Business frameworks have become a best practice to model processes, technology and organization. Frameworks help visualize the landscape of the current and future states of organizations. Whether they are called capability maps or business architecture frameworks, they are industry reference models that can be used to plan, analyze, develop, manage and maintain.
With everything that is happening in the insurance industry and with the never-ending announcements of new technologies and competitors, companies need to define their business directions and how they can differentiate themselves. This is where business frameworks become an asset.
What is an enterprise business architecture framework? It is a representation of an organization’s business composition. It describes the functions at various levels of details, including information structures and the natural dependencies found between functions. Frameworks are used as a map to describe various aspects of organizations. They are the Lego blocks of an industry.
Those Lego blocks can then be enhanced and layered with what is specific to each organization. For example, companies may add some of the following perspectives to industry business frameworks to better describe themselves:
- Enterprise ecosystems
- Organizational structures
- Roles and accountabilities
- Processes and procedures
- Geographical map
- Risk assessment heat map
Whether to use an existing business framework or create one is an important question to answer. There are only a handful of comprehensive business frameworks available on the market for the insurance industry. The most known ones are ACORD and Panorama 360. Yet, available industry business frameworks can serve as accelerators for organizations. For management consulting organizations or technology vendors, an existing framework can provide credibility and structure to their offerings.
The true benefits from using industry business frameworks are speed, quality and cost reduction. This is true for defining strategies, planning projects or investments, analyzing situations, developing processes, defining technology requirements and managing organizations. Frameworks can be used for situations such as:
- Enterprise or business architecture
- BPM or process improvement
- Business requirements definition
- Software evaluation
- Application architecture
- Data warehouse architecture
- System integration
- Application portfolio management
- Operational risk management
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Data security management
- Knowledge management
- New employee training
Business frameworks can significantly leverage single projects or organizations. They provide a return on investment in the short and in the long term. They become an asset base for knowledge.