Business agility is not an option Business agility is, among other things, the ability to change rapidly and safely in response to, or in anticipation of, relevant changes in the external environment. For every organisation, business agility is not an option. Here is a list of some of the ways in which the best business analysts and business architects can provide real value by supporting their organisation’s capability to achieve business agility. Ensure that all business and IS/IT … [Read more...] about How business analysts can help achieve business agility
A business architecture is increasingly recognised as a tool that facilitates linking an organisation's vision and strategy to the execution of that strategy and the realisation of the vision. It can link business strategy and capabilities to IS/IT strategy.
Unfortunately, attempts to create a business architecture can end in failure. This can be the result of the business architect evangelists trying to advance things too quickly, before the business stakeholders have had time to appreciate what business architecture is all about.
The large management consultancies, working with well established contacts at the boardroom level, are well placed to adopt a top down approach, starting at the level of business strategy and capabilities and working towards execution.
We assume that our audience consists mainly of business analysts. We also assume that BAs do not generally have a seat at the boardroom table. For the moment, therefore, we will take a more 'bottom up' approach, or at least, a 'middle out' approach. This involves gradually gaining credibility through the delivery of services and capabilities that can be readily understood, appreciated, and valued.
Among many other things, a business architecture can define the artifacts that comprise and support the business. It can therefore be a critical tool in the management of change, whether instigated to respond to changes to the external environment or to exploit technical advances that can deliver competitive advantages.
For the time being, we will scope our discussions to only 3 of the many possible aspects of a business architecture:
- Business Processes
- Business Rules
- Business Data
For the business analyst, at least in the early days of creating a business architecture, these are perhaps the most obvious areas to be concerned with. The business community can readily understand what you are proposing. Starting with more abstract concepts can be a difficult sell.
The three areas mentioned above are also those areas where it is probably easiest to demonstrate results. These results can the increase credibility of the business analysis team. This credibility make it easier to win support for extending the scope of the business architecture 'programme'. And by establishing the ground work for a business architecture, you will increase your understanding of the business, its strategies, capabilities and concept of value.
The following articles concern our three aspects of business architecture.
Where are your business rules? Do you document your business rules somewhere out of sight, e.g. coded in: Database stored procedures? Software applications? Do you perhaps document them as part of the description of your Business data? Business rules can be reflected in the data model Business processes? Business processes will be constrained by business rules Requirements for computer systems? Requirements will reflect business rules but they not, themselves, … [Read more...] about How well do you know your business rules?
Data for business agility Data reveals the current state of an organisation’s business. Data provides transparency to processes; it shows the current state of any particular transaction and the cumulative results of multiple transactions. Data can be interpreted to support decisions that affect the future of the organisation. It is a resource that can be harnessed to improve the performance and agility of any organisation. To harness this resource, it is essential to organise and … [Read more...] about How well do you know your business data?
Processes and value Organisations, commercial and non commercial, serve groups of people who can be regarded as clients or customers. It is essential that every organisation understands what these customers value. The organisation must create that value and create a strategy to deliver it. Business process improvement must be based on: Understanding of the customers Awareness of what they value Appreciation of the strategy to deliver that value. This is the basis for … [Read more...] about How well do you know your business processes?
Is this you? Have you ever struggled to capture business rules or requirements that involve multiple conditions? If yes, you’re not alone. I’ve met many business analysts struggling to specify business rules and multiple conditions using techniques such as user stories or traditional requirements formats. And they end up in a tangle. When I demonstrate decision tables, it’s like an epiphany. I’ve even had analysts ask if they’re allowed to use the technique – “Shouldn’t we be using … [Read more...] about Simplify your business rules with decision tables
A Process Hierarchy The adjacent diagram shows a hierarchy of activities. Each is named in the verb noun format, and is singular, i.e. ‘Fulfil Order’, not ‘Fulfil Orders‘ It is common to refer to the activity at the top of such a hierarchy as a ‘Process’ and the activities at the bottom as ‘Tasks’. This suggestion for terminology was made by Sharpe and McDermott in there book, “Workflow Modelling”. The diagram at the right is often referred to as a ‘process hierarchy’. It allows us … [Read more...] about Simple Steps for Better Business Process Design