's high-level functional and organizational context. A common technique is to provide a simplified business process diagram and define the value components and adjustments required for each activity.

Capability Model

Capability-based planning focuses on the enterprise's strategic business capabilities' planning, engineering, and delivery. It is business-driven and -led, and it brings together all the activities from all areas of the business to attain the required capacity. Most, if not all, corporate business models are accommodated by capacity-based planning, which is especially beneficial in companies where a latent capability to adapt is required and the same resources are used for various capabilities. Business scenarios are frequently used to find and refine the demand for these competencies.

Capability-based planning is very important from an IT standpoint. Setting up a data center, for example, is primarily concerned with integrating business data and offering associated services. In addition to IT architecture, Lead Enterprise Architects for this capacity will be responsible for overseeing construction, people training, and other change management duties.

Information Model

Under TOGAF, the business information model reflects the semantics of an organization's data, not a database design. It outlines the items that are important to an organization and about which it is likely to gather data (as entities), as well as linkages between pairs of those important things (as relationships). Because it avoids many of the system-level components, it is an easier model to interpret than a Logical Data Model. It encompasses all company information, not only digital information.

In most cases, each firm has only one Business Information Model, which describes all relevant data throughout the whole organization. We may use one or more diagrams to graphically represent all or part of the information model.

Business Architect's Definition of Value

Value-adding activity is:

  • a customer will pay for it,
  • it transforms (changes form, fit or function) a product or service,
  • it is done the first time correctly.

All discussion of value-adding requires consideration of waste. We should consider every activity to be waste unless it:

  • meets an explicit customer requirement
  • cannot be shown to be performed more economically
Training Path to success

Applying Business Architecture to the IT Department

The business architecture for IT must drive you to the IT Organization you need. T organizations performing primary value chain activity must deliver at the rate of market change. Hence, its delivery pipeline can no longer follow traditional methods. IT must embrace the principles of automated delivery and lean practices such as continuous monitoring, self-healing, and efficiency gains; must support decision-making and deliver products; and must transition from differentiator to the backbone of the enterprise.

Business Architecture of IT Reference Models

We start with the Seven Levers of Digital Transformation and the IT4IT Reference Architecture. Seven Levers keep us focused on different problems. Each lever is a different aspect of digital transformation. In order to succeed, you need to adjust each of the levers.

Seven Levers Of Digital Transforamtion - Impact of skipped Levers

Each of the Seven Levers highlights a different set of capabilities that a modern IT Organization needs to support.

  • Lever 1 - Business Process Transformation - Flying Blind. Unready for opportunity & change
  • Lever 2 - Customer Engagement and Experience - No loyal customer base
  • Lever 3 - Product or Service Digitization - Miss the mark on value proposition
  • Lever 4 - IT and Delivery Transformation - Low agility & imprudent decisions
  • Lever 5 - Organizational Culture - Skilled incompetence  & low ownership
  • Lever 6 - Strategy - Tone deaf & systemic failure
  • Lever 7 - Ecosystem and Business Model - Lost synergy & no parachutes

Business Model

Most of the thinking starts with one-best-way: centralized, distributed, bimodal, outsourced, SaaS, cloud, IT as a service, and even next-generation IT. Proponents and pundits promote their favorites as the only answer.

In reality, there is not a single answer. There is never a single answer.

Value Chain

IT4IT - IT Departament Value Chain While an IT Department has a very consistent value chain. It doesn't matter whether the IT Service is a pure-back office or the digital product that defines the company. The value chain is Plan, Build, Deliver, Run.

We execute the common value chain differently for back office and customer-facing digital services.

This is the single greatest challenge for an IT Department. Everyone else gets to know if they are in the enterprise's primary or supporting value chain. Digital products and services could be both. Think about Seven Lever's 1st Lever - Digitize Processes. You design a back-office process for efficiency and a customer facing process to support the customer value proposition.

The engagement of IT's services in different parts of the business value chain is one of the most difficult business architecture challenges.

