Business Architecture: What is it and Why Does it Matter?



Approximately 70% of all corporate change initiatives fail due to a disconnect between strategy and execution.

Generally, the common challenge with transformations in the financial service industry is that the vision and strategy does not get translated into actionable objectives. Business units interpret the vision and strategy differently, which creates misalignment between Business and IT (and also Finance, Sales, Marketing, C-suite) and results in waste and inefficiency.

Whether it is implementing a new system, a new direction or a business process, change initiatives fail all too often and most of the time they fail for predictable reasons. The question is why do these change initiatives still fail if we know the reasons? People don’t like change and even though they know better, they stick their heads in the sand. Resistance is a common reaction, but should be anticipated on.

Only 10% of the companies succeed in fully executing on their vision.

This means: there is still a lot to win in this area. One of the key things that can help organizations realize their vision is Business Architecture.

Often, change initiatives and projects make missteps because they do not look at how the project at hand fits into the overall strategy of the organization. Instead they execute initiatives in a siloed approach and fail to consider how the initiative impacts the organization as a whole.  Additionally, there is often a lack of communication between those deciding on the initiatives and those executing them, so while everyone might know what they are doing, not everyone understand why they are doing it, which can lead to lost opportunity for fully realizing objectives and optimizing functions. If leaders are able to communicate why the project is critical to the company’s success and long term goals, employees will get behind the project.

In short, Business Architecture bridges the gap between strategy and execution. But what does that really mean?

Two commonly used definitions of Business Architecture are:

“A blueprint that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands” Business Architecture Guild

“The business strategy, governance, organization, and key business processes” TOGAF

Business Architects support enterprises with identifying the current state of their business, discussing the future state of their business, and addressing all dimensions of the enterprise challenges. Business Architects create a common language throughout the whole enterprise. Business Architecture creates a common language for all the different business unit and it aligns the organization by creating a direct and clear linkage between executive intent and organizational action.

business architecture


Benefits of Business Architecture:

  • Integrated view of the enterprise
  • Alignment strategic goals and objectives
  • Repeatable approach
  • Alignment Business and IT
  • Improved decision making
  • Increased operational efficiency and capacity for growth

In summary, change initiatives often fail for reasons other than a poor quality platform, they fail because targets and objectives were not clear and aligned at the start of the project.  By using Business Architecture to bridge the gap between the business and IT units, organizations can avoid common miscommunication and misunderstanding that are detrimental to the success of a project.

For more information, related to Business Architecture, see Advisory > Clarity.

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