Business Capabilities Defined

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In our last blog we discussed two very different viewpoints of capabilities. Some believe capabilities provide new insights into an enterprise, while others are either not yet convinced or see capabilities as process dressed up in drag.

In this blog we will reveal how Confiance sees capabilities and briefly discuss our emerging capability meta-model. But before we do that, let’s first get to some definitions as we see it:

Confiance Capability Definitions

Business Capability

We define a business capability as the ability of an enterprise to provide or offer a service in order to satisfy the needs of its customers.

Business capabilities are customer-driven when a company defines and measures their ability (or desirability) to provide a needed customer service, thereby ensuring the customers on-going (or future) loyalty.

Business capabilities are internally-driven when a company defines and measures their ability (or desirability) to provide an internal service that will enable them to satisfy a customer-driven capability.

Hence a capability network hierarchy can be developed showing which internally-driven business capabilities support which customer-driven business capabilities.

Capability Outcome

A capability outcome describes the end result after having satisfied all of the business capabilities that enable / are associated with this outcome.

A capability outcome must define what value this outcome will bring (or brings) to the enterprise.

IT Capability

An IT capability defines and measures a technology ability so as to either satisfy an internally-driven or customer-driven (or both) business capability.

Confiance Capabilities Meta-Model

Below is a meta-model that defines Confiance’s emerging perspective of capabilities and how these relate to both the enterprise’s strategy and business process architectures. We believe this is a relatively comprehensive springboard to begin focusing on objectives, needs and understanding of how capabilities will be structured within an organization.

From the above model, the following observations can be made:

  1. One or more business capabilities support a corporation’s strategic objective, and one or more strategic objectives may be supported by the same business capability.
  2. One or more business capabilities support a capability outcome, and one or more capability outcomes can be supported by the same business capability.
  3. As stated previously, a business capability network hierarchy can be developed showing which internally-driven business capabilities support which customer-driven business capabilities.
  4. It is possible for a business capability to be enabled by one or more business processes, and a business process can enable one or more business capabilities.
  5. Business processes are made up of data, products and services, an org structure, locations and a technology infrastructure.
  6. IT capabilities are enabled by one or more business processes and one business process may enable multiple IT capabilities.
  7. And as previously stated, IT capabilities define a technology ability so as to either satisfy an internally-driven or customer-driven (or both) business capability. However it is possible for an IT capability to exist without relating back to a business capability.
  8. One or more IT capabilities support a capability outcome, and one or more capability outcomes can be supported by the same IT capability.
  9. Please note: The complete enterprise architecture meta-model has not been depicted here as we want to focus on the capability domain and the intersections between the various other enterprise architecture layers, such as: strategy, business process, data, application and technology.

    In our next blog we will discuss business capabilities in more detail…