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Workforce Architecture – What is Architecture and Why Workforce Architecture?

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Architecture is a fairly new concept when it comes to business – and Workforce Architecture is almost the last in line.

Firstly, what do we mean by Architecture?  Borrowed from the Construction Industry, there are a number of definitions for Architecture, including:

  • The art or practice of designing and constructing
  • Both the process and product of planning, designing and construction.

Part of the Architecture Process is understanding and documenting the current “as is” state, the desired “to be” state, and the processes necessary to migrate from current to desired over time – which may require a number of steps.

There are a number of different “Architectures” that impact organizations today:

Business Architecture          A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands.  Business Architecture provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands.  The Business Architecture addresses the following views:

  • Customers,
  • Products and Services,
  • Partners and Competitors,
  • Value Streams,
  • Capabilities,
  • Information,
  • Organization,
  • Business Rules,
  • Measures, and
  • Motivation.

Information Technology (IT) Architecture      A blueprint that is developed, implemented, maintained, and used to explain and guide how an organization’s IT and information management elements work together to efficiently accomplish the mission of the organization.  An IT Architecture addresses the following views:

  • business activities,
  • business processes,
  • data sets,
  • information flows,
  • applications,
  • software, and
  • technology.

Workforce Architecture      A blueprint  of how the organization will invest in and support it’s human capital/assets.  These speak to the key frameworks / blueprints you intend to put in place as your core workforce architectural database – which will ensure that the human capital workforce is enabled with the relevant direction and support to realise their full potential and to meet the objectives of the business strategy.  A Workforce Architecture addresses the following views:

  • Organization Structure
  • Career Management
  • Competency Management
  • Job Descriptions
  • Workforce Management
  • Performance Standards
  • Remuneration Strategies
  • HR Policies, Processes and Procedures

How it Works Together

The three architectures that plan, design and construct a business – any business, fit together based on the strategy of the organization.

The Strategy defines the Business Architecture and the Strategy and Business Architecture together form the basis for defining and constructing both the IT Architecture and the Workforce Architecture.

Key Criteria for Effective Architectures

The overall aim of an Architecture is to plan and design a blueprint that can be constructed at optimal costs.  An effective Architecture reduces redundancy, plans costs in advance, and ensures that objectives are achieved over the longer term.

Architectures are not rigid.  They are fluid and change over time as and when needed.  But each change is documented providing a reason for the change and the details of the change.  They provide a route-map from where the organization was (or is today), to where it intends being in the future.  The “artefacts” created through the Architectures show the way – both from where we have come, and to where we are going.

Effective Architectures remain a “living source” of business knowledge that evolves from past / current discoveries to serve a variety of sources / projects on an organization-wide basis.  Without the documentation trail that effective Architectures provide, for both successes and failures, the processes behind a project serve as only a one-time application of effort and resources and carry over no “knowledge” into the future.

Benefits of Creating Architectures

Creating Business, IT and Workforce Architectures that collaboratively plan, design and construct an organization capable of delivering short-, medium- and long-term goals is fundamental to creating a cost-effective organisation.  Effective Architectures:

  1. Allow organizations to sort through the plethora of redundant, fragmented, undocumented business infrastructures.  Distant “pieces” moving in the same direction without knowledge of each other are eliminated.
  2. Reduce the potential for failed multi-year initiatives.  Increased transparency allows CEOs and other leaders to detect projects with elongated delivery timeframes and questionable business value.
  3. Eliminate the need to “recreate the wheel” all the time.  Awareness of blueprints / templates allows organization-wide deployment of proven best practices for new projects.
  4. Position a company for optimal and flexible change-management execution.  When market forces shift, executives can effectively “drill down” for resources / strategies that can adapt to new demands.

To help you build a Workforce Architecture that aligns with your Business Arhitecture ….


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