What does the Future Hold for Business Architecture?

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Editor & Founder, DBizInstitute.org, BPMInstitute.org & BAInstitute.org
With over 25 years experience building and creating professional communities, Gregg Rock is recognized as an industry leader in professional training and education vital to helping enterprise organizations support their transformation initiatives. His work has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Financial Times, CIO Magazine, and New York Times. Throughout his career Gregg has developed communities, hosted executive networking forums and the formation of advisory boards on topics ranging from IT security and outsourcing to multimedia and Y2K, but is most widely associated with his accomplishments in the areas of Business Process Management (BPM), Digital Business (DBiz), Business Architecture (BA), and Cloud Computing. BPM in particular is a widely accepted approach for designing enterprise organizational and information systems. This focus on process-related skills is creating demand for BPM content, collaboration, and training resources by corporations—a niche Gregg has spent years to fill. In 1997, Gregg founded BrainStorm Group and the network of BrainStorm Communities, consisting of discipline-specific web portals for BPM, BA, and SOA practitioners to network and receive education, professional training online and through live in-person events. This has enabled over 100,000 practitioners from over 125 countries to collaborate and share best practices, online and face-to-face. BrainStorm Communities feature a comprehensive suite of member services including newsletters, discussion groups, blogs, virtual and live events, live and online training, certificate programs, and professional certification. During his tenure, Gregg has produced more than 100 industry events in North America, South America, EMEA, and Australia attended by over 300,000 professionals. He led the development of the Certified Business Process Management Professional program. Harnessing the collective intelligence of leading BPM subject matter experts, this certification establishes an objective evaluation of a BPM professional’s knowledge, skill, and ability. He recently led the launch of BrainStorm's newest Community, focused on Digital Business and Transformation - DBizInstitute.org. Gregg also earned his private pilot license in 1991 and remains an active member of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). When not flying, he’s active in his community and enjoys coaching little league, soccer, and lacrosse for his children.
Director of Operations and Strategic Initiatives, Leidos
Simona Lovin is a seasoned business and IT executive, currently driving strategic initiatives in Leidos' Government Health group. Previously, she led operations for Cognosante's portfolio of Veterans Affairs engagements. Her diverse and successful background in business development, delivery management and enterprise architecture gives her a unique perspective on blending architectural theory and practice to generate sustainable results. For the past twenty years, Simona has focused primarily on the delivery of strategic planning, business architecture and enterprise architecture consulting services for major governmental and commercial organizations. Simona led and strengthened the Enterprise Architecture practices for the World Bank/International Finance Corporation; Vangent, Inc.’s Health Division; and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Public Sector line of business. Her overall sector expertise includes government, healthcare, international development, investment services, higher education, and telecommunications. Simona holds a Master of Business Administration from the Heriot-Watt University, the Edinburgh School of Business, and a Master of Science in Computer Science from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania.

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.

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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