Written by Hanane Khiel
Todays complex organizations are continuously working towards higher efficiency. To do so, they start up multiple transformation projects in business, IT and data departments. But most of them struggle to get a clear overview of which capabilities, such as people, process, tools, and information the organization possesses to successfully execute on the strategic plan, leading to failed projects 70% of the time 
Executives are then asked for the next strategic plan, but still do not have a clear view on the state of their current business. Various transformations are being executed, leading to multiple directions the ship is moving into. This presents an enormous challenge for executives to come up with a strong strategic plan that has high chances of creating the impact it intended to have during execution.
So how do you bridge the gap between a company’s strategy and its successful execution?
The light at the end of the tunnel
The way to address this is to model organizations based on their capabilities , breaking them down in a collection of simple components. The objective is to build a high-level and holistic mapping about how the business works, as one cohesive and visual model. Thus, creating a model that eases communication in the organization, can help you identify capability gaps and map the right initiatives to it to close the gaps.
The collective of methods used to facilitate this process is called business architecture. Business architecture helps you define how people, process, tools and information work together to get the business running and produce revenues. It aligns all parts of the organization to come to a common understanding of how the organization is working now, and should work in the future.
The business architecture view helps you in numerous ways, for instance:
Aligns the team around a shared vision
Facilitates better decision making
Forecasts threats & opportunities
Not as easy as it looks however
Setting up a business architecture initiative seems like the right thing to do. But it isn't always easy to execute on:
Business executives might not be interested in detailed diagrams and prefer direct actionable reports. If done wrong or by less experienced people, business architecture can indeed become a pile of papers that are too detailed and not action-oriented enough.
Business architects might rely on third-party information only to build their models and do not go to visit the front line, don’t speak to the customer or don’t bring in the latest industry and sector trends. This leads to models being built with insufficient information, and consequently being incomplete.
Business architecture might not generate buy-in as modelling and thorough planning approach can be perceived as time consuming for companies that are adept of innovation and are inspired by customer- and product-centric approaches.
The Brightwolves way
At Brightwolves, we take a pragmatic approach to business architecture:
Go deep before wide – focus, when building up the picture, on the capabilities impacted by the ambitions and strategic actions.
Bring in industry experience and understand the specific situation in full detail together with the client team.
Start with the actions that will generate the most useful outcomes.
Move forward, use-case based.
This practical way is embedded in our methodology with our clients. We help our clients to set transformation strategies of their complex organizations with :
Value Stream Map: provides a visualization of major steps in your work processes. It is a representation of the flow of goods and services from the supplier to the customer throughout your organization that creates value.
Capability Map: a business capability is the organizations' ability to successfully perform a certain set of activities. It covers existing capacity and desired capacity, pinpointing the gaps that need to be closed with new initiatives.
Information Map: provides a visual overview of key information elements in your organization, and how they are linked to each other.
Following through with this methodology will bring some clear advantages:
Ease knowledge exchange throughout the organization, as everybody “speaks the same language”
Bring clarity on what initiatives are contributing to what ambitions
Ensure avoiding duplication of effort throughout the organization
Are you facing issues in implementing an overall transformation strategy that sticks? Don’t hesitate to contact Sven Van Hoorebeeck to have a chat!