Are we ready for a new C-Level Executive: The CBA?

Registration is free. Login or register to view/download this content.


Enterprise Business Architect, Independent Consultant
Ralph Whittle is co-author of a book titled, Enterprise Business Architecture: The Formal Link between Strategy and Results, CRC Press 2004. He is a Strategic Business/IT Consultant and subject matter expert in Enterprise Business Architecture development and implementation. He has built Enterprise Business Architectures in various industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, financial, and technology. He has worked in the IT industry for over 26 years, conducting engagements in enterprise business process modeling, strategic/tactical business planning, enterprise business requirements analysis, enterprise business architecture and IT architecture integration, strategic frameworks integration with systems development methodologies and IT service offering enhancement. He is a co-inventor of a patented Strategic Business/IT Planning framework.

During lunch at the September 2006 BPMInstitute and BrainStorm Group conference in Washington, DC, Tom Dwyer and Eugene Lee posed an interesting question to the conference attendees. Who will fill the position of Business Architect for the enterprise? Almost immediately, hands were raised and one respondent suggested that an experienced and seasoned Enterprise Architect (EA) practitioner should fill the role. Another suggested a well rounded business operations person with an MBA. Tom allowed some discussion but moved off the topic in the interest of time. However, I believe a most interesting and spirited discussion would have ensued had time been available.

I certainly think we are ready to ask this question and perhaps answer it, too! Before we get to an answer, let’s think for a few minutes about the needs and qualifications for a Business Architect. The enterprise needs Business Architects experienced in running crucial areas of business and with strategic prescience for designing the business of the future.

From the business perspective, some serious operational experience with the core business is a must, coupled with several assignments in key leadership positions. An MBA is certainly a welcomed addition to the profile as well as some professional training and various industry certifications. Participation in business architecture and process design projects, along with development and implementation of several important strategic initiatives that included defining the IT requirements and supporting technology are also required.

We must also consider the IT perspective, too! Since IT is an important enabler to a successful enterprise, some significant experience in systems development and integration is a must. Expertise from programming to project management is critical, and participation in IT architecture design and infrastructure build out are essential. Here again, professional IT training and certifications are welcomed as well. Development of IT strategies aligned with the business coupled with innovative solutions in support of the corporate strategy is an absolute necessity.

I should expand the above two paragraphs to include many more desirable experiences, qualifications, skills and traits, but I think you get the idea. We might also realize that we are lacking job descriptions and career development plans for Business Architects. Maybe we should ask another interesting question. Are we even considering Business Architect career paths? As for me, I am not aware of any collegiate curriculums focused on the business architecture discipline nor am I aware of any professional training or certification programs.

As the qualifications described above get better defined, one might conclude that no such individual currently exists since no career plans exist to develop them! So what do we do? In today’s environment, I suggest the enterprise fill the role of Business Architect with two people; one meeting the business qualifications and the other meeting the IT qualifications. The pair is expected to redesign, or to design the enterprise of the future, based on C-level strategic direction. Using the business architecture as a tool, they must focus on opportunity identification, industry trends, anticipation of market forces and emerging technologies. They must ignore daily problem solving activities and operate unencumbered by task managers. Therefore, they are totally committed to future building initiatives, inspired by legendary C-level executives and challenged with building the next generation of the enterprise. They must use the business architecture to see the enterprise as it has never been seen before, developing keen insights into the future and discovering hidden opportunities. After all, the pair will create the new corporate blueprint for the future and they will determine the rules that measure success. Considering these points of view, perhaps we should refer to this pair of individuals as the Business Architect “paradigm twins.”

Once the “paradigm twins” are assigned their Business Architect responsibilities, they are simply turned loose on the enterprise, seeking ways to gain a competitive advantage, increase customer satisfaction and improve business performance. Led and guided by the strategy, and working with key executives and personnel in both the business and IT organizations, they are required to find solutions to business opportunities, such at those in product and service development along with significant productivity improvements.

I might even consider having them report to a senior business unit executive, the corporate President or CEO. Some might consider the Business Architect as a future President or CEO candidate and I heartily agree. Perhaps in the near future, we could develop capable candidates meeting both the business an IT qualifications, eventually, having one person fill the role with the title of Chief Business Architect (CBA).

Are we ready for a Chief Business Architect? Maybe not just yet, but we are definitely ready for the Business Architect “paradigm twins” and we are certainly ready for the results we want them to deliver.

Similar Resources

Featured Certificate: BPM Specialist

Everyone starts here.

You're looking for a way to improve your process improvement skills, but you're not sure where to start.

Earning your Business Process Management Specialist (BPMS) Certificate will give you the competitive advantage you need in today's world. Our courses help you deliver faster and makes projects easier.

Your skills will include building hierarchical process models, using tools to analyze and assess process performance, defining critical process metrics, using best practice principles to redesign processes, developing process improvement project plans, building a center of excellence, and establishing process governance.

The BPMS Certificate is the perfect way to show employers that you are serious about business process management. With in-depth knowledge of process improvement and management, you'll be able to take your business career to the next level.

Learn more about the BPM Specialist Certificate





  • Business Process Management Specialist
  • Earning your Business Process Management Specialist (BPMS) Certificate will provide you with a distinct competitive advantage in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. With in-depth knowledge of process improvement and management, you’ll be able to take your business career to the next level.
  • BPM Professional Certificate
    Business Process Management Professional
  • Earning your Business Process Management Professional (BPMP) Certificate will elevate your expertise and professional standing in the field of business process management. Our BPMP Certificate is a tangible symbol of your achievement, demonstrating your in-depth knowledge of process improvement and management.


BPM Certification

  • Make the most of your hard-earned skills. Earn the respect of your peers and superiors with Business Process Management Certification from the industry's top BPM educational organization.




  • Operational Excellence Specialist
  • Earning your Operational Excellence Specialist Certificate will provide you with a distinct advantage in driving organizational excellence and achieving sustainable improvements in performance.


OpEx Professional Certificate

  • Operational Excellence Professional
  • Earn your Operational Excellence Professional Certificate and gain a competitive edge in driving organizational excellence and achieving sustainable improvements in performance.



  • Agile BPM Specialist
  • Earn your Agile BPM Specialist Certificate and gain a competitive edge in driving business process management (BPM) with agile methodologies. You’ll gain a strong understanding of how to apply agile principles and concepts to business process management initiatives.  

Business Architecture



  • Business Architecture Specialist
  • The Business Architecture Specialist (BAIS) Certificate is proof that you’ve begun your business architecture journey by committing to the industry’s most meaningful and credible business architecture training program.

  • Business Architecture Professional
  • When you earn your Business Architecture Professional (BAIP) Certificate, you will be able to design and implement a governance structure for your organization, develop and optimize business processes, and manage business information effectively.

BA CertificationCertification

  • Make the most of your hard-earned skills. Earn the respect of your peers and superiors with Business Architecture Certification from the industry's top BPM educational organization.




  • Digital Transformation Specialist
  • Earning your Digital Transformation Specialist Certificate will provide you with a distinct advantage in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. 


  • Digital Transformation Professional
  • The Digital Transformation Professional Certificate is the first program in the industry to cover all the key pillars of Digital Transformation holistically with practical recommendations and exercises.



  • Agile Business Analysis Specialist
  • Earning your Agile Business Analysis Specialist Certificate will provide you with a distinct advantage in the world of agile software development.


  • DAS Certificate
  • Decision Automation Specialist
  • Earning your Decision Automation Certificate will empower you to excel in the dynamic field of automated decision-making, where data-driven insights are pivotal to driving business innovation and efficiency.