10 September 2008

Business analyst versus Enterprise architect smackdown

Take a look at this article comparing Enterprise Archiects with Business Analysts.

Which team are you rooting for?

Link: The Business Analyst versus the Enterprise Architect

Thanks to Andrew for sending the article to me.

(Photo care of Okinawa Soba, CC and Flickr)


  1. There are a few things I think the article gets plain wrong, but overall, I think the assessment of the relationship between EA and BA is pretty reasonable. The author hasn't seen the Business Analyst Body of Knowledge (BABOK) knowledge areas - if he had, I think he would say that the Enterprise Analysis KA is the point of congruence between the typical Enterprise Architect and the typical project-BA.

    A few notes on quotes:
    "Are BAs ... simply another type of enterprise architect that should be rolled into SOA initiatives?"
    No. At the level of the organization that an EA builds solution options, the requirements are strategic in nature. They're still requirements, but they're called 'business objectives' and 'goals' and 'mandates'. At the project-BA level, the requirements are constrained by the operational environment, which is described in the enterprise architecture.

    "To be relevant then to the area that EAs concern themselves with, we really are focusing on one sort of BA in particular: the IT business analyst." I think this statement sells the enterprise architect short: it implies that the EA should only be concerned with IT, rather than having a mandate that includes all the architecture of the whole organization.

    "What makes the BA role interesting is that it predates the predominant use of IT in the enterprise. In the days before IT, the BA would have a set of principles and methods they would use to address risk management, facilitate inter-organizational communication, improve labor utilization, optimize processes, and perform other tasks that required connecting the strategic aspects of the business with the tactical parts that made it work. When IT was introduced into the mix, it just became another part of the mechanism that made things "work"." Except for the 'risk management' piece (which is usually more of a Project Manager role), I think this is a great summary of why business analysis is NOT a technology role. We could talk before telephones, and we could analyse the business before computers. It's just that the power of technology makes the impacts of that analysis vast.

    Thanks for pointing out the article!

  2. Thank you Julian for your comments.

    I think the inclusion of EA in the BABOK was a brilliant choice and one that clearly shows the strategic value BAs can bring.

    It is definitely a space in project and portfolio management that needs some assistance from analytic types.