In our earlier blog titled: “Inspired business” we drew a parallel between the construction industry and the business architecture industry. We discussed that an architect will ensure that all the building requirements are reflected in the architecture drawings. Now, it is common for architects to sketch out their initial design intentions before formal architectural plans are created and approved. These sketches become the first means of communication with the structural engineers and other stakeholders.
My view is that if a business undertook to understand its intent and have tested the viability of every offering to its customers, it has in fact developed something similar to “architectural sketches”. These sketches serve a very specific purpose. It points the direction / parameters for actual development, potential growth and most importantly provides a view of what wants to be achieved. I would go as far to argue that if you have not gained this knowledge of your business your chances of success or sustainability are hindered dramatically.
Transcribing draft business architectural sketches to structured business architectural drawings or plans requires a similar discipline deployed in the construction industry. As a first step, one has to determine the most important or “driving” architectural plan. In our construction example this will most probably be the structural architectural plan. All the other architectural drawings such as the electrical, sewerage, etc. drawings are created using the structural architecture as a base. I believe that business activities fulfil a similarly important role for business as what the structural architecture do for construction. This implies that other business architectural elements such as information, work allocation, measurements etc. should be developed in consideration of the activity architecture.
The challenge now is how to interpret the outcomes of the business intent and formulate a goal that would reflect the WHYand the HOW of your business. This is not a measly task, but if done correctly the business architecture drawings that will follow would inherit the business’s intent. The next step would be to describe the activities needed to achieve this goal. At this point you would most probably include your “core” activities required to achieve the goal as well as all the supporting activities such as human resources, administration, finance, etc.
Perhaps this is a similar thought to Porter’s value chain with the primary objective of providing architectural structure to your business architectural sketches and to translate the findings of your business intent and your business model into your business architecture.