Business architects from Charter Communications, NOS, TELUS, Vodafone and Videotron & Fizz shared their insights into planning and implementing transformation that delivers real business value during TM Forum’s Global Architecture Forum Business Architecture: Enabling value driven transformation.
Designing transformation to realize business value
As industries and companies seek to transform themselves to be more efficient and drive new growth, value driven transformation will help ensure hard lines are in the right places, protecting the things that the business needs to preserve and innovating where the best return on investment can be achieved. However, communications service providers (CSPs) typically face several challenges to implementing transformation that drives real value for the customer and the business. These include limited alignment between business strategy and execution and a lack of shared understanding between business and technical teams. So, it was a pleasure to discuss solutions with an international panel of experts during TM Forum’s Global Architecture Forum webinar on Business Architecture: Enabling value driven transformation.
The team was made up of Andrew Greff, Enterprise Architect, TELUS; Pierre Roberge, Senior Enterprise Architect and Business Architect, Videotron and Fizz; Marika Roettele, Solution Architect, Vodafone; Cliff Faurer, Principal Architect III Solution Engineering, Charter Communications; and João Pombinho, Head of Enterprise Architecture, NOS. They started by sharing the definition of Business Architecture as the set of building blocks and artifacts that collectively provide context for how components from various domains assemble and interact to generate value for stakeholders.
As one of the strategic imperatives for the Business Architecture (BA) work is to help ensure congruence between strategic decisions and implementation, to help enable this, the work is integrated with the other models of TM Forum included in the Open Digital Architecture. Therefore, the BA provides an overarching view on top that focuses on strategic planning aspects. The components of the TMF Business Architecture are, Conceptual Reference Model, Value Stream Framework, Capability Framework, Metrics Framework & Business Framework.
An important feature of the BA framework is the conceptual reference model, this is a model of concepts. This divides the scope of the enterprise into a context, like a bookshelf of concepts in context. Here the standard nouns and relationships are used to define the vocabulary of horizontal and vertical city blocks that make up the baseline context structure for the capability map. Then all the existing ODA models can be mapped into the same contexts, achieving congruence between the planning and implementation models of TMF.
The framing is used to tie the threads from the different groups / models with specific context, and taking this and organize in the structure of the BA model, in a way that demonstrates how we deliver value to stakeholders. Using the ArchiMate modelling language so the model can be expressed very precisely.
To date the team have delivered the Strategy, Intelligence and Readiness areas, across front office, middle office and back office, in depth levels of capabilities. Next the capability team is focused on the Operations areas of the baseline map.
In addition, the team published an Introductory Guide which captures in detail the building blocks and concepts used in the Business Architecture Framework and how it all ties together.
Some of the key challenges that the Business Architecture work aims to solve is;
- Lack or limited alignment between business strategy and execution,
- Lack of a common language and shared understanding between business and technical teams,
- Lack of a model that describes the set of abilities that a digital service provider requires to execute its current and anticipated future business model.
The business capability model, is the model that captures the set of abilities an organization requires to execute its current and anticipated future business model, operating to a three-to-five-year time frame. A Business Capability captures the “What” a business does. They are unique and they are not processes or operating models. For a capability to exist it must have a purpose and it does require the enabling capabilities, the people process, information and technology and investment to ensure that the capabilities can be realized.
A business has a number of business goals, which helps identify its capabilities, which in turn help realize the business goals. Business outcomes are highly influenced by the quality and maturity of the business capabilities.
The first step is to create a series of business capability heat maps for assessment and decision making:
- Business Capability Heatmaps
- Investment Decision Maps
- Capability Roadmaps
Identifying the capabilities that are of strategic importance and those that are business critical, as these may not be the same. Then you may look at the health of these capabilities. Assessing if we have the right competencies level, does it fit with the right culture, do we have sufficient resources, is it scalable, portal, cloud native, are the opportunities for automation?
Next may want to understand capabilities that are truly differentiating against competitors and compare with competitors. May also wish to assign a maturity level to the capabilities. Then may wish to align based on investments being made into these capabilities, using the investment decision map. Then may decide the benefits and return on investment. Another assessment would be the cost base analysis, and then the near and mid-term cost base, and calculate the return on investment, assess what types of investment would be needed to reduce this cost base and calculate the return on investment.
Another way to look is the gaps, creating capability roadmaps, understanding the delivering milestones, assessing investments and retirements of capabilities over time.
The key benefits of using the TMF Business Capabilities is that they are an integral part of the TMF Open Digital Architecture, they provide a common language and facilitate discussion across the business and wider DSP / CSP ecosystem. Business capabilities are easy to understand, relate to and tend to remain stable over a period of time, and business capabilities can be used to drive actionable strategies, investment decisions, business planning and risk management.
Watch TM Forum’s Global Architecture Forum webinar on Business Architecture: Enabling value driven transformation. You can also find out more about the Business Architecture team's work in our introductory guide and from our Business Capability Map.