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Business operational architect February 6, 2012

Posted by Chris Eaton in architecture, Enterprise Architecture, methodology, methods, people, profession.
Tags: , ,

funny how time flys…200+ days since i made a post. Hard to believe it!  t’has been a busy time

One idea I have become very interested in recently is the idea of a Business Operations Architect (better names may exist!).

Let me explain this role. I am very interested if this role exists in organisations already and what i might learn from them

My starting hypothesis is:

  • most architects are working on project delivery, architecting new solutions or upgrades to existing ones. Typically they introduce new functionality to end users (business, application or functional architect)
  • some architects design infrastructure (technical or infrastructure architect)
  • some architects are working on Enterprise Architecture; they plan the future IT landscape of applications and infrastructure

No architects are looking at current applications, their functionality, infrastructure, incidints, problems and supporting environment such as monitoring, capacity, performance, etc .

Therefore: a new role is needed: the Business Operations Architects: they ask and answer the following questions:

  • Are users happy with the functionality? what needs to change to improve user experience and function?
  • What incidents have happened, how can they be prevented in future?
  • What problems exist in the current solution and how can we solve them with future releases?
  • Is the supporting operational infrastructure fit for purpose (monitoring, alerting, hardware type/age, software age/support arrangements and if not, what changes are necessary?

They would also play an assist role:

  • are new solutions fit for purpose; functionally and operationally? they would lead or participate in architecture reviews
  • ensure changes are accurately reflected to documentation such as system scope diagrams, interface specifications, architecture diagrams – these often are out of date relating to atrophy of design
  • provide expertise to support incidents and help restore service

is this a good idea, is anyone performing this role, does anyone have a better name for it!





1. Ahamed - February 14, 2012

I think the definition you have given regarding an operations architect is, in a lot companies, fulfilled by the operations or IT support manager.

They are the ones responsible for the tickets, immediate problems and solutions, capacity and the like.

In some companies the role is divided into two different roles, one to deal with the techincal side and another to deal with the functional (business) side of things.

My thoughts on this are that, these two above positions should really feed into the EA so that long term solutions are worked into the growth of the company.

2. ericweinstein - March 12, 2012


“Business Operations Architect”, as described, has some overlaps with the architect role in an Application Portfolio Management program.

Application Portfolio Management (APM) is about maximizing the value of the applications running your business. The goal is to achieve beneficial changes that improve the balance of value to supported cost risk.

Without an APM practice, the unmanaged portfolio of applications grow stale. This may be in the form of higher operating costs to “keep the lights on” for the application, weak service level and support, or obsolete technology – to name a few. The key here then is to methodologically and pragmatically assess all or a subset of the applications top-down in the business in order to devise strategies and define projects and request funds.


Chris Eaton - March 12, 2012

it definitly does overap. My experience is that the Application Portfolio Manager often does not consider themselves all that technical and really appreciates the technical eye of an architect in this context

3. Mark Miron - August 27, 2012

Hi Chris,

I am currently transitioning into a role like the one you are describing here for an organization that offers SaaS solutions. The role that I am entering is born from the realization there is a between operational / enterprise architecture and application architecture of the services we offer.

We are still defining the role so I am curious if you have an further insights that you would be willing to share on this topic?

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