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Map Your Business Architecture to Define Your Strategy

Plan your organization’s capabilities for best impact and value.

  • Organizations need to innovate rapidly to respond to the changing forces in their industry, but their IT initiatives often fail to deliver meaningful outcomes.
  • Planners face challenges in understanding the relationships between the important customer-focused innovations they’re trying to introduce and the resources (capabilities) that make them possible, including applications, human resources, information, and processes. For example, are we risking the success of a new service offering by underpinning it with a legacy or manual solution?

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Successful execution of business strategy requires planning that:

  1. Accurately reflects organizational capabilities.
  2. Is traceable so all levels can understand how decisions are made.
  3. Makes efficient use of organizational resources.

To accomplish this, the business architect must engage stakeholders, model the business, and drive planning with business architecture.

  • Business architecture is often regarded as an IT function when its role and tools should be fixtures within the business planning and innovation practice.
  • Any size of organization – from start-ups to global enterprises -- can benefit from using a common language and modeling rigor to identify the opportunities that will produce the greatest impact and value.
  • You don’t need sophisticated modeling software to build an effective business architecture knowledgebase. In fact, the best format for engaging business stakeholders is intuitive visuals using business language.

Impact and Result

  • Execute more quickly on innovation and transformation initiatives.
  • More effectively target investments in resources and IT according to what goals and requirements are most important.
  • Identify problematic areas (e.g. legacy applications, manual processes) that hinder the business strategy and create inefficiencies in our information technology operation.

Map Your Business Architecture to Define Your Strategy Research & Tools

1. Map Your Business Architecture Deck – A step-by-step document that walks you through how to properly engage business and IT in applying a common language and process rigor to build key capabilities required to achieve innovation and growth goals.

Build a structured, repeatable framework for both IT and business stakeholders to appraise the activities that deliver value to consumers; and assess the readiness of their capabilities to enable them.

The blueprint walks through identifying and engaging stakeholders, building standard models of the organization using a common language, and determining the gaps between baseline and target state.

2. Stakeholder Engagement Strategy Template – A best-of-breed template to help you build a clear, concise, and compelling strategy document for identifying and engaging stakeholders.

This template helps you ensure that your business architecture practice receives the resources, visibility, and support it needs to be successful, by helping you develop a strategy to engage the key stakeholders involved.

3. Value Stream Map Template – A template to walk through the value streams that are tied to your strategic goals.

Record the complete value stream and decompose it into stages. Add a description of the expected outcome of the value stream and metrics for each stage.

4. Value Stream Capability Mapping Template – A template to define capabilities and align them to selected value streams.

Build a business capability model for the organization and map capabilities to the selected value stream.

Member Testimonials

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NZ Department of Corrections

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Collateral and analyst session was very interesting and informative, we were looking for an accelerator for general business capabilities and recei... Read More

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Best: Great insight into the discipline and practical blueprints that once can actually use and refine Thanks Claude

Map Your Business Architecture to Define Your Strategy

Plan your organization’s capabilities for best impact and value.

Info-Tech Research Group

Info-Tech is a provider of best-practice IT research advisory services that make every IT leader’s job easier.

35,000 members sharing best practices you can leverage Millions spent developing tools and templates annually Leverage direct access to over 100 analysts as an extension of your team Use our massive database of benchmarks and vendor assessments Get up to speed in a fraction of the time

Analyst perspective

Know your organization’s capabilities to build a digital and customer-driven culture.

Business architecture provides a holistic and unified view of:

  • All the organization’s activities that provide value to their clients (value streams).
  • The resources that make them possible and effective (capabilities, i.e. its employees, software, processes, information).
  • How they inter-relate, i.e. depend on and impact each other to help deliver value.

Without a business architecture it is difficult to see the connections between the business’s activities for the customer and the IT resources supporting them – to demonstrate that what we do in IT is customer-driven.

As a map of your business, the business architecture is an essential input to the digital strategy:

  • Develop a plan to transform the business by investing in the most important capabilities.
  • Ensure project initiatives are aligned with business goals as they evolve.
  • Respond more quickly to customer requirements and to disruptions in the industry by streamlining operations and information sharing across the enterprise.

