Business Oriented Architecture (BOA)

Business Oriented Architecture (BOA) combines service-oriented architecture (SOA) with business process management (BPM) and interoperable applications and functions along with a focus on high performance network computing. It exposes, connects, and leverages enterprise assets. BOA can be viewed as the “mix of services that allows an organization to run their business with well-defined processes.”[1]

The BOA theory offers a company the options to automate, manage and incorporate imperative processes, functions and applications as well as legacy applications and elements in a unified interoperability model to attain business objectives. The idea behind BOA is focused on attaining business objectives, meeting customer expectations and minimizing business obstacles. These BOA systems can permit clients to create, initiate and operate complete business workflows or operating modules through the integration of several technologies and features.[2]

The Tenets of Business Oriented Architecture (BOA)[3]
Business Oriented Architecture BOA is described as "a business-focused approach for defining and driving IT." BOA based on three tenets:

  • Implementation independence
  • Location independence
  • Contracts

BOA allows the business to create business models and processes independent of IT implementations and removes dependencies on programming languages and location. It also places accountability back on the business through the creation of contracts around the business processes and services they may require. IT then creates solutions that mirror these business models and implements metering solutions that allow monitoring and reporting of contracts.

Management Focus of Business Oriented Architecture (BOA)[4]
BOA is focused on managing and integrating critical business processes. It includes:

  • Objectives and Strategy
  • Assessment
  • Solution modeling
  • Solution analysis
  • Implementation
  • Analysis and Optimization

Functional Architecture Business Oriented Architecture (BOA) (See Figure 1.)[5]

Business Oriented Architecture (BOA)
Figure 1. source: BP Trends

  • The red, IT-facing components in Figure 1 are familiar elements of an SOA picture. SOA provides IT groups with an architecture that allows rationalizing of data across multiple stores. Similarly, with consolidation a major source of cost-reduction, SOA provides a model for abstracting out system-specific calls. These “services,” then, are really better ways to expose and govern the hard-core IT assets so that they can be more easily consumed and therefore more easily re-used. Building access to data and systems in this way also means that consolidating and changing specific underlying data structures and engines is not only easier now, but in the future, too. SOA, then, provides a strong technical basis for process improvement. It also provides the tools that technical teams will use to build out the services that implement a business process. However, at this point, technical teams need the input from their business counterparts about which events matter, who uses the specific business services and when. In short, how these services are organized and consumed to drive process improvement is not defined here in the red layer. That work is done in the blue, business-facing layer and is discussed next.
  • The blue, business-facing layer is where you will find the core functions delivered by BPM. It is here that the questions of how to improve the process itself are answered. The tools in this layer must be designed for business users as those are the people that answer what must be done to improve the process. Furthermore, these tools must allow business users to move directly and seamlessly from the design of a process to the active management of that process and finally to the analysis that leads to the next round of process optimization. The best BPM tools allow business teams to transition between analysis, design, and management without ever losing the process context. Properly enabled, a business team can access to real time process performance information, directly manage process instances, define goals and simulations, and run those simulations using against production data to discover new opportunities for improvement. More importantly, when it is time to implement the changes, BPM provides a familiar picture of the process that both business and technical teams can use to understand what must be changed and what benefits are expected. This shared picture of the real process is the cornerstone of communication and alignment required for successful process improvement. And only the BPM layer delivers it in a context that both business and technical users can understand.

Business-Oriented Architecture weaves the “Business” into Architecture[6]
In most Enterprise Architecture programs’ business architecture work streams simply create business process models. While certainly necessary, an organization needs to leverage additional business architect viewpoints (the term Business-Oriented Architecture is employed to better signal the importance and necessity of incorporating these business focused viewpoints into Enterprise Architecture programs. The advantage of specifying these artifacts is that most “business” professionals are familiar with them. The indispensable skill that remains then is to how best cross reference these viewpoints with the other 3 principal domains which “IT” professional are most familiar with – i.e., data, architecture and technology architectures.) into their practice including:
1. Business Model Canvas:The Business Model Canvas facilitates the following tasks: describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model.
2. Business Strategy Canvas: A strategy canvas presents key competitive factors.
3. Business Strategy Maps: A strategy map is a diagram that is used to document the primary strategic goals being pursued by an organization.
4. Business Process Taxonomy (Level 0, 1): A classification of key business processes (aka tasks, activities). Level 0 are high level processes (e.g., Claims); Level 1 Processes are more granular (e.g., FNOL).
5. The Balanced Scorecard: BSC is a strategic performance management tool – a semi-standard structured report that can be used by managers to keep track of the execution of activities by the staff within their control and to monitor the consequences.
6. Organization (Chart) Model (People): An organizational chart is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization as well as the relationships and relative ranks of its positions.
7. Skills Inventory (People): A skills inventory is a compilation of the skills, education and experiences per role. Organizations use these inventories to assess their ability to meet certain company goals.
8. Business Social Media (Collaboration) Strategy (People): A document describing: social media business-oriented trends in the industry, current social media-technology oriented trends, social media platforms, organization’s need for digital collaboration and plan for infusing social media platform(s) technology, process and governance into the organization.
9. Business Financial Statements: For a business enterprise, all the relevant financial information presented in a structured manner and in a form easy to understand, are called the financial statements. They typically include three basic financial statements (B/S, C/F, P/L).
10. Business Performance Metrics: A listing of an organization’s key performance management metrics (e.g., loss ratio for an insurance firm).

Benefits of Business Oriented Architecture (BOA)[7]
When identified as a unification of BPM, BI and SOA disciplines, the BOA includes the Information Technology-facing elements of SOA, such as directory, data, and application services, business-facing elements like business event monitoring, human activity management, and process choreography, and analytical elements including BI, predictive models, and rules.To deliver value a BOA necessarily focuses on high-level constructs such as business objectives and strategy, assessment, solution modeling, implementation, and optimization. There are three primary benefits to this design.

  • The first is that new BOA structures combine legacy applications and assets in one interoperable framework for heightened leverage, reuse and longevity of prior investments.
  • The second advantage is that unified interoperability models assimilate assets and solutions throughout a network for the production of virtualized operating models and solutions.
  • The third benefit is that a successful BOA leads to cost-effective, efficient and shorter-cycle process improvement, application development and alignment across the enterprise.

See Also


  1. What is Business Oriented Architecture? Lana Bandoim
  2. Business Oriented Architecture (BOA) for attaining Business Objectives Andrew Moran
  3. What are the Three Tenets of Business Oriented Architecture (BOA)? Celent
  4. What Business Processes does Business Oriented Architecture (BOA) focus on? Wikipedia
  5. What does the functional architecture of what this business oriented architecture looks like? BP Trends
  6. Understanding Business Oriented Architecture (BOA) Raymond Bordogna
  7. What are the Benefits of Business Oriented Architecture (BOA) Digital Journal

Further Reading

  • Do You Have A Business-Oriented Architecture? CIO Index
  • Moving to Business Oriented Architecture Tom Knight
  • Business Oriented Architecture and SOA Modern Analyst
  • Business Oriented Architecture Q&A Sath
  • A Business Oriented Architecture eBiz