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Enhancing and Validating a Capability Framework: An Example

by Daniel Lambert

Business Architecture Info has been providing industry-based reference business architecture frameworks for years based on the feedback provided by its over 100 customers over the last 10 years. It formalized this offering by launching its website a year ago. Most of our clients purchase our pre-built, ready-to-go, and customizable reference frameworks to fine-tune their own capability map and understand how they can be used in their everyday strategic and tactic planning and architecture initiatives. In the past, our industry-based frameworks have been built based on our customers’ feedback. On top of the feedback from our customers, we are now also starting to receive feedback from our industry-based committees. It’s been so far very successful. Here’s how we proceed.


Committee Selection

Our industry-based reference frameworks have improved over the years based on feedback from our clients. Recently, one of our customers asked to create a formal committee to enhance our Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Reference Framework. We tried and got great results.

3 months ago, we created an Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Framework Committee to upgrade at regular intervals the framework. This committee was supposed to have 3 or 4 members. We got interest from 19 people from the industry and finally decided to grow the membership of this committee to a total of 5 architects. Members of this committee are currently:

  • Ann Jacobs-Long, Director, Strategic Planning and Execution at a large American electric utility,

  • Brian D. Smith, Director of Architecture at an American oil and gas company,

  • Laura Carty, Business Architect at an Australian water utility,

  • Lindsey (Stapleton) Lindley, Segment Architect at an American electric utility, and

  • Marius Botha, Senior Enterprise Architect at a New Zealand electric utility.


The energy and utilities industry is vast and includes the electric, gas, and water utility companies, energy providers, and finally the oil and gas industry. Our committee reflects this industry diversity.

Our committee members are architects working in the energy and utilities industry and are not remunerated. In return, they receive all versions of our Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Reference Framework documents. They also get to interact with their peers within their own industry. Finally, they get to understand all the possibilities of using capabilities and other business architecture artifacts used in their own organization.

Committee Meetings

Members of this committee are based all over the world. Time zones are a big problem to coordinate meetings. We have solved this by organizing detailed surveys. They occur once a month (probably once every two months in the future). Each survey takes about 90 minutes to complete. Business Architecture Info does most of the work by enhancing its framework based on answers, questions, and comments received from its committee members.

We should soon move from interacting between committee members from a survey tool to an enterprise architecture tool where members of the committee will be viewers and Business Architecture Info’s employees will become editing users. This will smoothen interactions significantly allowing the following:

  • Members of the committee will be able to comment on any element of the Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Reference Framework at any time.

  • Members of the committee will be able to follow and be alarmed of any changes made to specific elements of the Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Reference Framework that are of particular interest to them.

  • Members of the committee will be able to dig into the database and filter it at their discretion.

  • Members will have access to all the diagrams, tables, charts, and properties of any element part of the Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Reference Framework.

  • Members will finally be able to interact better with each other.

Results So Far – the Energy and Utilities Example

The feedback from the Energy and Utility Committee has generated very impressive results so far. It has resulted in a third version of the Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Reference Framework. It has now 2,900 business capabilities, compared to version 2 with 2,200.

Figure 1 - Energy and Utilities Level 1 Capabilities.png

Each one of the Energy and Utilities level 1 business capabilities, shown above in Figure 1, now has the following number of business capabilities:

  1. Electric Distribution Grid Management: 115 business capabilities (versus 95 in version 2),

  2. Electric Transmission Grid Management: 109 business capabilities (versus 92 in version 2),

  3. Energy Generation Management: 102 business capabilities (versus 74 in version 2),

  4. Energy Management: 65 business capabilities (versus 62 in version 2),

  5. Facility Management: 82 business capabilities (versus 52 in version 2),

  6. Fleet Management: 45 business capabilities (versus 48 in version 2),

  7. Oil and Gas Management: 494 business capabilities (versus 118 in version 2), and

  8. Water Management: 333 business capabilities (vs 118 in version 2).


In total, the Energy and Utilities tier now has 1,345 business capabilities in version 3 versus 659 business capabilities in version 2. As for the other 1,555 business capabilities (2,900 minus 1,345), they are almost common from one industry to another. They include business capabilities tied to client-driven, marketing & sales, strategy, human resources, finance and accounting, enterprise support, governance & compliance.

What Lies Ahead for the Energy and Utility Committee?

Plenty has already been accomplished by the Energy and Utility Committee. Still, a lot remains to be done. Here are some of the tasks that lie ahead:

  • Fine-tune furthermore the energy and utility capability map,

  • Find additional energy and utility-specific value streams,

  • Identify enabling capabilities for all value streams of the Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Framework,

  • Identify required information concepts for all value streams of the Energy and Utilities Business Architecture Framework,

  • Identify important business services (and microservices) of the energy and utilities industry linked to their corresponding business capabilities.


Refining our Energy and Utility Business Architecture Framework enables our clients to fine-tune with more details their own business capability map with their own organization. It also introduces new concepts like value streams that can prove very instrumental in providing detailed and relevant roadmaps to the solution delivery team of their organization. Providing the right architecture artifacts to agile delivery teams enables them to describe more accurately, quickly, and with less risk the requirements, epics, and user stories of their projects.

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Join Our Healthcare or Pharma Committee

We intend to organize starting this September a committee for the healthcare industry and possibly also a third one for the pharmaceutical industry later this year. Others could follow afterward for other industries. If you are currently an enterprise or business architect working in one of these two industries, you may be interested in becoming a member. Make sure to let us know.

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