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How has the role of the business architect changed for the enterprise?

Business architecture practice traces back many years, but practice leaders are growing increasingly concerned that the role of the business architect is not maturing quickly enough to meet the insights of our business leaders and growing business demands.

Business enterprises, private and public, are operating in volatile times of instant communications, increasing automation, regulation changes, financial challenges, cyber security threats and demands for business flexibility.

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Business models are at risk. All of this is occurring against a backdrop in the US market with a shortage of 2.6 million knowledge workers. Labor analysts claim that the job of business analyst rates 11th in demand during a poor economy.

Business architecture involves "things" of interest to a business enterprise. Business architects take a holistic or systems thinking approach toward business solutions and do not throw technology at everything. Business models are very complex and multidimensional (like who, when, what, how, where and why). Business architects must address stakeholder concerns, capabilities, metrics, risk, business events, business processes, business rules and business services, just to name a few. 

Business architects demonstrate a unique ability to simplify and communicate terse business models. For example, I attended a talk at BBC 2012 named "Business Architecture Trends and Methods" that Andrew Guitarte, a gifted business architect, presented. He shared valuable trends and methods that Wells Fargo Bank practices.

More pragmatic books are now available, such as Business Architecture: A Practical Guide by Jonathan Whelan and Graham Meaden. This book makes it easier to bring this important practice out of the cloud of words.

Business architecture practice is in the early adoption phase, but at conferences like BA World 2012, BBC 2012 audiences are filling rooms to capacity. There is strong demand to learn more. Business architecture consultants and speakers are in high demand, as I witnessed during my own presentations on business architecture at BA World 2012.

At no time have we needed the benefits of an open, more widely accepted business architecture practice as much as we do now. Who is developing a shared and open practice? Here are the tribes of business architecture worth watching in 2013.

Business Architecture Innovation Summit 2013. Co-Sponsored by Object Management Group Business Architecture Special Interest Group and the Business Architecture Guild, this is a two-day practitioner-focused event. The Business Architecture Innovation Summit will feature business practitioners from industry and government sharing stories about how they deployed business architecture in their organizations.

Building Business Capability 2013. The BBC 2012 Business Architecture Forum was attended by gurus like Zachmann, Burlton, Ross and Silver, to name a few. I also witnessed a wide array of high-caliber speakers and papers. Attendance at BBC has grown 40% every year; BBC 2013 will be better than ever.

The Open Group, TOGAF 9, has contributed strong works on business transformation and business architecture semantics, helping SOA to align with and serve business architectures. Conferences and books have strong support from business and public business leaders. What will TOGAF 10 contribute going forward?

Let's watch on how these tribes collaborate to develop an open business architecture practice and standards we all need.

This was first published in January 2013

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