More and more, businesses are looking for experts in business architecture to chart a clear path as they undergo digital business transformation. These individuals formulate business blueprints designed to provide a common understanding of the organization. They align strategic objectives with tactical demands, specifically the technologies needed to deliver on the promise of digital transformation.
Employees equipped with business architecture skills have the potential to help companies collaborate more effectively, increase return on investment for new technologies and open up new growth opportunities.
What Business Architects Do
What, in a nutshell, is business architecture? It is the practice of combining deep business acumen with strong technical knowledge to develop and execute digital roadmaps. Business architecture professionals work to identify critical business functions and map technology solutions to business outcomes. There are two primary roles that they can play:
Internal analyst: Business architecture professionals in an enterprise setting may be employed to focus on internal challenges. These professionals often come from varied backgrounds, including product managers, technical leads or engineers. Having navigated enterprise architecture frameworks, they can look at business needs from an insider’s perspective and determine what technologies and digital transformation milestones will best serve the organization’s strategic goals.
Customer consultant: Business architects who work for technology vendors or solution providers serve as trusted partners to the companies their solutions are sold to – they help enterprise customers identify and get more value from their digital transformation initiatives and drive business outcomes. Their work involves four primary areas: enterprise architecture, technical consulting, business management and consultative selling.
There is a broad range of skills – including a foundational understanding of routing/switching, wireless, collaboration, security and other technologies that businesses rely on – which business architecture professionals cultivate. These technical skills and capabilities are complemented by business acumen and a practical view of how enterprises work. Business architecture is best applied with a deep understanding of digital journeys, business roadmaps and how to map specific business priorities to outcomes and solutions.
Employed by a technology vendor, business architects serve as customer consultants and typically partner with organizations at the start of the sales process to address customer needs. This requires extensive communication before, during and after technological deployment. Considerations such as meeting quotas or trying to move a particular product take a back seat to business goals. Instead, the business architecture professional takes into account the maturity level of the organization and works to provide solutions best suited to the customers’ needs and organizations’ capabilities.
When working for a large organization as an internal analyst, business architecture professionals assume a strategic mindset, evaluating how different technologies could be used to activate business goals, such as reducing costs, growing revenue or improving efficiency. These individuals must work across the enterprise, collaborating with business and IT departments, to determine strategic priorities and map those priorities to specific digital transformation initiatives. Technical expertise, collaboration and business acumen are vital skills in this role.
A Real-World Example
Across sectors, business architecture is a transformational aid. A great example comes from General Electric subsidiary GE Aviation. When GE Aviation transformed its business model from selling jet engines to providing a host of performance enhancements across the management of a flight, the company needed to find ways to drive adoption and integration of new services and drive additional value.
This is where a business architecture professional, working as an internal analyst, entered the scene. In order to drive adoption for GE Aviation, the business architecture professional worked to identify pain points, map solutions and integrate the correct technologies and services in order to drive incremental value. Essentially, the business architecture professional drove service adoption and growth for GE Aviation by mapping outcomes to digital solutions.
Maximize Your Organization’s Potential
Organizations going through digital business transformation are looking for ways to build and strengthen the bridge between technology solutions and business needs. Business architecture professionals help in this endeavor. They can serve as customer consultants to maximize customer interactions, enable sales and assist with customers’ digital transformation goals. Or they can create a path for organizational success as internal analysts.
Organizations can capitalize on the potential of business transformation by developing talent with both the technical and business acumen to connect strategic objectives with tactical technology-based outcomes. Currently, only about 15 percent of organizations feel they have the right talent in place to achieve their digital business transformation initiatives. By cultivating these skills through training and certifications specific to the practice of business architecture, organizations are well positioned to deliver on the promise of business success, now and for the future.