Business architectures are built from a surprisingly small number of models that use a surprisingly small number of building blocks and notations. These tools of business architecture, while fairly simple, are very powerful, able to express the architecture for any kind of business.

The intelligence and experience of the business architect come to bear when deciding on the views that need to be modeled in order to address the questions being asked.


Like any system, the architecture of a business has many facets.

All need to be described in order to get a clear picture of what is intended.

Primary Views in Business Architecture

  • Strategy
  • Value
  • Service
  • Capability
  • Process
  • Financial

Proven Practices

The Strategy View

  1. Describes the strategic intent, goals and strategies, for the company
  2. The idea is to understand and communicate the intent into the organization to ensure operational alignment with the strategy


  • Balanced Scorecard
  • Strategy Map
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Business Motivation Model

The Value View

  1. Identifies the key relationships between the business and its stakeholders
  2. Describes how each benefits from the relationships


  • Value Chains
  • Value Streams
  • Value Network
  • Experience or journey maps

The Service View

  1. Package business capabilities and presents them to internal and external participants via touch points on the various experience maps
  2. The only model is an experience map, but from multiple perspectives:
  • Customer
  • Supplier
  • Investor (Owners and Lenders)
  • Regulator (and Community)
  • Employee

The experience maps for all perspectives, taken together, identify all of the services required of the business

The Capability View

  1. Represents something the business does to create value, regardless of organization or implementation
  2. The model for the capability view is a hierarchical map
  3. Capability maps usually go three to five levels, depending on needs
  • Most of the interest is at level three, many maps stop here

One of the most common uses is to indicate via color those capabilities that need the most investment

The Process View

  1. Implement business capabilities in channel- or location-specific ways
  2. Processes are modeled in a hierarchy manner,  but a number of views are possible
  • By service
  • By capability
  • By business function
  • By organizational unit

There is one model for the process view, but a number of representations:

  • Process diagram
  • BPMN diagram
  • Sequence diagram
  • “Subway map”

The Operating Model

  • Integrates capability, process, and service views
  • Shows how value is delivered to stakeholders
  • Valid for all types of stakeholders
  • Building for a complete set of stakeholders completely describes the business

Services not included in one of the models are superfluous and should be considered for elimination. Processes and capabilities that exist but are not connected to a service on one of the models should be considered for elimination. Missing services, processes, and capabilities can be readily discovered.

An operating model closely mirrors a firm’s operational pattern, and both concepts describe the same aspects of the business. However, the operating model is more focused on the integration and standardization of business processes and data, and thus, information technology. The book uses “enterprise architecture” as a term to describe the overall IT architecture, but does cover aspects relevant to business architecture.

Tying the Models Together

The operating model ties capabilities, processes, and services. Performance ratios connect the operating model to business performance measurement.  Adding the Business Model Canvas and experience map to the operating model ties all the way back to strategy, unifying the entire business architecture.

A Final Word: Models versus Deliverables

Models in business architecture are NOT the deliverables; they are tools.

Deliverables are:

  • Investment priorities
  • Situation analyses
  • Scenarios
  • Impact assessments
  • Due diligence findings
  • Innovations and ideas


Further Reading:

  • Allee, Verna, The Future of Knowledge: Increasing Prosperity through Value Networks, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003.
  • Kaplan, Robert S. and David P. Norton, The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy Into Action, Boston:Harvard Business School Publishing,1996.
  • Kaplan, Robert S. and David P. Norton, Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets Into Tangible Outcomes, Boston:Harvard Business School Publishing,2004.
  • Miers, Derek, Identify Essential Methods for Your Business Architecture Program, Forrester Research, 9/7/2012.
  • Miers, Derek, Focus on the Transformational Impact of Business Architecture, Forrester Research, 9/7/2012.
  • Osterwalder, Alexander and Yves Pignuer, Business Model Generation, Wiley, 2012.
  • Perry, Stott, and Smallwood, Real-Time Strategy: Improvising Team-Based Planning for a Fast-Changing World, Wiley, 1993.
  • Potts, Chris, recrEAtion: Realizing the Extraordinary Contribution of Your Enterprise Architects, Bradley Beach, NJ: Technics Publications, 2010.
  • Ross, Weill, Robertson, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2006.
  • Whittle, Ralph and Conrad B. Myrick, Enterprise Business Architecture: The Formal Link Between Strategy and Results, CRC Press, 2005.