Summary of the Business Architecture Working Group’s (BAWG) Nobel Prize Case Study

The Nobel Prize Case study workshop was conducted & presented at the Open Group Conference in Amsterdam (2010)
The session was led by Harry Hendrickx – CTO at Hewlett Packard.
It was an investigation into whether business architecture can be described using natural language rather than any form of modelling language that requires learned semantics (meaning).
This post is my extract of the proceedings as they relate to business architecture. There were other dimensions to the presentation including details of why the Nobel prize was selected for the case study etc and full details can be found here.
“Business architects understand that a controlled way is required to convey properties to enhance the design, development and maintenance phase.”

“Why is this so difficult?

The business intent travels along many disciplines and several management levels.
Selective perception is a problem
Each group has its own selective perception filters on.
Each individual of each group has its own experience.
Each individual has had its own background and training.
This generates different interpretations of what is observed.
It also causes different preferences in representation of the observed item.
The background of stakeholders is always different and this causes a problem.
Communication between disciplines is the problem
The BAWG conducted a case study using members from different disciplinary backgrounds in order to test whether natural, non-technical language could convey the essential elements of business architecture.
After several sessions the BAWG agreed on a list of concepts that serves the purpose when representing the properties of a business.
The list includes
–         vision about the context of the organization;
–         mission; strategic direction
–         the ecosystem of outside participants and influences,
–         organizational structure within the capabilities and processes of the organization,
–         business rules and policies that guide its behaviour
–         the stakeholders of the organization, both inside like employees and outside like customers and suppliers
–         the relationship of capital with its stakeholders,
–         the relationship with society
–         the products, services and offerings,
–         resources used to create them
–         the metrics that provide a way to assess progress towards goals and to track performance
–         the value, both financial and intangible, that is produced, exchanged and transformed by the organization


In natural language we could explain properties of a business. No difficult conventions. These concepts can easily be understood by different disciplines.

The experiment has demonstrated that it is possible to convey the properties of business architecture in a natural and “controlled” language.”


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