What is the Connection Between Business Architecture and Digital Transformation?

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Gregg Rock interviews Ed Hunt in November 2021.

GR: How do you explain the connection between business architecture and digital transformation?

EH: Well, as you know, I’ve been in the industry a long time. For 40 years, we've been using automation technology to transform an organization—to digitize it—and the new tools that we have available today just allow us to continue to do that in a more exciting way.

What's important about business architecture is that it actually allows an organization to understand the operational complexity of the business: How has the business evolved since BA has come to market? I do a lot of work in the financial services sector, and most are a collection of organizations and business processes acquired through consolidation and expansion. That core operation was never designed to meet the needs of its current operations, so you have to step back and say, “how has the industry changed?”, or, “how is cryptocurrency going to fundamentally transform the financial services industry?”. Everything has changed.

Crypto is similar in some regards, and it's different in others. And, through using business architecture, you can help identify the impact of process, the impact of data structures, the impact of people in organizational distribution, the organizational interaction models which have changed—all of that has to be figured out. The business architect in the business architecture practices are central to solving that business problem, to communicating in models, and allowing all parts of the organization (from the product folks, to the business management leaders, to the operations teams, and the technology teams), to come to a common understanding of how the organization needs to be transformed. And, I believe you can't do that without business architecture.

GR: I think that's a great point, and there's things that folks are doing in one division, or one department of the company, that may be adversely affecting other applications and platforms there. And, I think I also steal this phrase from you, “agility by design”. Can you elaborate on what that phrase means?

EH: Certainly. The way to address complex organizations is to model it, but also break it down into a collection of simple components and that's the practice of business architecture—you have to define and design that structure. And, if you can create that blueprint using your business architecture models, now everybody can look at that, they can validate it, they can break the model, they can fix the model, long before you start to build things. So, when everyone has a clear blueprint of the business and understands the operational implications of bringing this new product or service to the market or serving a different geography, then you can execute because you have to have a clear understanding of what that looks like.

GR: Excellent, very good. Well, for those of you that would like to learn more about ED’s current work, you'll see some of his contributions available on the BA Institute website, as well as on our newly updated on-demand version of Business Architecture 101.


Relevant Courses: BA 101Building a Business Architecture: Part 1Building a Business Architecture: Part 2Launching Your Business Architecture Practice

Relevant Certificates: Business Architecture Professional Certificate (BAIP) ; Digital Transformation Certificate 


Editors Note: 

Watch the entire Need to Know: Business Architecture video series. 

Read the other articles in the series here: 

Article 1: What is Business Architecture? 

Article 2: Why is Business Architecture Important to IT Delivery? 

Article 3: How Does Business Architecture Improve Business Outcomes?

Article 5: How Does Business Architecture Enable Execution?

Article 6: How Does Business Architecture Assist Organizations from Strategy to Execution?


Want to be featured in the next Need to Know series to share your expertise? Get in touch - we'd love to hear from you. 


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