Business Architecture - Building the Bridge between Strategy, Execution and Value Realization
"Business architecture is the connectivity between the strategy and the execution and defines where and what we need to transform, why we need to transform and what outcomes we are aiming to realize." - Partha Baral, Sr. Director, Business Architecture, Transformation & Process Excellence, VMware.
In this exclusive interview Partha Baral, Sr. Director, Business Architecture, Transformation & Process Excellence, VMware, speaks to Andrea Charles from the PEX Network, about the key elements required for driving successful business transformation and recognizing the important role business architecture can play on the transformation journey.
What key role can business architecture play in business transformation?
The way I characterize this is that, there are two pieces to this. Business architecture truly builds the connectivity between strategy and execution. It enables that through longer term thinking, connecting and translating the strategies into capabilities that we would need within the business to fulfil and attain those objectives, development of an executable roadmap and finally realization of intended outcomes. It truly enables building that bridge between strategy, execution and value realization.
I think “transformation” is the “act” of introducing and enabling change by driving fundamental shift in how we do business. Business architecture helps to identify where we need to transform, and why we need to transform various aspects with in business.
True transformation is about implementation of the fundamental shifts/changes that questions the status quo and enables the organization to re-invent, but the identification of the areas that we need to transform and why we need to transform, how it is going to help the company to realize the vision and the objective is about business architecture.
What are the key elements required for driving successful business transformation?
The most important success criterion is the “acknowledgement that we need to change” whether it’s small, big or completely radical and the agreement that “we are going to do something about it”. Whether we are changing and transforming the business model, our organizational culture, or a particular business process.
This involves getting an alignment and buy-in within the organization. The effort and complexity depends on the level, the magnitude and the scale of the transformation.
The second critical component, is taking people along that transformation journey, as opposed to conducting the transformation in a vacuum, and coming back and saying how it is going to be. True Transformation efforts are successful when the change comes from within the people involved in driving the change as well as impacted by the change.
How can we get business architecture to align with the technology?
As I described earlier, Business architecture is the connectivity between the strategy and the execution and defines where and what we need to transform, why we need to transform and what outcomes we are aiming to realize. Technology is an enablement tool for the transformation identified through Business Architecture. We have defined a construct called “business capability framework” that we are using to describe this and bring it to reality.
We have defined business capability as a construct of five dimensions – people, process, data & insight, technology, and governance. We use these five dimensions of business capability to articulate (a) what the business needs, (b) where we are w.r.t to maturity of a capability to enable the business strategy and achieve business goals and finally (c) what is the roadmap of getting to the required state of maturity of the business capabilities.
When we talk about how business architecture relates to technology, there are two angles to that. First is that “technology” is one of the most critical enablement tool to realize the business strategy & outcomes articulated through Business Architecture. We implement technology components/solutions to deliver on the capability maturity requirements.
The second is that, the technology evolutions and innovations that are happening in the marketplace is expanding the horizon of what is possible and in turn driving new ways to conceptualize the business models, customer engagement, market potentials for products & services.
There are things that were not possible because either we did not have the technology available at a certain point in time or it would be too cost prohibitive to build the technology needed. However, with availability of the newer technologies like IOT, mobility, machine learning, artificial intelligence, connected devices, you start to think and talk about what potential these technologies can deliver to your business, to rethink and transform.
There is a two-pronged approach. One is based on given a business strategy what technology we need and how technology can enable that. The second piece is given the technology evolution or the revolution, what possibilities exist? And how can we tap into that?
Why are you sharing your story at OPEX Week: Business Transformation World Summit?
Within VMware, we have a transformation story that is very compelling. Over the years we have built, practiced and delivered an end-to-end service model that spans from ideation to long/short/medium term planning, execution & delivery, value realization and sustaining across the enterprise value streams/functions. We bring these services in a collected, cohesive and an integrated way, to go solve a specific business problem, or to drive a forward-thinking strategic intent. Based on the expansive scope of visibility, we also bring an somewhat of an independent point of view to drive proactive thinking.
We have the team (skills), the structure, the aligned approach as well as the set of services that we bring to bear within the context of VMware enabling this growth and optimization. We feel that we have a very robust, end to end, integrated enterprise level story that we can share with others. We can share our experiences, as well as challenges that we faced along the way. We are also always looking to engage with others and learn from their experiences in this journey.