What does the Future Hold for Business Architecture?

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GR: What do you think the future holds for Business Architecture and what do we have to do to stay in lockstep with the future needs of the organization and the advances we're seeing in technology?

SL: In one of my articles published on the Business Architecture Institute's website, I was making the case that the traditional methods that make up the standard Business Architecture canon, they tend to assume a slow changing, relatively predictable, business environment. A business environment where you don't have major shocks to the system, major external or internal upheavals, essentially an environment that can wait for the business architect to do the architecting.

Now, in real life, I think what we're seeing is that business organizations are subject to continuous change and that change happens in a nonlinear fashion. In the past few years, it really seems like the speed of change in the external environment surrounding today's organization has accelerated and it's probably because of changes in the economic environment, political changes, social changes, technological changes, and all of that gets mirrored into what's happening within an organization. 

What that means is that the internal texture of an organization is continuously pulled in different directions and there's a continuous effort going on to adapt to this push and pull. Just think of what we've seen happening over the past few years, the recession in early 2020, high unemployment, we had the pandemic, the move the virtual work, the change in administration, climate events, the great resignation, high inflation now, perhaps another recession coming up, I can go on and on. So, all of these events, one way or another, have business implications and this internal push and pull generates friction. And the friction that's created, if it's managed properly and if it's treated as a positive development rather than as something negative that needs to be stymied, it can lead to innovations. It can lead to new business strategies, new business processes, governance models, new technologies, new skills, and so on.

What this means for business architects is that there are possibilities for them to ride this wave and to build on the existing body of knowledge and create new and innovative offshoots of the Business Architecture discipline that are perhaps better suited to capture the nonlinear and the rapidly changing nature of the business.

For instance, I can see Business Architects getting deeper into business modeling and perhaps using something like the future wheel framework which is by no means new, but could be coupled with the business generation framework put forth by Alexander Osterwalder (which is a great tool for exploring the strategy for a new business or a new line of business).

Other possible paths that I see is getting into decision modeling, business rules definition, getting into systems dynamics modeling and simulation where there's most likely a role for AI ML. You know, just think about something like architecting a complex supply chain, such as the supply chain for the future space economy, the transport and the exchange of goods and services in space, which is something that some have already started working on. All the methods that I mentioned before, they have a role to play in that.

I'd say that the technologies that we have these days, that are emerging, and the tools that we have, they make it easier and easier for non-technologists to get into the game. I think the closer we get to modeling the organization in motion rather than representing point-in-time-views of the organization, I think the better we’ll be able to inform decision making by predicting where the organization is going to be, given a certain set of circumstances.

To me, this is really the end goal: capturing the organization in motion, being able to make informed predictions that are business relevant.

GR: With all the change that we see, ‘change’ is one of the only constants we have. And those are different opportunities that then need to be mapped to different skills within the organization, and Business Architecture is well positioned to help folks continue to evolve that strategy as it deals with market conditions and new opportunities, mergers and acquisitions and a host of other things along the way.

One of the things you mentioned is folks being able to do things in a more real-time and agile way, some of those things we cover in a new curriculum that we have focused on Digital Transformation, where we talk about Low Code/ No Code platforms and the concept of Citizen Developers. Many organizations are struggling to find resources to do that coding, and so the tools are getting better and better so that folks don't necessarily have to be coders in order to put together applications and dashboards in order to assist the company in fulfilling their strategy or their mission.

Relevant Programs: Business Architecture CertificateDigital Transformation Certificate

Relevant Training Events: Summer Session 2Fall Session 1


Editor’s Note: This is a five-part article and video series.

Watch the entire Top 5 Things to Know About Business Architecture video series

Read the other articles in the series here:

Article 1: What does Business Architecture Mean for You?

Article 2: Do Organizations Understand the Value of Business Architecture?

Article 3: What will Raise the Profile of the Business Architecture Discipline?

Article 4: When does Business Architecture Make a Difference?


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