You may have heard the term “business architect” in your travels; if you haven’t, you soon will. This summer, I have watched, and sometimes been involved in, several emotional debates among enterprise and information architects, business analysts, quality managers, Lean Six Sigma experts, management consultants, and IT consultants about the future and origins of their jobs, the skills they need, and, most importantly, their career paths to becoming a business architect.
There’s little doubt that these discussions are critically important to these individuals. Just as interesting from a research perspective is this question: What business problem do business architects need to resolve?
I have recently worked on two research projects addressing this question. For the first one, performed jointly with principal analyst John R. Rymer, our motivation came from a consulting case: Our client had experienced significant extra costs and process instabilities in operations and asked us for advice when a business transformation initiative supported by innovative technologies got out of control.
For the the second research project, principal analyst Derek Miers and I surveyed more than 300 business process professionals on their goals, priorities, and the maturity of their business process change programs. Using the collected data, we correlated the maturity assessment with the availability of business architecture functions.
Somebody please tell that to my health insurance company, which has annoyed me greatly this week. I’ve been receiving increasingly threatening letters from them, starting a few weeks ago just before I headed out for a long vacation. I didn’t think too much about it at the time but, a week after returning from vacation, I noticed the letters were now coming from a law firm. Yikes! I called them.
Turns out, my physical therapy claims for a chronic condition were under scrutiny. Microscopic scrutiny. “Could it have been the result of an automobile accident, and the other driver was at fault?” they asked. Or “Were you injured at work and should be filing for worker’s compensation?” Or was it some other kind of accident with nefarious connections of some sort? The claims subrogration unit was on the case and determined to make another party pay.
Exasperated, I told them that it was for a chronic condition diagnosed several years ago and all the information was on file and up to date, since I regularly see physicians for that condition and had been referred by a physician to physical therapy. Then they asked me to spell out the condition. I had steam coming out of my ears at that point. Why bother to have a file about me if they aren’t going to look at it, make it available to people calling me, and keep it up to date? Could they have worked this into their process before sending threatening letters and calling me?