Information architecture presumes to serve the needs and address the challenges of business. We recognise that conventional wisdom speaks of the need for a cohesive strategy to develop the information capabilities of the organisation such that business information is available as-, when- and in the mode required by the business. This approach suggests mapping information systems and applications to business architecture. Our recommended methodology builds upon this approach by incorporating the notion of business and information capabilities with maturity models and service alignment. As a result our methodology drives optimisation of information architecture and resources for direct business value.
What before How
First, we believe in focusing on “what” before “how.” Most architecture methodologies tend to develop underlying application and data architectures through process analysis and mapping required functionality to application components. This process analysis simply represents the current state of the business. As business changes however, the process analysis will required change.
Instead we need to ensure that underlying information architecture is agile enough to handle changes in business and business processes. For this reason, we define business capabilities and their characteristics (what) before defining an implementation (how) with process diagrams and technical architectures.
Business Capabilities don't directly map to Information Architecture
Secondly, mapping business capabilities to underlying information solutions and architecture is not sufficient to drive consistent user experience, common constructs and shared infrastructure. If we try to directly connect business process to application capabilities we will not leverage common capabilities that can be developed and optimised within the organisation. This will make impossible the promise of a services-oriented architecture and it's "build once, use multiple times" mantra. Supporting common capabilities within the organisation alone ensures increased agility and consistent outcomes.
Instead, we must understand how information capabilities must correlate and contribute to existing and required business capabilities, and then how IT architecture and infrastructure must support these information capabilities. This ultimately leads to a better understanding of exactly how IT strategy, including capabilities development planning and IT architecture, lend themselves to supporting the business.
True Service Orientation requires an understanding of Business Capabilities
Thirdly, to achieve service-oriented IT architecture, we must also understand and organize business capabilities with service-oriented business architecture. Conventional theory emphasizes the overarching need for connectivity between various applications and processes. This suggests we need the mechanism to separate business function or process specific capabilities from common, connected business capabilities. Our methodology includes pre-defined models for connected business capabilities thus providing the framework and speed to effectively organize, evaluate and plan business and IT capabilities and services. Connected business capabilities explore which capabilities lend themselves to such strategic enablers as “innovation and transformation”, “planning and delivery excellence” and “human capital agility”.
If you are interested in discussing our Strategic Capabilities Management program, please contact Jame Healy, Program Lead, directly at 604.685.5263 or Jame.Healy@Avantage.com. We look forward to working with you on this.