The significance of value in architecture

Business architecture is not just about business capabilities and business processes, it's foremost about optimizing value for your customers.

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Traditionally, business processes have been the principal means of interaction between business stakeholders in enterprise architecture. The notion of business capability, a more recent concept, allows a better understanding of how software applications are supporting the business.

But because some new business capabilities have no supporting applications, while others have too many, this metric fails to capture the value of an agile, customer-driven organization that demands more rapid and continuous innovation and more fluid business strategies.

The significance of value in architecture Daniel Lambert

The concept of value needs to be mastered and used by enterprise architects in a customer-driven enterprise, as shown in figure 1, which is extracted from my book entitled “Practical Guide to Agile Strategy Execution: Design, Architect, Prioritize, and Deliver your Corporate Future Successfully”. An organization usually provides several value propositions to its different customer segments (or persona) and partners that are delivered by value streams made of several value stages. Value stages have internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, and the customer as participants. Value stages enable customer journey steps, are enabled by capabilities and operationalized by processes (level 2 or 3 usually). The “TOGAF® Business Architecture: Value Stream Guide” 27-minute long video with Alec Blair, Steve Marshall and Brian Lail provides a very clear and simple explanation, should you want to know more. 

These value streams/stages cannot be realized out of thin air. An organization must have the ability to achieve a specific purpose, which is to provide value to the triggering stakeholder (i.e., the customer). This ability is an enabling business capability. Without this capability, the organization cannot provide value to customers. a capability enables a value stage and is operationalized by a business process. It is also owned by one business unit or a division within an organization and used by one or more business units or a division. A capability ordinarily needs to be supported by at least one application.

Practically, value propositions, value streams, and value stages are "Why" an initiative or a project needs to be done. A stakeholder is "Who" needs to participate to create value. The business process is "How" an organization can create value. Finally, the business capability is "What" the organization needs to manage or must do to create value. 

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