Capability Model

We jump to IT4IT for an IT Capability Reference Architecture. The base IT4IT Functional Model is very focused on creating and using the Information in the IT4IT Information model. However, it meets the test of a good reference model by accelerating our work and improving the quality of our work.

Where we are working with IT in the enterprise's primary value chain, we use the Business Model Canvas to identify IT Capabilities that directly enable the Customer Value Proposition. Any Key Activities and Key Resources that depend on IT Capabilities must be treated as if they are in the Primary Value Chain.

Information Model

We jump to IT4IT for an IT Information Reference Architecture. It is a comprehensive reference architecture. That tells us every piece of information is used in every IT Organization. The business architect's use of this model is to determine how rigorous or automated the information flows must be. After all, Test Cases can have a wide range of interaction with actual Problems.

Like the IT4IT Capability model, the Information Model speeds up our work and improves its quality. We think about rigor, automation, and integration rather than inventing potential data flows.

IT4IT - IT Information Model Business Architect's Definition of Value

Information technology can be the product, or the service, or perform key-value adding steps in the value chain. The classic information technology organization is torn between optimizing for efficiency and optimizing for value creation.

We always stay close to the classic definition of a value-adding activity from Six Sigma:

  • a customer will pay for it,
  • it transforms (changes form, fit or function) a product or service,
  • it is done the first time correctly.

All discussion of value-adding requires consideration of waste. We should consider every activity to be waste unless it:

  • meets an explicit customer requirement
  • cannot be shown to be performed more economically

Business Architect’s approach to IT involves changing their thinking. We need to stop thinking of IT as a support department. Start thinking about how Information Technology services, from whatever set of suppliers, role of the organization's product and service strategy.

Designing a modern IT-function requires separating inventing, managing and operating information technology from the limitations of a support-oriented IT organization.

Business Architect’s Approach to IT Redesigning IT & Delivery Transformation

One of the most important tasks in business architecture for IT is dealing with IT engagement in the enterprise value chain. Which IT products and services directly contribute to the organization's products or services? Second, identify the IT products that enable in supporting activity.

Everything hangs off of this base model. Just because the IT Product is part of the primary value chain doesn't change the fact it is an IT Product. Its design, life-cycle and operation need best-practice IT approaches. You will always fail by treating an IT product in the primary value chain as anything other than an IT Product.

Arriving at consistent enterprise agility that is in-sync with the market expectations will also have a huge impact on the Business Architecture and IT Architecture of your IT Department.

We have gone as far as duplicating the IT Department to ensure that the  the IT function. Creating one directly aligned to value creation in the primary value chain. The other structured as a support service for back-office support service.

Business Architecture for IT Department, IT4IT Service Backbone

Final Thoughts on the Business Architecture for IT

Most IT organizations have haphazardly evolved without an understanding or focus on their support for the operating model of the company. This damages their ability to support a digital transformation. The 4th of the Seven Levers of Digital Transformation is all about ensuring your IT organization can meet the needs.

You will always fail by treating a Digital Product in the primary value chain as anything other than an IT Product

Start using a deliberate business architecture. Stop designing your IT Department based on the random organizational pressures from technology implementation.

Business Architect’s approach to IT changes this. We deliberately architect the business of the IT department. We impose a Digital Transformation on the IT Organization.

Like any other transformation, IT delivery transformation is a complex endeavor. The distinctiveness of IT reinventing itself is that IT must keep the business running, keep pace with business change, and change itself.

Central to the Business Architect’s Approach to IT is Seven Levers and the IT4IT Reference architecture. Develop a strong business architecture. Use it to test the IT Architecture of your IT Organization.

Developing a Business Architecture for IT is just the first step. You will need to develop an Application Architecture and Technology Architecture. Then combine the gaps into an action in TOGAF Phase E with an Architecture Roadmap.

Simply put, get control of Lever 4!

Our firm prides itself on being a leader regarding best practice enterprise architecture. We either deliver enterprise architecture consulting, or we develop strong enterprise architecture teams.

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