Business Architecture

A Business Architecture defines the structure of your organization in terms of its governance structure, business processes, business services and products, business information and stakeholders. A business architecture outlines the relation to strategic goals towards a working system. So in short a business architecture can be regarded as a blueprint of the working of an organization. By using a business architecture your organisation can handle changes and problems with less cost and in less time since you know all the important dependencies, relation and information flows.  Every successful organisation, small or large, SHOULD have a business architecture. A business architecture does not have to be fully descriptive, complete or created among a certain standard. Designing organisations and describing the working of an organisation is know to be complex and hard. However simple tools exist to create a meaningful business architecture for your organisation.

This section is created to speed up the process for creating a real business architecture.

You can use one of the following tools:

  • Business architecture template(s)

  • (Re)use  business principles

  • Modeling your business processes

  • Defining your business products

Tools for creating a business architecture

To speed up the process of creating your business architecture you can make use of one of the following tools:

  • Collection of many nice design principles used by companies (180+ examples).

  • Archi.  Archi™ GUI tool for creating a business architecture using the ArchiMate modelling™ language. The Archi tool is targeted toward all levels of Architects. The tool is MIT Licensed, so it provides a low cost solution to users who are looking for a free, open ArchiMate modeling tool.

  • Causal Loop Diagram. Tool to make easy causal loop diagrams in your browser. A causal loop diagram (CLD) is a causal diagram that aids in visualizing how different variables in a system are interrelated. This FOSS tool has an nice animation to presents effects also! The original (OSS) source can be found here. But the version on NOComplexity.com is a (GPL) fork with some extra features ( source code ).

  • Camunda Modeler. Camunda Modeler is an OSS desktop application for editing BPMN process diagrams(2.0) and DMN decision tables. Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) is the global standard for process modeling and one of the most important components of successful Business-IT-Alignment. BPMN is an open standard. But there are not many good OSS available packages available. Camunda Modeler is an OSS BPMN solution and is part of an open source platform for workflow and business process management. So when you use the Camunda Suite you can also use the execution engine for your processes you have modeled.

  • Protégé. Protégé is an OSS web or desktop application that can be used for building business ontologies.

  • DrawIO. A online FOSS program to create diagrams. Its a very advanced, but also very simple to use program to create all types of (business) diagrams. UML, BPMN, ArchiMate, swimlane diagrams and many more. If you like to create good diagrams fast, think of using this program. Since its FOSS the source can be found on https://github.com/jgraph/drawio if you want to host it yourself. There is also a desktop version (electron build) of draw.io. Check https://github.com/jgraph/drawio-desktop.

Business architecture templates

Creating a business architecture means doing real business research. However for a quality business architecture it make sense to make use of a draft template. From a template you can easily add, remove or change subjects that need special attention within your context. Also since architecture documents always should be created for a clear business goal and to be used by different stakeholders, all quality documents SHOULD contain some default reusable text blocks.

Using business viewpoints

Viewpoints can provide benefit to address specific concerns for certain stakeholders. Below a list of most used viewpoint within a business architecture:

  • Motivation view: describes what the business achieves for itself and its stakeholders (direct and indirect value).

  • Capability view: describes how the business delivers direct and indirect value in response to the challenges of the environment.

  • Activity view: describes the day-to-day behaviour of the business.

  • Responsibility view: captures the relationships between individuals and organizations in terms of responsibilities and commitments. These  relationships and organizational interfaces may be represented as business services.

Help for creating a business architecture