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The basic idea of capability modelling is simple: structure the business of a company hierarchically by capabilities it needs to create customer value.

business capability is defined as ‘a particular ability or capacity that a business may possess or exchange to achieve a specific purpose or outcome. Capabilities represent the basic building blocks, or DNA, of a business’. Capabilities define what, not how, a business does something’ [BIZBOK®].

Examples of Level 1 business capabilities are: sales, risk & compliance, payments

Why is it important to model business capabilities?

  • Capabilities clarify terms and concepts across organizational borders.
  • Capabilities provide a robust skeleton, a framework for assigning all the other elements of the enterprise architecture.
  • Capabilities can be used as the central structure for heat mapping in order to answer questions such as: ‘Which strategic fields of actions do we see in which capability’; ‘In which capabilities are we planning to invest how much?‘; ‘Which capabilities are not supported enough by IT?’
  • Assigning IT-applications to capabilities is a powerful way to support business & IT alignment.

In recent years, the idea of business capability modelling has emerged in the EA community. Much has been written about the idea of capability modelling, and it can even be said that we are facing a ‘capability hype’. You can find capability models for many industries on the internet. There are many industry-specific consortiums that try to model the business functions of that particular industry in the form of capabilities.

Example for Business Capabilities of a Bank (simplified)

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  1. The following site has some merit as an example of Business Capabilities.

    Link supplied by Tim Manning, taken from a client of his. Note how they are things that the company is capable of using to interact with its market without being actual products or services. At least, it's reasonably easy to interpret them that way especially as there is a "Products and Services" page elsewhere on the site. These capabilities are things that the exec or a potential customer can look at to understand if Johnson Matthey can do something other than their existing products and services.

  2. Anonymous

    → just hit the Icon / Pictures of relevance to enlarge CapMap 

    Some good references that could serve as a starting Point - example capability maps for industries e.g. Banking, Insurance, Retail; Manufacturing, Pharma

  3. Anonymous

  4. At our EA departmend, we often discuss the distinction between the terms:...

    • Business Capabilty
    • Business Domain
    • Business Function

    From my understanding and experience:

    • "Business Capability" and "Business Domain" arew often used with the same meaning. However, some people use "Domain" for level 1 and "Capability" for level 2/3.
    • "Business Function" is not part of the AT Framework, but I know a lot of companies, that use this term for the lowest layer of BusCaps.

    Would it be helpfull to add a definition here?

  5. I am proposing an alternate model based on the same Architecture Principles with which I can relate and resonated with me.

    See Introducing the alternative model

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