Advent of Business Architecture from a Process Perspective: Part 1


Lloyd Dugan:
Hello, everybody, this is Lloyd. We're going to start something around the advent of business architecture, so we'll call it the advent of business architecture from the BPM or business process management perspective. We're going to start by talking to an actual practitioner. And get his perspective on it. His name is Jeffrey Wallk. Jeffrey and I have known each other for several years and there's no one I would trust more to provide such a perspective about what is really a business architect's role in all this and the role of business architecture amongst a set of other things and disciplines and artifacts to support the operations of the business, to tell us what's the good stuff and what's messed up and what's the stuff that we find. Because I do consider and those who heard this podcast before have mentioned a couple of times that I believe this is architecture's emergence in the last several years is creating a new level of energy that will focus into BPM work and vice versa, that as BPM gets renewed, it will flow back to business architecture. Jeffrey, let's go ahead and introduce yourself.

Jeffrey Wallk:
Well, Lloyd, thank you, it's great to talk to you again. I've been doing architecture type work for, I don't know, maybe about 15 years and I've been a lot of my work focuses on trying to help companies create what I call sustainable value and growth. I actually wear two hats. I do work for for-profits in that regard. And I also work with not-for-profits on a project. I started also during Covid, which is really focusing on designing sustainable communities. And that might be a conversation for another day, perhaps. But as it pertains to the work that I do, I blend a number of disciplines into the practice and the deliverables that I create. Business architecture is a key part of that. And I think we'll have an interesting conversation about where I place that, how I leverage it, and some of the things that I feel like it can where I can still continue to grow.

Lloyd Dugan:
So let's start with the first question. How would you characterize the emergence of business architecture and as a discipline and then a practice area, but also speak to and I thought this is an excellent idea from you. Is this something that's just for the big companies because only they can afford it or understand it or can make use of it? Or is it really something that small businesses not for profits can use because they still comprise a significant chunk of our economy? So if it's if it's just relegated to the Fortune 500, for example, then it's really an elitist discipline. And I don't think that's so. Please, how would you characterize the emergence and where do you think it has value?

Jeffrey Wallk:
A little bit of history, I started out with enterprise architecture before they called it enterprise architecture years ago, and then I spent a lot of years working on that and helping to mature the discipline around some of that work. At the time, there was a thought that enterprise architecture would incorporate all aspects of architecture, including business, architecture, and that was before business architecture really had a foothold, I would say. And it's kind of going back and forth. And a lot of the direction I've seen enterprise architecture go these days is more around really the I.T. realm. And so there is more of an emergence of what this gap that's been left, because there needs to be something that aligns the business with technology. And I think the work that the guild has done is to really kind of carve out that space and try to create a discipline around that. Everything from the mapping of strategy to capabilities to what's actually going on in terms of what's being built into the portfolio is a change. And there are some blending over and bleeding over into change management. And in some of those areas, there's some interesting areas within business architecture that have started to emerge more prominently, especially in the last number of years as pertains to how do we create more directionality around agile. And there are some interesting white papers that have been put out, and I think I spend some time doing some work on that early on before I got busy with other activities.

Interesing Links from Jeffery

Small Business Podcast:

Project mentioned in the transcript:


I think there's a recognized need to get more of an understanding about what organizations need to change, how they need to guide large portfolios. Capabilities are a concept that help organize a lot of what is being done. And the practice of mapping those into value streams has been a lot of the work that's been done in some of the large pharma companies, insurance companies, some of the banks have adopted it. And there's a number of other organizations that have started looking into that as a way to kind of organize and orchestrate change. So from that perspective, that's how I see the emergence of it. I think that there are aspects of aligning strategy with the the technology that are important. But I think it's also important to extend the concepts around prioritization and change, to take advantage of some of the newer technologies that are coming out, let's say knowledge graph as an example, and digital twins and Internet of Things and Industry 4.0, 5.0, et cetera, et cetera, and obviously all the EHI and ML and so forth. And part of the challenge for a lot of companies is there's a lot of technology focused on how do we align the stuff once again to make sure that are we working on the right things and how do we take advantage of these so that we aren't led by the technology, but the technology is supporting our initiatives, our agendas and our strategy.

