“As an architect, you design for the present, with an awareness of the past for a future which is essentially unknown” - Norman Foster
What is a Business Architect? Is it the same as a Business Analyst? Do they build things?
Fear not! We’re here to answer all your burning questions. Below we meet Hannah and explore a day in the life of a Business Architect. We also discover why this role is set to become even more prolific in the future.
Name: Hannah Verrall
Job Title: Business Architect
Time at Digital Detox: 3 months
Hello Hannah and thanks for your time. First things first, what is a Business Architect?
This is a very common question as the role of a Business Architect is still relatively new. As a Business Architect, it’s my role to take lots of complex information and turn it into simple, actionable insights.
For example, if a client has ideas about what they want to achieve at an objective level, I need to work closely with them to refine and prioritise their requirements.
That sounds similar to a Business Analyst, is it the same thing?
Yes and no. I do work with the Business Analysts in the team, but my role is positioned at Programme Level, so I tend to work across multiple projects simultaneously.
I need to work with the client to simplify the big picture at the very start of a project. They may know the goal they want to achieve, but be unsure about how to get there. Or they may know what they want but be unsure about how to begin or what to do first.
I’ll get as much information from the client as I can and then start to drill down into the real value points.
It’s my role to ask as many questions as possible; probing the client and encouraging them to share everything that’s in their brain. In fact, I often joke that I’m the one who asks all the stupid questions! It’s just about drilling down into as much detail as possible and then turning that information into clear actions.
What does the ‘architect’ in your title relate to?
It’s the role of an architect to take loads of jumbled pieces and organise them into a logical pattern.
For instance, I will take a list of ideas, and organise and prioritise them. Then I’ll write Epics and maybe even draft Story names that the Business Analyst can work with the dev team to flesh out and implement.
I often use graphical representations of information to help the client see how their ideas could be turned into actions - a bit like a blueprint. So it’s definitely closely aligned to architecture in that respect.
It’s also my role to bring teams together and avoid people working in silos. It takes a collective effort to bring a project from Discovery to Delivery, so I need to coordinate various people and teams to get the project off the ground.
What do you enjoy most about being a Business Architect?
I really enjoy working directly with clients and shaping their ideas into real plans.
You could imagine my role as that of a commercial chef; most people can cook, but they may not be able to source the right ingredients, prepare them in the correct order and scale them for large groups.
It’s my job to put everything in the right order, using the best tools, and then deliver those to the client. Bon appetit!
I also like working across multiple projects and stakeholders, as well as working closely with the Business Analysts. I’m a big advocate of agile ways of working, so I relish helping clients get to grips with agile methodologies so they can benefit from them.
What are you excited for about the future of Business Architecture?
The agile discipline is still quite heavily focused on developers, but it has been successfully adopted within so many other functions. I’d like to see the industry begin to recognise the importance and potential of agile in business architecture, project management and product development too.
I’m looking forward to more people learning about the role of a Business Architect and enjoying the benefits we can offer to clients. Not many organisations have a Business Architect at the moment, so I’m excited to bring value to clients and see the role popping up more within the industry.
About Digital Detox
We are a digital design and development agency with a key focus on digital sustainability. Our ethos is simple; we do our best for people and the planet.
Whether we’re creating beautiful digital experiences, solving complex problems or finding innovative solutions, we work closely with clients to deliver the best experience to meet their needs.