Business Architecture Survey Results

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In December 2007 through January 2008, the BPM Institute surveyed the Business Architecture Bulletin list to gain insights into the nature of business architecture work. The survey’s goal was to identify who is performing business architecture work, ascertain related goals, determine the nature of the work being performed and identify service and tool preferences.

Who Did We Survey?

There were 60 individuals responding from 60 organizations. To determine who these individuals were, we asked people their titles and internal affiliations. The survey found the following.

  • 80% of respondents were business people
  • 20% of respondents were affiliated with the information technology (IT) organization
  • 28% were either executives or managers
  • 72% were architects, analysts or other categories

Defining Business Architecture

In order to ensure that everyone was on the same page, we wanted to determine concurrence on our definition of business architecture. We asked people if they agreed or disagreed with the following definition. “A formal blueprint of governance structures, business semantics and value streams across the extended enterprise.”

This definition is posted on the Business Architecture Work Group site and on our Business Architecture Homepage. Eighty five percent (85%) of respondents concurred with this definition. Of the 15% that did not agree with the above definition, respondents felt the definition should be broadened to include:

  • Business drivers
  • Dynamic simulation
  • Products and projects
  • Business rules
  • Less passive positioning

Who is the Business Architect?

We wanted to know what type of work was being performed by the respondents who, by definition, have an interest or stake in business architecture. Respondents could check multiple items. We found that of the survey respondents:

  • Over 2/3 are involved in business architecture analysis, documentation and/or management
  • Over 2/3 are involved in business analysis and/or business modeling
  • Almost 2/3 are involved in business requirements analysis
  • Half of respondents are involved in strategic planning
  • Half of respondents are involved in program and/or project management
  • More than 1/3 are involved in governance work or organizational change
  • More than 1/3 are involved in IT analysis and/or IT architecture activities

The multiple roles of analysis, modeling and requirements analysis embody key aspects of business architecture work. Also notable is that more than a third of respondents were involved in the important task of enterprise governance and organizational change.

Who Owns the Business Architecture Function?

We asked people if they had a formal organizational unit(s) called “Business Architecture” in their enterprise.

  • More than 1/3 had one or more business architecture units
  • Just under 2/3 had no formal business architecture unit

For those with formal business architecture units, we asked where this unit or these units reside and where they receive funding. Note that several respondents had multiple units in multiple locations.

  • Eighteen respondents had business architecture units within various business units
  • Eight respondents had business architecture units residing within IT
  • Two respondents had a business architecture unit that was outside of IT and outside of the business units

What Do People Hope to Accomplish?

We asked those with business architecture initiatives or a business architecture unit planned or in place about their goals. Respondents were allowed to check multiple items.

  • Increase business agility, efficiency, effectiveness  - 82%
  • Streamline business processes across business units  - 77%
  • Improve ability to specify business requirements to IT  - 60%
  • Align business terminology, semantics across business units  - 42%
  • Streamline supply and distribution chains or other external relationships  - 27%

Tooling & Service Usage & Interests

We asked if respondents are planning to license one or more tools to support business architecture over the course of the next year. We found:

  • Over half plan to license business process modeling suites
  • 1/3 plan to license enterprise architecture repository
  • 1/4 plan to license multidimensional business modeling tools
  • Of the tools used, Visio is used by close to half of the respondents

We also asked respondents what types of services they plan to engage to support their business architecture efforts.

  • Close to half plan to engage management consultants or management advisory services
  • Around 1/4 plan to engage a systems integrator
  • Roughly 15% plan to use data services

What are People’s Key Business Architecture Interests?

       Finally, we asked what aspects of business architecture people are most interested in learning about. We allowed respondents to check multiple items. Two thirds of respondents said:

  • Achieve business transformation through business architecture
  • Leverage business architecture to drive tactics, strategies and decision making
  • Obtain improved insights into alignment of organization, processes, information and business goals
  • Align business requirements and business architecture with IT architecture

Over half of respondents said:

  • Visualize and streamline business value streams
  • Define / deploy / support modeling standards, notations, meta-models and tools
  • Drive cross-functional business intelligence efforts

Over one third of respondents said:

  • Visualize and align business governance structures
  • Improve understanding of business semantics across enterprise

Summary of Survey Findings

In summary, the survey points to some interesting findings and trends. Consider that:

  • Business architecture holds high expectations in terms of benefits sought
  • Interests tend to be strategic (not tactical)
  • Organizations are establishing teams and roles to address business architecture
  • More work is being performed by the business as opposed to IT
  • Organizations are seeking education, tools and outside help to enable these efforts


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