The definitive guide to

Business Architect

A business architect is a link between business strategy and technology at its most foundational level. These are the must-haves for any successful business architect.

Introduction

A business architect is an important position within an organization, as it bridges the gap between technology and business at its most foundational level. As businesses have to continually adapt to changing IT landscapes, business architects have a vital role in linking business strategy with the reorganization and restructuring of both business and IT processes, among various other responsibilities. 

While they may have some overlap with other IT architects, the role of a business architect does differ from enterprise architects, solution architects, or technical architects. Business architects play a vital role in business transformation. 

Who is a business architect?

A business architect is a strategic, senior role responsible for business transformation and overseeing critical deliverables; such as business capability models, business capabilities, and value streams. A business architect’s main responsibility is leading the architecture of new organizations or re-architecting aspects of existing ones.

A business architect will take a leadership role in the strategy and development of holistic, multidimensional business architecture to achieve an organization’s goals and solutions.

Role

The role of business architects is diverse, but their main intention is to align strategic objectives and tactical demands. Their responsibilities also include (but are not limited to) operating and business model analysis, synergizing with other business entities, developing capability maps and other artifacts, and assisting in the technology enablement of core capabilities and value streams.

Business architects will often work in conjunction with enterprise and technical architects to oversee and strategize business capabilities. 

Day-to-day job

The day-to-day role of a business architect will depend heavily on the current state of an enterprise’s business architecture, and what deliverables they are required to produce.

However, overall the daily work of a business architect will encompass the development of core entities, new models or views, as well as their ongoing upkeep and upgrades. They will also be required to participate in meetings and plan ongoing strategic developments.

Reporting on various aspects of business architecture, including management reporting, and operational reporting of areas of relevance is also an important part of the role. 

Common myths

  1. "Business Architecture is complicated"
    A common misconception about business architects and business architecture is that it is complicated. Building foundational business architecture is a straightforward discipline, and successful business architects will know exactly how to navigate basic foundational principles with methodically driven solutions. 

  2. "Businesses don't need business architects"
    Another business architect myth is that businesses don’t need business architecture. Everyone in an organization sees the business from their own perspective, and business architects provide a cohesive overview of every challenge, often highlighting issues that are hidden from other individuals and departments.

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Skills & qualifications

To transition into a successful business architect, there are certain key skills and qualifications you should seek to acquire. Business architects will tend to come from a background of consultancy or business analysis–but others come to the role through solutions or enterprise architecture.

Skills

Not only do business architects need certain hard skills such as experience and qualifications, but soft skills are also required. Business architect skills include:

  • Experience with business process modeling, enterprise architecture, and associated tools.
  • Ability to visualize growth and build high-level models for future analysis and maturing the current business architecture.
  • Ability to partner with stakeholders to document and communicate values generated from the new capabilities and processes. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and communication skills. 
  • Ability to translate complex subjects into actionable recommendations.
  • Program/project management skills and the ability to set clear goals to get desired results.

Qualifications

Desired qualifications for a business architect include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent. Ideally, majors include Physics, Math, Computer Science, or Information Technology Management.
  • Many years (6+) in senior Business Analysis, Business Architecture, Solutions Architecture roles in Purchasing, Supply Chain, and/or Logistics System areas.
  • Experience in modeling business processes by using various tools and techniques (e.g. UML).
  • Experience with enterprise architecture modeling tools.

Some of the current jobs postings and descriptions can be found on typical job posting sites:

Responsibilities & deliverables

Responsibilities

Responsibilities for business architects will vary depending on what deliverables are required by an organization. However, the main responsibilities of a business architect can be narrowed down into a handful of key areas. 

Firstly, business architects will be required to make assessments for areas of improvement and make the changes necessary to carry out strategy or reshape the business. They will also be responsible for map making, and essentially building the business architecture. This includes creating and maintaining the knowledge base and connecting it to other domains such as processes and system applications.

Then the business architect will have to manage the practice within an organization as it matures. This means formalizing the supporting infrastructure, training, methodology, governance, and tools.