Jeffrey Wallk:
And ultimately, there's a play here for the enterprise architects to align the technology to the business architecture. So I think that's where there's opportunities. You can scale that down and look at it more abstractly and say, how do we guide change? I mean, that's the big challenge right now. And regardless of whether it's business, architecture or some other tool, the big challenge that I see with companies is just especially the large companies, is the sheer pace of change and the scale of change. So what I'm seeing is. A lot of companies struggling with industrial processes and industrial planning, which has worked for years, and now they're trying to figure out how to take those linear processes and approaches and map that to exponential change. And they're finding out that it doesn't work. It doesn't scale. And oftentimes they don't have the right information to make decisions. So when I look at the opportunities around big companies and increasingly smaller organizations, they're all starting to feel the weight of challenges coming from an accelerated world of change. The folks that are obviously in retail are feeling it because of not just the jump in closure, because of Covid, but also because of the fact that we're now living in a world where people and organizations are changing their behaviors much more quickly.

Two years ago, if we said we wanted to have 30 or 40 percent of our workforce remote, most companies would say, well, that's not possible. The service organizations would say all they need to be in the office. Now, people are saying, gee, we can save a lot of money if we don't bring people into the office and we've already proven it out. So in that regard, Covid is a launch pad for change. And now that people realize some of the things that they took for granted in terms of the way they operated are now no longer going to carry them forward. They're in a different place and now they're thinking differently about it. And companies are now trying to figure out how to pivot not just once, but continually. And even some of these efforts around transformation, whether it's digital transformation, is the big one. But let's just talk about transformation, period. There are so many pieces to keep in place there, so many different things. Just having a background around how to facilitate and map the different components around change is really a good thing to have in place as a business leader. And, you know, at any point a decision making authority in an organization. So you don't have to have necessarily business architects. But I do think that it's important to understand some of the cartography that comes with the discipline,

Lloyd Dugan:
Seeing this from the perspective of the small to medium sized businesses or the non-for-profits. Does it change because they have a harder time internalizing that as a competency for cost reasons and maybe familiarity with the discipline itself, whereas the larger companies don't have to worry that because they can either afford it or they know who to tap for it. So which shifts when you change to the small to medium sized businesses and the not-for-profits, if anything.

Jeffrey Wallk:
Well, obviously, I mean, scale of budget and resource limitations are part of it, but that doesn't mean that you hire a business architect. I think when you go into a small organization and not for profit, you have to go in there being prepared to wear multiple hats. A good leader in that regard will have an understanding about systems of systems thinking and/or business architecture, because there are so many different things that are going on and that are going to change and influence them. From the standpoint of not for profits, there's a really interesting book by a guy that I met through a friend of mine. His name is Matt George, and he wrote a great book called The Non Profit Game Plan. And basically it's how to run your nonprofit like a business. And it makes total sense. And there are a lot of things in there around just basic strategy operations, executing change, all the different things that you would have in any other kind of an organization. But just putting it in the playbook so that you operate in the same manner. And that also means you're going to need to be skilled in understanding how to facilitate change and how to be agile about how you implement change and how you create the list of priorities that you go after. And that has to come from the top in terms of what are you trying to get done? How do you align change with the opportunity for demand and the services that you're providing? So rather than maybe running your your small organization or you're not-for-profit in more of a mission-based or product-centric mindset, bringing a service-centric mindset and aligning it to customer value and aligning it to the strategy and operations can go a long way towards making a much more efficient way of running the organization, as well as aligning the organization with other organizations to create more of a what I would call an ecosystem of services that need to be created for communities and for markets in general.

The need to start to create and design for ecosystems is part of the extension around all architecture that needs to start to happen. And we're going to see more of that, not just because of the technologies I mentioned earlier, but also because there's a need for organizations to start to work more on a collaborative basis and shift the mindset from a competitive landscape to one that's more cooperative, because I think that's really where the future growth is going to be. And if you don't know how to map and align strategies and operations and just the use of technologies and information, it's going to be very challenging to make that shift.

1000 Characters left

Lloyd Dugan

Lloyd Dugan is a widely recognized thought leader in the development and use of leading modeling languages, methodologies, and tools, covering from the level of Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Architecture (BA) down through Business Process Management (BPM), Adaptive Case Management (ACM), and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). He specializes in the use of standard languages for describing business processes and services, particularly the Business Process Model & Notation (BPMN) from the Object Management Group (OMG). He developed and delivered BPMN training to staff from the Department of Defense (DoD) and many system integrators, presented on it at national and international conferences, and co-authored the seminal BPMN 2.0 Handbook (, chapter on “Making a BPMN 2.0 Model Executable) sponsored by the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC,