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What's Business Architecture?

The following infographic illustrates common disconnects in today’s business environment and shows how Business Architecture serves to properly align the organization. Business Architecture reveals how an organization is structured and can clearly demonstrate how elements such as capabilities, processes, organization and information fit together. The relationships among the elements dictate and specify what the organization does, and what it needs to do to meet its common goals. 

Download the PDF infographic.

A common problem in today’s business: the upstream corporate vision fails to get successfully translated into actionable objectives. Downstream, critical coordination fails amongst business units, as well as between the business and IT.

Business Architecture serves to properly align the organization. Business Architecture reveals how an organization is structured and can clearly demonstrate how elements such as capabilities, processes, organization and information fit together.

How do I define Business Architecture?

To simplify any business or company, I usually try to define them in 3 layers, in following figure I have shared my model of thinking:

Then I put together what is each business look like in those 3 layers. I currently work with a startup called iCare Benefits. iCare Benefits is a for-profit social enterprise which enables manufacturers, social organizations, banks and service providers to serve workers at the bottom of economic pyramid.

The following figure demonstrates the 3 layers of iCare:

How to define the Solution Architecture?

It is very crucial to define what is your core business and what is not, then you can set strategies on which areas matter the most that requires more focus. Besides, for non-core business you should purchase a ready product and adopt your processes and refrain customization. At iCare, in order to facilitate this transition and be committed to our principles we have defined following categories:

  • Core Business. At iCare Benefits we have defined following items as core business:
  1. Revenue Generation, any channel, technique, technology, product that help us to generate more revenue.
  2. Repayment, any channel, technique, technology, product that help iCare Members to pay back the loan
  3. Collection, any channel, technique, technology, product that help us to collect the debt
  • Non-Core Business. All other areas except core business will be considered as non-core, such as Finance, Accounting, Inventory, Fulfillment, SCM and etc.

According to this classification we should decide what product or services should be acquired, everything on non-core business must be acquired from a third-party. Then we defined a change program called: "iCare Reloaded" which comes with many different solutions that covers all perspectives of our business.

The following figure illustrates a high-level architecture of iCare Reloaded Program. 

There are several processes hidden in this big picture however, in following table we have briefly explained each of systems and its services.

NetSuite

NetSuite Inc. is an American software company based in San Mateo, California, that sells an eponymous group of software services used to manage a business's operations and customer relations. Customers access these services over the internet, through internet browsers, paying a periodic subscription fee.

The main services that iCare is using on NetSuite are listed in below:

  • CRM to address B2B needs in all subsidiaries
  • Fixed Asset Management in all subsidiaries
  • Finance in all subsidiaries
  • Accounting in all subsidiaries
  • SCM in all subsidiaries

Credit Management & Assessment

This is a system that can help us to score and set credit limit as well as due limit. Also in later on this system will help us on real-time scoring.

  • Decision Table. There are many cases when we need to make decision based on input data. One good example is a decision to assign specific credit limit. We can setup a set of cut-off risk rules to decline iCare Membership for a high-risk applicants or to use a decision table to specify which categories of users will receive a loan on automatic basis.
  • Scoring Table. Instead of rule decision we can set a score point that will be added to a final result. In a result we will get a total of all scores and we can make further decision based on this value.

Business Intelligence

BI will be the system that pulls our data from various systems and create trend analysis as well as other important metrics for our business in order to apply Data Driven Decision Making concept.

Microfinance

Mifos is an extended platform for delivering the complete range of financial services needed for an effective financial inclusion solution.

Mifos flexible product creation engine allows us to instantly create, configure and roll out brand new credit, deposit, and share products across any of your branches. Savings is already emerging as one of the most proven services in the financial inclusion toolkit. Mifos supports us as it moves beyond basic passbook savings with support for fixed and recurring deposits, current accounts, standing instructions, account transfers so our iCare Members can benefit from a fluid mix of deposit and credit products to help them store up the funds to resist shocks and grow income needed to make larger purchases and investments.

B2B Portal

B2B Portal is the bridge among all other systems which is empowering our business partners such as HR Director of our Customers (such as Honda), banks, and brands. It also has an administrator section which is going to be used by our operation team.

B2C Portal

This is a standard eCommerce platform which is fully integrated with other systems. We are building our eCommerce platform based on well-known platform called Magento. Magento will be the heart of Path to Purchase journeys, also it encapsulates all sales channels Field Sales, TeleSales and Direct sales. Magento will be deployed as multi-store meaning every subsidiary can be one or few stores. 

iCare Benefits Mobile Apps

There will be few mobile applications available in iCare ecosystem, however in the first roll out following applications will be provided:

  • iCare Member Mobile App, iCare Members would be able to have full control on sales orders, tracking the status of orders, view the installments and communicate with iCare directly.
  • Field Sales App, this mobile application will empower our field sales reps also it provides more transparency as well as efficiency in the process.

What's Next?

In next posts, I will share more how to take the solution architecture and start execution, delivery and rolling out such enterprise solution.


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