Modeling your business capabilities is foundational to understanding your business. More importantly, connecting the strategic “what” we do with the tactical “how” we do it.
Capabilities are the bread and butter for most enterprise architects, and for this reason, Ardoq has improved and standardized our best practices for Business Capability Modeling.
To properly map your business capabilities, we have created a standard template which you can use to answer these key questions:
Questions to Be Answered:
What is the capability model of our organization?
What is the level of maturity and differentiation of our capabilities?
How are our capabilities implemented?
Which capabilities are at risk?
What is the associated cost and complexity for my key capabilities?
The information below is included in the business capability modeling module, which is available in-app from the best practice menu.
For this example, we will use our standard naming convention so that filtering and examples are consistent. You are able to use your own and simply replace the guide with your own custom field configuration.
Business Capabilities Workspace (Flexible): Business Capability
Applications Workspace (Flexible): Application
People Workspace (Flexible): Person
Departments Workspace (Flexible): Department
Business Capabilities Workspace: Realized by
Applications Workspace: Integrated with, One-way integration, Two-way integration
People Workspace: Is expert in, Owns
Departments Workspace: Owns
Total Allocated Cost (Calculated Field)
Total Direct Cost (Number)
Lifecycle Management Fields:
Lifecycle Phase (List)
Evaluation (Date Range)
Development (Date Range)
Live (Date Range)
Mainstream (Date Range)
Strategic Evaluation Fields:
Complexity (Calculated Number)
Market Differentiation (Number)
Functional Fit (List)
Availability and Quality (List)
Business Strategic Fit (List)
Business Fit (Calculated Number)
Technology Integrity (List)
Maintainability and Agility (List)
Technical Strategic Fit (List)
Technical Fit (Calculated Number)
Strategic Rating (Calculated List)
Service Level (List)
Hosting Type (List)
Technical Review (Date Time)
View Modifier Fields:
Capability ID (Text)
Component Level (Number)
Component Order (List)
For a complete introduction to the definitions of the components, references, and fields in this use case, please see this article the Business Capability Meta Model.
Answering Your Key Questions
What Is the Capability Model of Our Organization?
The first and most obvious step to answering this question is to simply map your capabilities in Ardoq and use our visualizations to dynamically produce your capability model. To build out your capability model, you have a few options:
a) Collaborate in Ardoq
We recommend you use the out-of-the-box capability workspace as your starting point. The capabilities can and should be nested in hierarchies according to their level of importance and classification by domain. Follow this guide on 6 Best Practices for Defining Your Business Capabilities to get an understanding of not just where you are, but also where you need to be.
We recommend using the Grid Editor, as it is the most efficient in getting data in via the app UI.
If you are looking to collaborate with the wider organization, we have a pre-configured survey which you can find under the Survey menu:
b) Start with One of Our Industry Specific Reference Models
The BCM Module comes out of the box with 10 Industry Specific Reference Models which you can use to get started. Reference models included:
Property and Casualty Insurance
University and Higher Education
You can find these in the workspace called “Industry Capability Models (Examples)”. Or, download an Excel template if you would like to start with the reference models in Excel.
Open both the demo example of “Business Capabilities” and the “Industry Capability Models (Examples)" workspace. Find the industry most relevant to you and copy the core capabilities into the existing “Business Capability” workspace.
You can likely reuse the strategic and supporting capabilities across most industries. Delete the generic core capabilities and you are ready to enrich the model with your own data.
c) Import via Excel
If you already have your capability model defined in an excel sheet, you can use our excel importer to quickly get your data into Ardoq. We have also provided a pre-configured excel template with import mapping to ease the process even further. Here's where you can find the Business Capability Model Excel Template.
Visualizing Your Capability Model
Once you start to get data into Ardoq, you can watch your business capability map dynamically update in any of our out-of-the-box visualizations. Two views that are especially useful in looking at business capabilities are the Capability View and the Dependency Map.
These two are very similar views but have some minor capabilities that give you different types of control over the stylization and format of the view. The Capability View for example can use the "Component Order" field to determine the placement of capabilities.
