Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Business Architecture – Functional Model

Across my client base, one of the most misunderstood architecture domains is that of Business Architecture.  This is terribly unfortunate, because Business Architecture is the cornerstone for any successful Enterprise, Solution, or Project Architecture.  Ultimately, it all needs to be grounded in the business needs and target objectives.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

To crystalize the concept of business architecture, it helps to examine the models and artifacts that are used to elaborate a particular organization’s business architecture.  In this post, I will explore one of the core aspects of business architecture – the functional model.

Functional Models answer the WHAT (and also sometimes the WHY)

A functional model provides a strategic view of how the business architecture delivers capabilities that align with business goals and drivers. This model answers the question:

“WHAT functions does the business require and how does the architecture align to this functionality?”

A functional model provides a macro-level view of what the business does so that the technology organization can support that functionality through processes, data exchanges, integrated systems, and enabling infrastructure.  It gives a complete picture of what the enterprise does and plans to do.  Moreover, it provides a mechanism for articulating how the business will evolve – new business functions, modified functions, outsourced functions, obsolete functionality, and any other defined changes that are required in order to realize the desired future state of functional business delivery.

A secondary question answered by the model is:

“WHY do these functions exist?”

This is where the question of value or business driver comes into play.  Each identified function must tie back to something the business cares about in order to be a valid part of the functional model.

Two Sub-Models

Typically a functional model includes a construct that identifies business functions or capabilities and maps those to business motivators such as drivers, goals, or objectives.  At its core, a functional model is aiming to answer two questions.  The primary question – WHAT does the business provide or deliver to customers and then a secondary question – WHY does that matter to the business (i.e. what’s the value?).  The bulk of a functional model deals with the WHAT (the functions), but these should always be mapped against the WHY (the business motivators) as illustrated in Figure 1.

Two Functional Models

 Business Motivation Model

The first model captures business motivations and links them to business units and/or business functions (part of the second model).  The aim of this model is to capture what the business wants to achieve and link it with the enabling mechanism within the enterprise that delivers on that vision.  At one level, this helps to ensure that all of the elements of the business’s target outcomes are accounted for within the business architecture.  Conversely, it also ensures that every business function and enabling support within the enterprise model is explicitly tied to a goal or objective that the business wants to achieve.

There are multiple approaches in the industry for modeling business motivations:

  • TOGAF’s Goal / Objective / Service Model – TOGAF defines a Motivation extension to its Content Metamodel that defines Drivers (internal / external motivating condition), Goals (high-level statement of intent or direction), and Objectives (time-bounded milestone to demonstrate progress toward a goal).  The Goal / Objective / Service model specifically creates a linkage between business targets (goals & objectives) and the business services that enable the fulfillment of these targets. Source: http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/chap35.html
  • OMG’s Business Motivation Model (BMM) – Identifies Ends (Vision, Goal, Objective) and links those to the Means (Mission, Strategy, Tactic, Directive) by which you achieve those Ends.  Finally, the Means are further linked to Internal Influencers (Strengths and Weaknesses) and External Influencers (Opportunities and Threats) and then ultimately mapped to other business model elements such as Organization Units, Business Processes, and Business Rules.
    Source: http://www.omg.org/spec/BMM/1.1/PDF/

Business Capability Model

The second element of a functional model is the elaboration of functionality in the form of a portfolio of business capabilities, business processes, business functions, or business services.  The decision on which construct to use depends largely upon the overall direction that the organization is going strategically.

  • Capability models support business functionality threads that run through multiple lines of business
  • Process models enable orchestration and workflow styles of integration
  • Service models drive toward reuse, composite solutions, and promote contract-driven interfaces
  • Function models promote a componentized view of the enterprise and support modularity

To a certain extent, every business has capabilities, processes, services, and functions.  By selecting one of these to represent the second-half of the functional model you are making a statement as an organization regarding what the emphasis will be within your architecture.  In any case, we are aiming to capture what the business does in order to deliver on the vision articulated in the motivation model.  These two models can be kept distinct and loosely coupled or you may choose to weave them together into an aggregate model that demonstrates the linkage between the business’s aims and the business’s capabilities to deliver on those targets.

Here again, a number of approaches exist for modeling business functions, services, processes, and / or capabilities exist.

  • TOGAF’s Business Footprint Diagram - Describes the links between business goals, organizational units, business functions, and services, and maps these functions to the technical components delivering the required capability. A Business Footprint diagram provides a clear traceability between a technical component and the business goal that it satisfies, while also demonstrating ownership of the services identified. Source: http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/chap35.html
  • TOGAF’s Business Service / Function Catalog – Identifies organizational capabilities and demonstrates the relationship between business services and technology functions.  Furthermore, it can be mapped against organizational units to demonstrate ownership of business services. Source: http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/chap35.html
  • TOGAF’s Functional Decomposition Diagram – Provides a graphical depiction of the information captured in the Business Service / Function Catalog (see above).  Also provides a very natural mechanism for eliciting the technical capabilities necessary to fulfill business needs.  One unique facet of this diagram is that it can easily illustrate shared components (which are more challenging to represent with a catalog artifact). Source: http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/chap35.html
  • OMG’s Business Capabilities View – Describes business activities, aligned against the organization that delivers that function (much like the other capability mechanisms).  One unique element of this view is the categorization and depiction of functions as customer-facing, supplier-facing, management-focused, and execution-centric. Source: http://www.omgwiki.org/bawg/doku.php
  • MODAF’s Strategic Views – Define a whole range of capability artifacts.  Typically MODAF is a better fit for highly technical engineering environments with heavy system integration requirements.  Additionally, a non-defense meta model would have to be crafted to retrofit this for Chubb.  The extensive set of integrated capability artifacts is still worth exploring either for direct usage or to inspire a custom solution for the enterprise. Source: http://www.modaf.org.uk/

One purpose of the capability model is to identify the spectrum of business functionality now, in the near-term, and in the long-term future.  It can be used to assist with strategic architecture planning to highlight what capabilities will persist, those that will be modified, capabilities that will be added, and those that will be removed as the organization progresses to the desired, future state.  A formal capability-based planning approach could even be adopted, leading to a need to map an organization’s initiatives, programs, and project portfolios against the set of capabilities that these efforts will impact. Source: http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/chap32.html

 Business Architecture (It’s like a real career or something!)

Business Architecture has come a long way in the last several years and its maturity and its scope extend well beyond merely analyzing business requirements and creating some process models (these are actually the domain of a business analyst or a business modeler). Now it is a full-blown architecture discipline with real models and meta-models supporting it.

In trying to help organizations come to grips with the realities of business architecture, I will often tell them the following:

While not every organization formally recognizes it, your business has an architecture.  It’s either the intentional one that has been created by the steady hand of one or more architecture practioners, or it is the ad-hoc one that you have stumbled into based upon tactical decisions that have been made over the last 10-15 years.

So it’s not a question of whether or not your organization should decide to do Business Architecture or not.  It’s a question of whether you want to be strategic and intentional about how you structure the architecture for your business.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kyle Gabhart

Kyle Gabhart is a subject matter expert specializing in strategic planning and tactical delivery of enterprise technology solutions, blending EA, BPM, SOA, Cloud Computing, and other emerging technologies. Kyle currently serves as a director for Web Age Solutions, a premier provider of technology education and mentoring. Since 2001 he has contributed extensively to the IT community as an author, speaker, consultant, and open source contributor.

Latest Stories
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"Loom is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning into the entire log analysis process, from start to finish and at the end you will get a human touch,” explained Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President, Marketing at Loom Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...