A business architect is a practitioner of business architecture, a discipline concerned with developing and maintaining business capabilities of the enterprise in line with the corporate strategy as well as contributing to the business strategy and plans. This also includes design of capability models and related architectural solutions of business tasks, mapping capability functionality to the internal and external resources, developing business transformation plans jointly with senior business management, handling business solutions to the delivery and operational business functions of the company, developing and maintaining architectural governance and controls over implementation. For each step of the business transformation plan, business architects contribute in development of a blueprint of the enterprise in order to promote a common understanding of the organization and alignment of strategic objectives with tactical demands.
Given that the business architecture as a distinct discipline is relatively young, the role of a business architect is often relative to the organization. A business architect can operate on one or more levels of the organization depending on the level of maturity of the architecture practice within that organization. Nonetheless, there is a difference between architectural and analysis works: the former concerns core organising rather abstractive organisation of business while the latter is more about implementation of architectural abstractions.
- At the macro level, a business architect establishes principles and governing policies over interaction with suppliers, partners and all types of outsourcing while the corporate executives work on the vision, desired target state and the benefits the organization brings to its stakeholders.
- At the strategic level, a business architect supplements the vision with target capabilities, supporting principles and policies and a current state environmental assessment to provide contextual rationale
- At the program level, a business architect translates strategic initiatives into delivery-focused change initiatives.
- At the lowest level, a role of business architect is usually replaced by a role of product owner, scrum master, business analyst who engages with the project with the main purpose of communicating architecture and promoting project's alignment with it.
Since a business architecture practice is closely related to the discipline of enterprise architecture in a way that it provides a foundation for the enterprise architecture, the role of a business architect is sometimes fulfilled by an enterprise architect.
Skills and competencies
Skills and competencies of a business architect determine the level of an organization at which the architect can operate. In a broader sense, it is the combination of soft skills, knowledge of business, system thinking, change management techniques, awareness in business changes in the economic environment and technology. More specifically, commonly sought after characteristics of a good business architect are:
- Sound understanding of business principles and concepts. This goes beyond just understanding of realisation of these concepts via business processes. It encompasses understanding of how markets influence business, what are the differentiating factors of the business, what and how values are created, and how strategy development may be supported.
- Ability to think about business in a way that is abstracted from how business functions are implemented by technology.
- Consulting mindset, which allows a business architect to support the strategy development
- Design thinking, which enables synthesizing of many ideas into big-picture view that shows the connection between business intention and business action.
- Being an agent for change, who uses business architecture to agitate and initiate action and challenge others via business designs and solutions, which drive requirements to the business operational and organisational structures.
A Guide to Business Architecture Body of Knowledge by the Business Architecture Guild publishes evolving list of skills and competencies for business architects and for other roles relevant to the business architecture practice. Additionally, the major areas of concerns of business architects are depicted for the Business Architecture in a Dynamic Market.
- Poulin, Michael (2013). Architects Know What Managers Don't: Business Architecture for Dynamic Market. BuTechCon. ISBN 978-0-9575199-0-9.
- Object Management Group, Business Architecture Working Group, "Definition of business architecture," at bawg.omg.org, 2010.; Cited in: William M. Ulrich, Philip Newcomb. Information Systems Transformation: Architecture-Driven Modernization Case Studies. (2010), p.4.
- Jonathan Whelan and Graham Meaden, Business Architecture, A Practical Guide, 2012.
- FEAPO, A Common Perspective on Enterprise Architecture, Architecture and Governance Magazine, 2013(11): 1–2.
- Business Architecture Guild, A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge, v 4.1 (BIZBOK® Guide), 2014. Part 6, Section 6.2, Page 374
- Business Architecture Guild, A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge, v 4.1 (BIZBOK® Guide), 2014. Appendix B.2, Page 470
- The Subject and Discipline of Business Architecture, Poulin, Michael, InfoQ online, December 02, 2013
- Business Architect Job Description, at Business Architecture Institute