Once you find the view or views best suited to getting an overview of your capabilities, you will likely want to add a perspective to manage what you see and how it is formatted.
Simple filters to only include your capability model for example can help you start telling the story of what you have and how it is connected, performing, costing, etc.
Quick filter applied to only show the Business Capability Workspace.
What Is the Level of Maturity and Differentiation of Our Capabilities?
Once you have answered the first question, the next set of questions to answer are more geared at evaluating your capabilities. Two common attributes used to evaluate capabilities are Maturity and Market Differentiation.
In Ardoq, we have included these as fields on the capabilities. Using the grid editor or surveys, populate and maintain these fields with the help of the domain experts across your organization.
As part of the analysis to these fields, you can create heatmaps using conditional formatting, tabular overviews, and dashboards. Again, the Capability Map and Dependency Map views will likely be the best views for analyzing these performance attributes.
Note: Keep in mind that all views are context-sensitive, meaning you can drill down to just your core capabilities or to w specific domain.
Using conditional formatting on maturity fields, we have created a maturity heatmap in the image above.
How Are Our Capabilities Implemented?
Understanding how your capabilities are implemented is a matter of connecting your business capability map to the Departments and Applications they depend on.
Again this type of data collection can be captured via in-app reference creation, import via excel, or by sending out the accompanying survey in the BCM Module.
As you start to build out these references, your visualizations will be automatically updated with the connected components. If you are looking to get a full overview, again the Capability Map and Dependency Map are the best views. Simply update your filter sets to include the connected workspaces you are interested in.
Pro-tip: We recommend that each view tells one story. If you would like to see the applications and departments connected to your capabilities, we recommend two presentation slides, as too much information can be distracting.
In the image above, we are combining the heat-mapped conditional formatting with the applications realizing the capabilities in question.
When drilling down to understand how specific capabilities are implemented, the Block Diagram can be extremely powerful. Using simple grouping like group by “Parent All” and “Workspace” and a narrow scope gives you clarity into how your business capabilities are realized and who your experts are within that domain.
The image above shows a Block Diagram with grouping and one degree of relationships in both directions.
Which Capabilities are At Risk?
Identifying capabilities at risk can be done in many ways and while it can be as complex as you wish, getting started we recommend starting with some basic analysis.
Risks can be identified by:
Capabilities with Low Maturity and High Market Differentiation
Core capabilities with High Market Differentiation and a dependence on Applications with a Low Strategic Rating
To create a report identifying Low Maturity and High Market Differentiation we recommend the Bubble Chart. Set the X and Y axis to the fields Maturity and Market Differentiation. Adding cost to the size of the bubble or complexity can also provide better insight into the magnitude of the risk:
To identify core capabilities with High Market Differentiation and a dependence on Low Strategic Ratings you need to use a set of filters and potentially conditional formatting to improve the view.
Strategic Rating - Not Equal To - Tolerate
Strategic Rating - Not Equal To - Invest
Market Differentiation - Greater Than or Equal To - 3
Using the Capability map you will get a resulting view showing only the most important capabilities and their low-rated applications.
What Is the Associated Cost and Complexity for My Key Capabilities?
Looking at your capabilities from the perspective of their associated cost and complexity is best done using the Bubble Chart view or by generating a more typical tabular report using the Tables view. Here you can set the X and Y axis to the calculated fields “Total Allocated Cost” and “Complexity”.
Total Allocated Cost is a calculation of related departments’ and applications’ cost fields aggregated to each business capability.
Complexity is a calculation counting the sum of the number of Applications and Departments realizing the capability in question. This is a simple calculation and can be expanded upon to consider other field values or number of integrations.
You can drill down in the bubble chart by clicking on the capability you wish to see more about. In doing so the aggregated data will be appropriately distributed.
Drilling down into Sales to see which capabilities within this domain are the most costly and complex.
This was a lot of information in a long article. If it left you with more questions than answers, reach out to us! You can do so via our website or by using the in-app chat. We're happy to help.