Crystal Singh, Research Director, Data and Analytics

Crystal Singh
Research Director, Data and Analytics
Info-Tech Research Group

Andrea Malick, Research Director, Data and Analytics

Andrea Malick
Research Director, Data and Analytics
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive summary

Your Challenge Common Obstacles Info-Tech’s Approach

Organizations need to innovate rapidly to respond to ever-changing forces and demands in their industry. But they often fail to deliver meaningful outcomes from their IT initiatives within a reasonable time.

Successful companies are transforming, i.e. adopting fluid strategies that direct their resources to customer-driven initiatives and execute more quickly on those initiatives. In a responsive and digital organization, strategies, capabilities, information, people, and technology are all aligned, so work and investment are consistently allocated to deliver maximum value.

You don’t have a complete reference map of your organization’s capabilities on which to base strategic decisions.

You don’t know how to prioritize and identify the capabilities that are essential for achieving the organization’s customer-driven objectives.

You don’t have a shared enterprise vision, where everyone understands how the organization delivers value and to whom.

Begin important business decisions with a map of your organization – a business reference architecture. Model the business in the form of architectural blueprints.

Engage your stakeholders. Recognize the opportunity for mapping work, and identify and engage the right stakeholders.

Drive business architecture forward to promote real value to the organization. Assess your current projects to determine if you are investing in the right capabilities. Conduct business capability assessments to identify opportunities and prioritize projects.

Info-Tech Insight
Business architecture is the set of strategic planning techniques that connects organization strategy to execution in a manner that is accurate and traceable and promotes the efficient use of organizational resources.

Blueprint activities summary

Phase Purpose Activity Outcome
1. Business context:
Identify organization goals, industry drivers, and regulatory requirements in consultation with business stakeholders.
Identify forces within and outside the organization to consider when planning the focus and timing of digital growth, through conducting interviews and surveys and reviewing existing strategies. Business value canvas, business strategy on a page, customer journey
2. Customer activities (value stream):
What is the customer doing? What is our reason for being as a company? What products and services are we trying to deliver?
Define or update value streams, e.g. purchase product from supplier, customer order, and deliver product to customer. Value streams enterprise-wide (there may be more than one set of value streams, e.g. a medical school and community clinic)
Prioritize value streams:
Select key value streams for deeper analysis and focus.
Assess value streams. Priority value streams
Value stages:
Break down the selected value stream into its stages.
Define stages for selected value streams. Selected value stream stages
3. Business capability map, level 1 enterprise:
What resources and capabilities at a high level do we have to support the value streams?
Define or update the business capabilities that align with and support the value streams. Business capability map, enterprise-wide capabilities level 1
Business capability map, level 2 for selected area:
List resources and capabilities that we have at a more detailed level.
Define or update business capabilities for selected value stream to level 2. Business capability map, selected value stream, capability level 2
Heatmap Business Capability Map: Flag focus areas in supporting technology, applications, data and information.

Info-Tech’s workshop methodology

Day 1: Discover Business Context Day 2: Define Value Streams Day 3: Build Business Capability Map Day 4: Roadmap Business Architecture
Phase Steps

1.1 Collect corporate goals and strategies

1.2 Identify stakeholders

2.1 Build or update value streams

2.2 Decompose selected value stream into value stages and analyze for opportunities

3.1 Update business capabilities to level 1 for enterprise

3.2 For selected value streams, break down level 1 to level 2

3.3 Use business architecture to heatmap focus areas: technology, information, and processes

3.4 Build roadmap of future business architecture initiatives

Phase Outcomes
  • Organizational context and goals
  • Business strategy on a page, customer journey map, business model canvas
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Value stream map and definitions
  • Selected value stream(s) decomposed into value stages
  • Enterprise business capabilities map to level 1
  • Business architecture to level 2 for prioritized value stream
  • Heatmap business architecture
  • Business architecture roadmap, select additional initiatives

