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My Favorite Business Architecture book



Just want to write a quick post on a topic near-and-dear to my heart – Business Architecture. A couple years back, I read a book written in 2006 by MIT Sloan School of Management authors Jeane Ross and Peter Weill (as well as David Robertson) – who also wrote the standand text on IT Governance – titled Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: A Foundation for Business Execution.

Well, this was a great book, because for my it introduced the notion of a Business Operating Model. A Business Operating Model is important for several key reasons: (i) it provides a formal model for translating business strategy into execution, and (ii) it focuses on end-to-end view and integration of core business processes, (iii) it necessarily defines key business capabilities that must be implemented in the underlying IT architecture.

Ross and Weill’s book focuses more on how a busines operating model varies along two key dimensions – the degree of “integration” and the degree of “standardization”. Their framework is presented in the slide below:

OperatingModeldimensions

To discuss one of the 4 operating models presented above, let’s look at Delta Airlines, and example of a company that has a “Unification”-style Operating model. The following diagrams depicts how Delta’s operating model is implemented as an Enterprise Architecture.

DeltasUnificationOperatingModel

The key Architectural mechanism here is the basically an Enterprise Event Bus, which services as an integration backplane between their front-end and back-end operational systems.

Finally, the book has a wonderful analysis of something the authors call Enterprise Architecture maturity. Ross and Weill’s Architecture Maturity Model is presented below, and it’s basically a story of how a business evolves from a collection of operating silos to an integrated platform of business capabilities.

ArchitectureMaturityStages

There are a number of presentations by the authors explaining their ideas. Their findings are backed by extensive research with Fortune 500 companies, so there’s solid imperical evidence for their findings.

Hope this post captures the interest of some of you. Let me know if it does.

Glenn

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