Deliverables

Business architecture deliverables will tend to change based on the audience, context, and use case. 

  • Business Architecture Business Case: The business case provides the more in-depth qualitative and quantitative benefits of business architecture
  • Business Architecture Framework: A business architecture framework is an encapsulation of scope, depth, and range of activities, outcomes, and deliverables.
  • Business Capabilities Map: A multi-level decomposition of what your business does.
  • Value Streams: End-to-end flows aimed at delivering value to a stakeholder.
  • Process Maps: More detailed maps linked to the Value Streams.
  • Systems, IT services, and Applications: An inventory of the IT landscape to juxtapose against capabilities and value streams.
  • Business Information Models: An inventory of the business landscape.
  • Org Context: Implementation of the capabilities map and value streams.
  • Lenses, Views, Reports: Adapting, updating, and analyzing.

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Salary

Business architects can earn anywhere between $101,000 and $169,000 with most earning between $125,000 - $135,000. The average Business Architect's salary in the United States is currently $128,061.

However, a Business Architect's salary expectations can range hugely based on experience, certifications, and qualifications. How vital a business architect is to the ongoing maturity and growth of the company will also factor into salary negotiations, as will the size and scope of the organization itself. The role is becoming increasingly sought-after.

Level Salary Range Average Salary
Business Architect $101,000 - $169,000 $135,000
Senior Business Architect $119,000 - $195,000 $155,000

Career path

There isn’t a single career path into becoming a business architect, and individuals from various disciplines can end up in this line of work with the right tools. The role is continuously evolving so there is a huge range of scope, focus, and key components that can factor into the position. More often than not, business architects come from an IT background, but many also transition from business analysts, project managers, business consultants, product managers, and technical architects.

Due to the ongoing evolution of the role, business architects have a varied career path forwards, often branching into more senior or specialized positions from what they learn in the role. A business architect’s career may lead into a corporate or strategic business planning position, especially those who are more business leaning. Others may also transition into Enterprise Architecture or other senior IT positions. Business architecture also lends itself well for transitioning into a CEO position.

Certifications

There are a number of certificates business architects should hold when looking for work, but there are also a number of other, less important certifications business architects should consider obtaining which will help them learn and develop in the position. The most important and desired certificates for business architects are:

Tools

Business architects will use many of the common office applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, as well as specialized tools and software for modeling business architecture. Software business architects may utilize include the following:

There is also a huge array of online tools business architects may find useful in their work. What is used will depend upon available options, what is fit for your purpose, the cost, deployment options, and licensing terms. Some examples include:

  • Mindmeister or xmind for diagramming and mind mapping.
  • Strategyzer or Canvanizer as strategy generators.
  • Gliffy, Lucidchart, or draw.io for graphical utilities and mapping software.

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What are the must-haves for a successful business architect?

A successful business architect should have a unique combination of soft and hard skills that make them valuable team members. Alongside the relevant experience, background, and qualifications, business architects are able to see the bigger picture and benefit from having a business mindset over a technical one–although this is also important to have. 

They should also be team players and excellent collaborators; business architects will always need to be able to communicate complex or technical ideas to different audiences within an organization, and be able to adapt and rework methodologies based on feedback and stakeholder recommendations. 

The value business architects bring to an organization is significant, as it is a role that will evolve alongside the needs of the business. This is why business architects also need to be adaptable, knowledgeable, and efficient to successfully carry out the strategy and manage deliverables using the modern EA solution of their choice.

Business architect vs. enterprise architect

While the two are sometimes seen as synonymous, business architects and enterprise architects will have slightly different responsibilities and deliverables within business transformation and wider enterprise architecture. The primary goal of an enterprise architect is to provide a roadmap for organizational redesign, while the other has a more structured, model-driven approach to building and managing an organization.

Business architects are sometimes considered to be an important domain within the broader scope of enterprise architecture. They may be part of an Enterprise Architecture team, with an emphasis on business capabilities and processes over enterprise-wide IT architecture. However, there are organizations where business architects are entirely separate.

