Business Architecture Tools

What is Business Architecture?

Business Architecture should describe the business holistically from a capability, value chain, information and organizational structure perspective, and then align it with the organization’s strategy.

The Business Architecture Guild® has a more involved definition of Business Architecture:

"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

Business Architecture Guild®

A major focus of Business Architecture is to define what a business does. Put simply, it defines the business capabilities.

Capability based planning is a technique widely accepted by Business Architects. It means understanding what the business does today and what it must be able to do in the future, thus enabling the organization to define the gaps that must be addressed in order to achieve its strategic vision.

Capability based planning is a technique described by both the Open Group TOGAF® and the Business Architecture Guild BIZBOK® Guide.

Tools for Business Architecture

There are three categories of tools for Business Architecture:

  • Generic Desktop Tools
  • Specialist Business Architecture Tools
  • Dedicated Lightweight Business Architecture 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. In fact, you can download a Jibility Canvas and start using it with a desktop tool today. These tools are simple to use but they are not dedicated to Business Architecture, so there is no contextual awareness of the purpose. Often you need to use several tools that don’t have linkages between them, so you have to manually sync content across them all. For example, you are likely to have drawings in one tool, data in a spreadsheet tool, and presentations in another for executive consumption.

Specialist Business Architecture Tools

There are high-end Enterprise Architecture tools available that support industry diagramming notation (such as Archimate®) and enforce notation rules to industry specifications.

Features of specialist tools:

  • Powerful: able to meet the needs of large and sophisticated corporates
  • Complex: require a significant amount of training, or even a certification program

Needless to say, these tools are expensive, difficult to use, and require dedicated resources to support and maintain the tool environments.

Dedicated Lightweight Business Architecture Tools

Somewhere between desktop tools and specialist business architecture tools, there exist dedicated lightweight business architecture tools.

Features of dedicated tools:

  • Cloud-based and low maintenance
  • Dedicated business architecture features – may not do everything, but does what it does very well
  • Simple to use – no special training required
  • Low cost

The Jibility App is one such dedicated lightweight business architecture tool.

What is Jibility?

Part of the dedicated lightweight tool category above, the Jibility App can be used by anyone (including Business Architects). It applies capability based planning techniques to build a strategy roadmap for:

  • The whole organization, whether large, medium or small, including start-ups
  • A business function, e.g. an IT strategy roadmap or HR strategy roadmap
  • A project or program
  • A product

Jibility features a dedicated capability mapping tool that:

  • includes pre-defined capabilities that are common to most organizations (making the creation of capability maps faster);
  • is simple to use with drag/drop building blocks specifically designed for capability mapping (where you can focus on the thinking not drawing lines and aligning boxes);
  • allows heat mapping of capabilities to identify existing, new and changed capabilities;
  • enables linking of capabilities to strategic objectives;
  • defines courses of action for capabilities with a change gap;
  • streamlines the formulation of initiatives; and
  • makes building a roadmap simple.

1Business Architecture Guild, A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge®, v 6.0 (BIZBOK® Guide), 2017. Part 1, Page 2