A business is made up of many component parts. Some are tangible, such as equipment, buildings and people. Some are intangible: organizational structures, software, and processes. Then there are the external aspects, like partners, suppliers and regulatory bodies.
These make up the business ecosystem. These components need to interact and work together to deliver value to the customer. And they work together to return revenue.
Understanding this ecosystem, and how its elements interact with one another, is critical to maintain a competitive edge in the age of customer empowerment and digital disruption.
This, then, is the essence of Business Architecture.
To accurately answer questions such as who, what, where, when and why about a business, the ecosystem must be documented in some sort of commonly-understood abstract format, or blueprint.
The development of this blueprint, with its key views and mapped relationships, is the realm of the Business Architect. To do this the architect must define, analyse and visualize what a business does, how it does it, how it is organized and how it realizes value.
Only when this is done can you drive change. Business Architecture can inform the design of competitive structures, support business decisions, implement business plans, leverage existing strengths and identify potential investment opportunities.
Without Business Architecture, every executive retains a different mental model of how the enterprise interacts and delivers value. In these conditions, business decisions will only rarely be optimum.