 

Business architect vs. solution architect

A business architect is also not a solutions architect–these are two different roles. A solution architect will work with business architects on deliverables such as the business solution conceptual vision, however, their exact responsibilities will differ.

A solution architect provides the vital link between the IT strategy of a business and the successful implementation of technical solutions. Their job is to improve processes by aligning IT services, products, software, and infrastructure with business goals. They are not as heavily involved in the overall structure of a business, however, and are more IT-oriented in their work.

 

Business architect vs. business analyst

A business analyst is also different from a business architect, however, the two do complement each other. A business architect can be thought of as a scaled-up version of a business analyst. While business architects are more concerned with maps and models that represent an organization’s capabilities, value streams, etc.; business analysts focus on business needs and solution delivery. 

They ensure the alignment of their projects and requirements to business strategy (and business architecture). While business analysts do use business architecture to help define requirements, the role tends to act as more of a liaison between management and technical developers.

 

Conclusion

When business architects and enterprise architects work in harmony, the result is a match made in heaven. While both roles differ slightly in terms of the day-to-day and deliverables, the two complement each other by combining both business strategy and business transformation with IT solutions.

The result is a more robust, solutions-based approach to achieving the goals and requirements of the business. Enterprise architecture benefits from the presence and development of business architecture when they are successfully synergized.

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Whether you are from the banking or insurance industry, automotive or logistics industries, or others, this generic business capability map is the perfect starting point!

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Additionally, we have added tips and best practices on how to get started with business capability maps and to create a complete overview of your business capability landscape.

Answers to frequently asked questions on Business Architects

What does a business architect do?

A Business Architect is a strategic, senior role responsible for business transformation and overseeing critical deliverables; such as business capability models, business capabilities, and value streams. A business architect’s main responsibility is leading the architecture of new organizations or re-architecting aspects of existing ones.

How do you become a business architect?

Solution architects are responsible for finding and implementing solutions for specific business problems. The solution architect bridges the gap between concept and implementation by acting as a channel between enterprise architecture and technical architecture. They translate the design into a concept for IT operations.

Solution Architects are most similar to project managers, ensuring that all parties, including stakeholders, are on the same page and moving in the right direction at all stages.

What skills does a business architect need?

Not only do business architects need certain hard skills such as experience and qualifications, but soft skills are also required. Business architecture skills include:

  • Experience with business process modeling, Enterprise Architecture, and associated tools.
  • Ability to visualize growth and build high-level models for future analysis and maturing the current business architecture.
  • Ability to partner with stakeholders to document and communicate values generated from the new capabilities and processes. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and communication skills. 
  • Ability to translate complex subjects into actionable recommendations.
  • Program/project management skills and the ability to set clear goals to get desired results.

How much do business architects make?

Business architects can earn anywhere between $101,000 and $169,000 with most earning between $125,000 - $135,000. The average Business Architect's salary in the United States is currently $128,061.

Difference between Business Architect vs. Enterprise Architect

While the two are sometimes seen as synonymous, business architects and enterprise architects will have slightly different responsibilities and deliverables within business transformation and wider enterprise architecture. The primary goal of an enterprise architect is to provide a roadmap for organizational redesign, while the business architect has a more structured, model-driven approach to building and managing an organization.

Difference between Business Architect vs. Solution Architect

A solutions architect will work with business architects on deliverables such as the business solution conceptual vision, however, their exact responsibilities will differ.

A solution architect provides the vital link between the IT strategy of a business and the successful implementation of technical solutions. Their job is to improve processes by aligning IT services, products, software, and infrastructure with business goals. They are not as heavily involved in the overall structure of a business, however, and are more IT-oriented in their work. 

Difference between Business Architect vs. Business Analyst

A business analyst is also different from a business architect, however, the two do complement each other. A business architect can be thought of as a scaled-up version of a business analyst. While business architects are more concerned with maps and models that represent an organization’s capabilities, value streams, etc.; business analysts focus on business needs and solution delivery.

Best practices to define business capability maps

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