In my mundane life I am a member of the Business Architecture Guild, currently working for an IT Enterprise Architecture department, practicing Business Architecture, and studying for my Business Architecture certification exam.
Business Architecture is a discipline that allows the practitioners to abstract an enterprise, and the business ecosystem in which it operates, in order to allow the managers of the enterprise to think about business in a non operational/strategic way. It is a communication and analytical framework for translating strategy into actionable initiatives. In my elevator speech to C-Suite folks I say that practicing BA is like developing the network diagram you see hanging on the wall in an IT Architecture Department, only it represents the business, not the technology. A completed business architecture are the blueprints of the business; a map of concepts, definitions and models that describe how an organization creates value for its stakeholders.
As I write this, it is 2020. The SCA Board of Directors has made a plea to members to pay for their membership because of the precipitous decline in membership numbers while the in person SCA activities are shut down due to Covid-19. This sparked another round of discussion on membership called Why The Society is Dying, Oh God(s)!* Frankly, I am tired of the iterative hand wringing about the decline of SCA Membership, and the repeated attempts to figure out *why* it is. Everyone has an opinion about why membership is declining, but those opinions tend to align with the political, generational and personal trauma of the people who hold those opinions. IE we have opinions. We have so many opinions that we are drowning in them, but membership continues to slowly (and in the age of Covid-19 precipitously) decline. We have not figured it out, but I believe that we have not figured it out because we are not asking the right questions.
I wanted to offer a different way to assess declining membership levels, by offering a model which examines the value of an SCA Membership to the person who chooses to pay for one. Rather than ask: “Why are membership numbers declining?” I am using this model I developed, this abstraction, to ask “What is the value of an SCA membership, and has the value of the membership to the person who buys it declined over time”? In Business Architecture there is a tool called a “Value Stream” which visually depicts how an organization creates the value for a stakeholder within the context of a business activity. Value Streams depict the incremental value that the initiating stakeholder achieves by interacting with the business. I have chosen to call the thing I built for the SCA a Value Map (rather than Value Stream) because a) a lot of people confuse Business Architecture Value Streams with SAFe Agile Value Streams and b) because in this example, the Value of an SCA Membership is not precisely incremental the way the Value of Buying a Laptop would be for Amazon, but more a given set of “privileges” that possessing an active membership grants**.
There are 3 items of note here.
3. The Same Value Map as 2, only shaded to indicate where the value of a membership has likely decreased since the Covid-19 shut down, where it has increased, and where it has remained roughly the same. Although I have not done a ton of analysis on the Covid-19 map, the reader should take away from it that events can alter the value of a business activity, as Covid-19 has done to the SCA.
Before you read anything else, I suggest that you get deep into the weeds of items 1, 2 and 3.
Then you can read the follow up post: Part 2: But Meggie, What Does This All Mean?
In Service to the SCA,
KMA: Katherine Journeay, (LinkedIn Profile)
*No one but me is calling it that.
**Note for other SCAdian Business Architects out there. Yes, I know Value Streams get tied to Business Capabilities, and I have not done that here. If you want to help me build out an SCA Business Capability Map so that we can, I am looking for volunteers to help. Email me!