The modern economy is highly dynamic and, in order to sustain in it, an enterprise has to demonstrate maximum agility to the environmental changes. The agility has to be driven top-to-bottom in the enterprise – from the agility of business to the market to agility of technology to business. Natural Business Architecture (NBA) is the enterprise’s engine for adopting business changes. These changes come from outside and from inside of an enterprise. In both cases, NBA works toward recognition of the changes in the corporate strategy and in the corporate business operational activities.
The specificity of the NBA is in its derivation from the duties of top corporate executives such as Chief Executives (CxE). This type of architecture is provided by Business Architects (BAs) who carry the delegation of business design rights and responsibilities from the CxE. The BAs define what should be done in the business in order to move the enterprise to its strategic goals and objectives; they use the strategic directions and priorities, set by the CxE, and define different categories of Business Capabilities, their models and maps as well as the major Activity Streams. In many SME, the roles of BAs are carried by the CxE.
Thus, with the NBA, all needed decision-makers are naturally involved at the earliest stages of defining enterprise strategy and designing the architectural solutions. However, regardless the architectural solutions, size and organisation of an enterprise, there is a risky area between the solutions and business development/operational functions of the company. These functions instinctively lean to stability and avoidance/resistance to any changes. This is why any design solutions worth very little without governing them into realisation throughout the rest of the enterprise. This case study is about experience in architectural governance realised in one LOB of one of the largest banks in the UK.
This business case comprises following facts: a) the majority of Business Capabilities are defined, though not necessarily designed yet; b) the Business Strategy and Transformation Plans are defined also and the business divisions and teams started to implement the capabilities. As usual, every business and technology team wanted to accompany the strategic tasks and requirements with their local tasks, i.e. to implement the strategy when getting their own benefits that the team management wanted. This is expressed via requirements for funds, functional/operational changes and related resources.
At the same time, the CxE’s started to form a team of BAs engaging some senior business managers and Directors. In order to drive the strategic designs through the realisation and coordinate requests from different business and technology teams, a special management unit, which included the BA, has been created. The presentation describes the architectural governance – policies and controls – created by BAs and realised during the implementation of Business Capabilities and related design and solutions.
As a result, for only 8 months of such governance, the flow of requirements dropped for about 60% and the LOB was able to realise the strategy debts absorbed for the last 3 years.