As our friends in the emerging I/T hot beds like India, Brazil, China, Eastern Europe, and the Philippines demonstrate they have excellent programming skills, many of us I/T folk in the US or Western Europe are frankly nervous about “What’s left for us?” “Will we eventually train our emerging market friends into taking our own jobs away?”
Perhaps I have been shown the answer to this perplexing and politically charged question. Have you ever heard of the job title “Business Transformation Architect” by any chance?
I had the good fortune to listen in on a conference call last week led by Douglas McDavid, an IBM Business Transformation Architect and Member of the IBM Academy of Technology on the role of the Business Transformation Architect and how this new role is developing into a formal career path in IBM. With his permission, I will share a few insights which I hope will be of interest to you.
There is a well known gap between clients’ desire to solve business problems (enter new markets, gain competitive advantage, reduce costs..) and IT’s ability to enable required business solutions.
Industry outlook & trends indicate the need for new skills to achieve success in the business transformation domain:
“Tighter alignment between business & IT is essential to execute on complex business transformations. This requires a blend of business and technical design skills and the ability to partner with business owners & IT executives” – Information Week
“IT needs new skills to accomplish the transformation to service oriented IT. IT can not expect to insert pure techies & geeks into business discussions & gain any stronger connection with the business.” – Forrester
The need for dedicated attention to detailed and rigorous architecture of business is apparent
- On demand business requires synergy between business and technology
- Valued business results require focus on business changes that work together with modular and flexible IT applications and infrastructures.
- Clients increasingly demand small, incremental steps toward transformation.
- There is increased interest in standardized architectural frameworks.
Business is largely a human social system that is intangible and invisible. Software is also intrinsically complex, malleable, abstract and invisible.
Information technology can be a jumbled mess, but architectures and patterns can help make sense of it. Business can be a jumbled mess too, but architectures and patterns can help make sense of it as well. The job of the BTA is to focus on how these architectural viewpoints come together.
BTAs may have (or work with people who have) some or all of the following specializations -- analogous to an IT Architect working with technical specialists
- Strategic Management
- Operational Management
- Organizational Change
- Knowledge Management
- Product Development
(me - In a previous post, I talked about how good I/T Architects are “Pi-Shaped”)
Good Business Transformation Architects are “I-Shaped” and can be grown by adding business knowledge to architect skills or by adding architecture skills to business consultants.
(In the above chart EA=enterprise architecture and CBM=Component Business Modeling)
Business Transformation Architect Role Defined (partial)
- Identify and advise on the On Demand characteristics of a Client Enterprise
- Distinguish the differentiating from the non-differentiating parts of a Client Enterprise and advise on how to proceed with each
- Recommend the actions necessary to prioritize and improve the On Demand characteristics of an Enterprise to deliver short and long term client value
- Advise on coordinated business and technology transformation initiatives to Differentiate and improve Product Leadership, Operational Excellence and Customer Intimacy within a Client Enterprise
- Bridge the gaps between business executives and IT architects to help the enterprise document its operational business design based on sound principles and standards.
- Perform Business Design
- Perform Capability Analysis
- Perform value placement.
- Perform organizational design and job role selection.
- Lead business process change.
- Perform requirements maintenance.
- Design the total solution delivery environment.
- Perform selection of business modeling tools
- Perform business implementation.
- Keep abreast of Board Room topics
- Architect Solutions using business architecture components.
- Architect Solutions using process change.
- Architect intra and Inter enterprise solutions
- Architect Solutions using organizational change
The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.