Enabling Operational Excellence
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Posts Tagged ‘alignment’

Basics for Business Architecture: #1 – Structured Business Strategy

Professionals should always focus on business solutions first, then and only then on designing systems. Not just lip service, I mean applying the power techniques of true business architecture[1]. The first of these techniques is structured business strategy. True business solutions of any size or description hinge on strategy. Not project or IT strategy – not business case or project objectives – but real business strategy. Are you sure you really know the difference? Time and time again I find that many business analysts don’t. Here are two quick tests. Test 1. Are you aware of the standard The Business Motivation Model (BMM)[2]. Have you actually read it? If not, I’d say the issue is in doubt. Real strategy is about ends and means, not about change or how you plan, design or engineer such change. Change is inevitably involved of course – but that’s what projects and project plans are about. Test 2. Which of the following is closest to your thinking about alignment?
    • IT needs to be aligned with the business.
    • Business capabilities need to be aligned with business strategy.
If you instinctively went with the former, again I’d say the issue is in doubt. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ www.BRSolutions.com

[1] Refer to the second edition of Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules, an IIBA Sponsored Handbook, by Ronald G. Ross with Gladys S.W. Lam (to be published mid-2015). http://www.brsolutions.com/b_building_business_solutions.php

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What is Business Alignment Really All About?

Business alignment is like motherhood and apple pie, no one will argue much against it.  But for all the hand waving, questions remain.  What are you aligning?  How do you align?  Answers generally center on aligning IT with the business.  But shouldn’t that be a given?!  Methodologies recommend a great many touch points with individual users and good interpersonal relationships.  But do those things ensure good business practices – or just good GUIs?  And why just IT?  Aren’t there other kinds of projects in the business too? True business alignment results from engineering real business solutions for real business problems based on deliberate strategy (in a deliverable we call a Policy Charter).  The approach should be exactly the same whether the business solution involves comprehensive automation, just partial automation – or none at all.  True business alignment is also something you can demonstrate quantitatively
  • How fully are business goals being achieved? 
  • What is the failure rate of business policies
  • How quickly can emerging risks and opportunities be spotted? 
Only metrics (key performance indicators) based on the strategy for the business solution (a Policy Charter) can reliably answer make-or-break business questions like these. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Excerpted from Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules, by Ronald G. Ross with Gladys S.W. Lam, An IIBA® Sponsored Handbook, Business Rule Solutions, LLC, 2011, 304 pp, http://www.brsolutions.com/bbs    

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Final Word (For Now) on the Black Swans and Strategy Discussion: Do Business Rules Derive from a Business’s Goals and Objectives?

Question: Do business rules derive from strategy? Answer: In our experience only about 2-3% of a company’s business rules derive directly from strategy (goals and objectives). Needless to say, those are a critical 2-3%. The rest of a company’s business rules concerning behavior derive from regulations, contracts, agreements, business policies, warranties, deals, certifications, etc. Let’s call all those obligations. Every business has a choice of whether to comply with its obligations. Generally speaking, the risks of not doing so will be high in a good many (though not all) cases. So there’s certainly something to be said for being a good corporate citizen in a free enterprise system. The key is to make sure all business rules align with strategy, even if most don’t derive directly from it.

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