Business Architecture Tools
By Jibility co-founder Chuen Seet
Before delving into the tools, let’s define Business Architecture itself.
Business Architecture describes a business holistically from multiple perspectives to ensure common understanding and alignment with the overall business strategy.
A major focus of Business Architecture is to spell out what a business does. Put simply, it defines the business capabilities.
Business Architecture Definition
"Business Architecture represents holistic, multidimensional business views of capabilities, end-to-end value delivery, information, and organizational structures; and the relationship among these business views and strategies, products, policies, initiatives, and stakeholders." 1
With a thorough understanding of what the business does today and what it must be able to do in the future, organizations can better define the gaps that must be addressed in order to achieve their strategic vision.
There are three types of tools that can help.
Three Types of Tools
Generic Desktop Tools
Desktop word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing tools are commonly available. These tools are generic, so you can use them for just about anything.
However, as they aren’t dedicated to Business Architecture there’s no contextual awareness of the purpose. Often, you need to use several tools that don’t have linkages between them, so you end up manually syncing content across all of them. For example, you are likely to have drawings in one tool, data in a spreadsheet tool, and presentations in another for executive consumption.
On the other hand, a key advantage of generic desktop tools is that they are very simple to use. (Even moreso when you use them with templates such as our Jibility canvas!)
Specialist Business Architecture Tools
At the other end of the spectrum are the high-end Enterprise Architecture tools. These support industry diagramming notation (such as Archimate®) and enforce notation rules to industry specifications.
The advantage of specialist tools is that they are very powerful. They can easily meet the needs of large and sophisticated corporates.
Consequently, they are very complex. Users generally need a significant amount of training, or even a certification program, in order to use them. Additionally, the tools usually require dedicated resources to support and maintain the tool environments.
Predictably, specialist tools are expensive.
Dedicated Lightweight Business Architecture Tools
Somewhere between desktop tools and specialist business architecture tools, there exist dedicated lightweight business architecture tools.
These may not do everything that the specialist tools can do, but they do have specific Business Architecture features. They’re simple to use, with no special training required, and are low maintenance, cloud-based, and low cost.
An Example Tool
Jibility is an example of a dedicated lightweight tool that can be used by anyone. Using capability-based planning techniques, the app guides the user through six steps to create what we term a strategy roadmap: the essential link between an organization’s strategic vision and its execution plan.
Jibility is a cloud-based drag-and-drop tool, which provides the user with pre-defined building blocks for more agile delivery and maintenance of strategy roadmaps. Most importantly, it’s simple to use.
1 Business Architecture Guild, A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge®, v 6.0 (BIZBOK® Guide), 2017. Part 1, Page 2