For many companies, business architecture is a fairly new function. However, as large, complex organisations recognise the planning and change management gaps that an organised approach to business architecture can address, many are placing a new emphasis on the position.\nThe business architect role must have a balance of core hard and soft skills. Core hard skills are essential for developing the architectural artifacts that assist decision-making. Soft skills enable the business architect to effectively collaborate with the various contributors to the business architecture.\nThrough this shift, one of the major challenges facing organisations is determining how to best acquire and organise the\u00a0business architecture role and resources.\nForrester\u2019s Business Architecture playbookoutlines the key team deployment options exercised today and suggests that as\u00a0business architecture\u00a0matures within an organization, it must also evolve toward a centre of excellence (COE).\nOne of the biggest lessons learned by organisations undertaking business transformation initiatives over the past decade has been the need for formal teams of experts to provide leadership, to evangelise, best practices, research, support, and training.\nThe business architecture COE should focus on\u00a0business architecture\u00a0best practices to address the challenges faced by the organisation and prioritised by the senior executive. It also allows for a distributed BA practice where individual business architects can still have direct reporting to a business executive, but without the lack of synchronisation a purely decentralised model brings.\nThe biggest challenge for any COE is to prevent the organisation from falling back into silo-driven practices. Some benefits of the business architecture COE are that it is the definitive source of business architecture communication, research, analysis, and implementation understanding.\nActing as a custodian, the COE ensures unrestricted access is given to all stakeholders. The COE will also proactively manage and market the adoption of business architecture best practices. Finally, it will assess the skillset and competencies of the organisation staff, review transformation initiatives, and recommend development and training to maintain and enhance the delivery of the strategic transformation initiatives.\nThe "Practice Of BA" Requires Contributions From Outside The Core Team\nEffective\u00a0business architecture\u00a0enables an organisation to execute its strategy and realise its vision. Thus, the business architecture\u00a0must accurately reflect the organisation through all the stages of its evolution. It is important to recognise that there are major contributors to the\u00a0business architecture\u00a0other than the business architecture team, with which the team should build relationships that ensure that the right information is provided at the right time. The key contributors to\u00a0business architecture\u00a0should include the corporate strategy team, line-of-business executives, operations managers, and business process analysts, financial experts and enterprise architecture as well as IT teams.\nWhile a business-sponsored business architecture practice may be the ultimate goal, it might not be the best place to start. Business architecture practices mature over time, and their reporting lines should reflect this maturity. So, when considering the operating model, be sure to consider all the options and make sure that you choose the right approach for you organisation.\nOnce you choose the right approach, you need to identify the challenges you are likely to face, develop mitigation strategies, and integrate them into your day-to-day operating plan. As the business architecture practice matures, you would need to regularly reassess your structure and determine if your reporting line is still the best one for your situation.\nKeep in mind that an effective business architecture practice requires the knowledge, skills, and competency of a wider community, so you should build relationships with Subject Matter Experts and collaborate with them to build\u00a0business architecture.\n\n About the author:\nGordon Barnett is a principal analyst serving Enterprise Architecture professionals at Forrester Research.