13 March, 2008

Business Architecture and Capability Modeling

Capability modeling is an emerging technique for analyzing a business and modeling it in terms of its competencies. Capabilities are the building blocks of business. A business capability tipically defines what a business unit‘s purpose is, its core competencies, and is therefore directly bound to business objectives and strategy.

Capabilities provide a black-box view of those things the business can do, i.e. working on business artifacts. The business processes and resources involved in providing the capability are not exposed (business service orientation). Capabilities aren‘t isolated but form hierarchical value-networks with relationships that materialize the business processes. At a lower level, capabilities are modeled using traditional activities diagrams used for the implementation of IT solutions.


The key benefit that capability modeling provides over business process modeling is that it focuses on those elements of the business that are the most stable, and therefore facilitates the alignment with key IT initiatives, especially SOA adoption programs, which can leverage stable business concepts rather than process activities that are continuously evolving.

Outputs of capability modeling activities are direct inputs into the activities of service identification, definition and interface design (SOA).

Modeling effort should be done incrementally, with focus on key business initiatives first.

Capabilities modeling has proven to be particularly efficient in allowing to solve business issues not addressable in other ways. It also eases the deployment of business activity monitoring, providing the insight the business needs to adapt to environmental changes or identify new opportunities.

Modeling of Business Operations (Operational modeling), using UML diagrams:

Based on Business Artifacts (artifact-centered operational modeling), which requires:

  • Key Business Artifacts identification
  • Artifacts life-cycle definitions
  • Business tasks identification (BPMN modeling)
  • Repository building for artifacts
  • Flow components

2 comments:

Colin Birchenall said...

Absolutely agree. There's a lot of talk about SOA meeting EA but the concept of Capability (to me) is where they truly join. The "Business Capability" providing the modular encapsulation of (one or more of) process, technology, information and people that provide the potential to deliver a service (at any level within the enterprise) through a standard exposure mechanism.

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