Business Architect Description
The Business Architect, a.k.a. as BizArchs, aims for agility, optimization, clarity, efficiency, maturity, consistency and the reduction of complexity in business units, processes, products, functions, “abstractions” and cross-functional areas – inside and outside the company (such as third parties, partners, suppliers, etc.) in order to improve the operation according to business goals and strategies.
To do that, Business Architects crunch data, develop specific business metrics, promote cross-team alignment, and manage projects. While navigating between business strategy, business needs, risk assessment, consumer insights, to develop the right tools to create and monitor these action plans.
Fun fact: For instance “Enchanting the customer”, quite present in several company statements, is a common expression in Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing operational practices. Within the definitions in Business Architecture, “delight the customer” is the result of a set of activities from end to end, which creates a result for a client in the so-called “Value Stream”.
It is much like assembling a large structure, perhaps an incredible and unique airplane, using apparently identical and monochromatic pieces.
Business Architect Tasks & Levels
That’s a lot of tasks. So it’s common to a Business Architect to operate on one or more levels of the organization depending on the company maturity.
I (Julio) would divide like this:
- Strategic level: Supplements the vision with target and current-state capabilities, establishes larger and directional principles, triggers, and governing policies over the interaction between suppliers, partners, and all cross-functional activities.
- Operational level: Translates strategic initiatives into delivery-focused change initiatives.
- Tactical level: Usually can be replaced by a Product Owner, Scrum Master, Business Analyst who engages with the project with the main purpose of communicating architecture and promoting the project’s alignment with it.
In some cases, the role of a Business Architect can overlap with Product Management roles. For example when doing a broad competitor, collecting consumer insights, managing projects, and doing a landscape analysis to decide which solution to prioritize.
To me, that’s an operational redundancy that suggests the immaturity and defies the whole purpose of the role of creating agility, optimization, clarity, efficiency, and reduction of complexity.
That is what a Business Architecture is for, to provides a common understanding, used to align strategic objectives and tactical requirements all-around employees, teams, units, resources, activities in a clear Company plan.
It is always good to remember that the role and functions of the Business Architect can vary greatly between companies.
Business Architect is about...Business.
The Business Architect diagram above illustrates the omnipresence of the Business Architect, permeating numerous areas of the business and activities.
For this reason, most companies assign the position of Business Architect to more experienced and more senior profiles.
The role of Business Architect is/must be of a high strategic level, being responsible for architecting new organizations or re-architecting aspects of existing organizations, their direction, processes, and requirements, in response to changes and emerging businesses.
This is also why this is an increasing role in startups and technology-based businesses, which have brought a new degree of complexity, frequency, and speed of change.
The search for agility, efficiency, and reduction of complexity on the part of large organizations, generally much slower, has increasingly demanded this profile that facilitates transformation amid the threat of the new unicorn’s aggressive investments and more business opportunities – increasingly complex, globalized and sophisticated.
Business Architect Salary
According to ZipRecruiter site, as of Jun 28, 2020, the average annual pay for a Senior Business Architect in the United States is $122,177, ranging from $172,000 to as low as $34,500.
According to Salary.com site, the average Business Architect salary in the United States is $123,310 as of June 28, 2020, but the salary range typically falls between $112,763 and $134,357.
According to Glassdoor site, the United States Average National annual salary of a Business Architect is $135,000, with a range of $101,000 all the way to $169,000.
Senior business architects earn an average of $155,000 with a range of $119,000 – 195,000.
Business Architect vs Business Analyst
They are analytical profiles, usually with a professional background in Administration, Business, Engineering, Software Development, Economics, and other quantitative fields.
Business Analyst is an introductory role in the world of business architecture, with a relatively lower salary than a Business Architect.
As an analyst, you focus on the “how”, proposing detailed models and analysis to support business decisions. Its role is to interpret and describe problems, requirements, opportunities, and solutions in terms of budget, projections, variables, among other specifics.
The Business Architect works on the “what”. Creating models, high-level strategies, and end-to-end systems.
The role of a Business Analyst is a practical role in how systems work at a low level, which prepares you and gives you an understanding of how to implement them later as a Business Architect. Thus, the Business Architect is a natural progression in the career of a Business Analyst.
Business Architect Roles
Again reinforcing that this role, responsibilities, and performance of Business Architecture can vary considerably between companies and be a mix of Roles, Tasks & Levels (described above).
Unfortunately, it is common for the role of Business Architect to be distorted in some companies to have a less strategic position and more focused on ‘managing’ specific KPIs, eventually overlapping the role of Project Managers and/or Product Managers as I said in the beginning. This is a big waste and goes against the very existence, based on efficiency and optimization, of a Business Architect.
Among the dozens of performances, combinations, and roles of Business Architect, the most common and ideal are:
Identifying optimization problems and opportunities are part of a Business Architect’s focus.
Improvement opportunities are often manifested through technology consolidation, resource reframing, cost savings, process improvements, strategic outsourcing, automation, among others.
Evaluate resources and assets
Structure of the approach to complex problems
Business architects often get involved with complex problems – not necessarily with each of the thousands of simple problems that a startup faces daily.
These types of problems often require a unique approach, a different type of thinking, not a different methodology.
Perspective & Context
“Laser focus” amid the complexity and speed of change is essential. And every organization that has ever faced a major problem knows how focused it becomes.
But when that view is restricted and is exclusively in the details of the problems, the view of the context, external competitive influences and opportunities or internal conflicts is lost and more problems are generated.
As Professor Gregory D. Bunch of the Chicago Management Institute says in this very good video on Strategic Leadership:
“… The good strategic thinker has an x-ray view, he looks at the business and sees the parts and pieces that work, what doesn’t, what has value. But a good manager must be able to do this, the strategic thinker not only looks downwards but also upwards to the horizon in search of opportunities, threats, and most importantly, looking for anomalies. It is the anomaly that can really be innovation… ”
One of the architect’s functions is to ensure that this view of the horizon is not lost at the same time that the focus increases.
Create maps and practice management
Maintain a solid base of knowledge of business architecture and connect it to essential and non-essential domains, outside the business architecture (for example, customer journeys, processes, system applications).
Provide the appropriate direction and paths in order to establish a practice, the formalization of the support infrastructure, the definition of function and organizational structure, training, methodology, governance, and tools.
Translate & Clarify Strategy
Business architects can help define the big business strategy, but executives and other business leaders are usually responsible for creating that strategic direction and goals.
A Business Architect can help to understand the pressures, opportunities, and restrictions through a more structured view of the work so that it is easily communicated and used by the entire organization.
Allocation and Investment Models
“Which investments best support the company’s strategic objectives?”
This is the question that business architects help to answer, using investment models and other tools, in order to help leaders, executives, and councils to understand the advantages and disadvantages between projects and paths, for a more agile and efficient decision making.
That’s it, I hope this text has helped you. Leave a comment!