Key concepts for this blueprint

A high-level analysis of how the industry creates value for the consumer as an overall end-to-end process. The adoption of digital technologies to innovate and re-invent existing business, talent ,and operating models to drive growth, business value, and improved customer experience. A holistic, multidimensional business view of capabilities, end-to-end value, and operating model in relation to the business strategy.
A set of activities, tasks, and processes undertaken by a business or a business unit across the entire end-to-end business function to realize value. A set of standard objectives that most industry players will feature in their corporate plans. A heat-mapping effort to analyze the maturity and priority of each capability relative to the strategic priorities that they serve.

Info-Tech’s approach

1 Understand the business context and drivers
Deepen your understanding of the organization’s priorities by gathering business strategies and goals. Talking to key stakeholders will allow you to get a holistic view of the business strategy and forces shaping the strategy, e.g. economy, workforce, and compliance.
2 Define value streams; understand the value you provide
Work with senior leadership to understand your customers’ experience with you and the ways your industry provides value to them.
Assess the value streams for areas to explore and focus on.
3 Customize the industry business architecture; develop business capability map
Work with business architects and enterprise architects to customize Info-Tech’s business architecture for your industry as an enterprise-wide map of the organization and its capabilities.
Extend the business capability map to more detail (Level 2) for the value stream stages you select to focus on.

Business architecture is a planning function that connects strategy to execution

Business architecture provides a framework that connects business strategy and IT strategy to project execution through a set of models that provide clarity and actionable insights. How well do you know your business?

Business architecture is:

  • Inter-disciplinary: Business architecture is a core planning activity that supports all important decisions in the organization, for example, organizational resources planning. It’s not just about IT.
  • Foundational: The best way to answer the question, “Where do we start?” or “Where is our investment best directed?”, comes from knowing your organization, what its core functions and capabilities are (i.e. what’s important to us as an organization), and where there is work to do.
  • Connecting: Digital transformation and modernization cannot work with siloes. Connecting siloes means first knowing the organization and its functions and recognizing where the siloes are not communicating.

Business architecture must be branded as a front-end planning function to be appropriately embedded in the organization’s planning process.

Brand business architecture as an early planning pre-requisite on the basis of maintaining clarity of communication and spreading an accurate awareness of how strategic decisions are being made.

As an organization moves from strategy toward execution, it is often unclear as to exactly how decisions pertaining to execution are being made, why priority is given to certain areas, and how the planning function operates.

The business architect’s primary role is to model this process and document it.

In doing so, the business architect creates a unified view as to how strategy connects to execution so it is clearly understood by all levels of the organization.

Business architecture is part of the enterprise architecture framework

Business Architecture
Business strategy map Business model canvas Value streams
Business capability map Business process flows Service portfolio
Data Architecture Application Architecture Infrastructure Architecture
Conceptual data model Application portfolio catalog Technology standards catalog
Logical data model Application capability map Technology landscape
Physical data model Application communication model Environments location model
Data flow diagram Interface catalog Platform decomposition diagram
Data lifecycle diagram Application use-case diagram Network computing / hardware diagram
Security Architecture
Enterprise security model Data security model Application security model
Map Your Business Architecture to Define Your Strategy preview picture

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.


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Andrea Malick

Crystal Singh


  • Andy Neill, AVP Data & Analytics, Chief Enterprise Architect, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Rajesh Parab, Research Director, Data & Analytics, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Rick Pittman, Vice President, Research Advisory, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Irina Sedenko, Research Director, Data & Analytics, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Ibrahim Abdel-Kader, Research Analyst, Data & Analytics, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Ben Abrishami-Shirazi, Technical Counselor, Enterprise Architecture, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Andrew Bailey, Consulting, Manager, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Dana Dahar, Research & Advisory Director, CIO / Digital Business Strategy, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Larry Fretz, Vice President, Industry Practice, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Shibly Hamidur, Enterprise Architect, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
  • Rahul Jaiswal, Principal Research Director, Industry, Info-Tech Research Group
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