BBC Interview Series: Pedro Alveraz at UPS
BBC 2017 Speaker Series – Practitioner: Pedro Alvarez, Business Systems Analysis Manager at UPS
Regarding his presentation at Building Business Capability in Orlando, Nov. 6-10, 2017, we asked Pedro Alvarez, Business Systems Analysis Manager at UPS, a few questions about transforming the business. Check out this interview in relation to his BBC presentation entitled, An Introduction of Business Architecture to the Business Analyst.
Q: In what ways do you see your group helping your organization handle business transformation?
A: The Business Architecture group is instrumental in the transformation of any IT organization. I see it fundamentally as a transformation from an IT organization into a business organization. The analysis conducted by this group serves as a compass, pointing the organization towards our business needs and strategic goals. We want to understand the business – our customers and processes – better than anyone else. Then, use that knowledge to transform out technology into not just tools to support our business, but part of our business itself.
Q: Can you describe the challenges you face or have already overcome in establishing more robust business transformation capabilities for your organization?
A: The biggest challenge in any type of transformation is creating a new paradigm where you can be flexible so that you can react with agility. This is a challenge that I believe does not go away. Part of it is an organization’s resistance to change. Another is the reliance on standard processes that have proven successful in the past, but are not conducive to the industry’s move towards more agility. This is where business architecture can be extremely valuable. At the center of flexibility and agility, is the consistent understanding of the business. In order for us to be proactive, and agile, we need a knowledge foundation that allows us to make decisions faster without negative impact.
Q: What are your short-term goals for becoming more agile?
A: In the short term, we’re looking to get buy-in on the foundation upon which our agility will be built. Along with that, we are looking at strategic goals that are of highest impact and transform the way our IT helps us meet those objectives so that agile approaches are applied in the development, and that our technology itself has built-in business agility.
Q: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the past year?
A: That business architecture can be truly transformational. There is not only a need, but a desire, for it to be part of the development and understanding of strategy. As we build our foundation, both the business and IT are excited about it. This is a momentum I hope we can build on.
Q: What do you see as the most important goal or trend for business analysts and other professionals to keep in mind?
A: The drive for all businesses to become more customer-centric. Businesses are changing their business models so that they provide personalized services to customers so that they can differentiate themselves from the competition. It manifests itself in the customer experience – the customer journey. And technology is, more than ever, at the heart of the customer experience.
This is why I feel business architecture is so important to the Business Analyst. BAs need to understand the business better than ever before, and need to understand it from the customer’s perspective, and not from a technology or IT perspective. Technology solutions are responding to this trend by providing customers simpler, compact apps, rather than large systems. This means Business Analysts must elicit and analyze requirements with a more focused view. But, at the same time, balance that with an understanding of the big picture – the business capabilities and how those capabilities are enable within the context of business model. This is the clearest, and most effective, way to align requirements to the business.
Q: What’s the latest method/process/tool you’ve implemented to help your business operate more effectively? Have you seen any results yet?
A: Business Capability Mapping is a powerful tool. Defining business capabilities and understanding them is one part of it, but most important is understanding how they are enabled and the impacts of that enablement. Processes, technology, and data all enable capabilities. By modeling, understanding and communicating those relationships, we are able to see how one decision affects the bigger picture. We’ve seen this applied in how our IT organization is defining more scalable architecture and IT strategies to satisfy business needs.
Q: If you could go back 5 years in time and give some professional insight or advice to yourself, what would it be?
A: Start building our business architecture now – don’t wait until the organization has an appetite to understand and utilize it. The earlier you have a foundational view of the business defined, the better. It is valuable even if methods and concepts such as agile, DevOps, and Micro Services are not in place.
Q: Please tell us a take-away that you provided during your talk at the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference this year?
A: The main take-away I want to provide in my presentation is that business architecture is important to the Business Analyst – that it is not an academic exercise, or only for architects. It will enhance, and in some ways simplify, the role of the Business Analyst. As long as the BA is willing to think business, rather than technology. We have really just started our journey, and I hope that sharing what we’ve done so far will help others begin their journeys as well.
Pedro’s presentation, An Introduction of Business Architecture to the Business Analyst, at Building Business Capability was presented on Friday, November 10, 2017.
Building Business Capability is the only conference that provides insight into Business Analysis, Business Architecture, Business Process, Business Rules, Business Decisions, and Business Strategy & Transformation toward the pursuit of business excellence.