The Business Architecture Call to Action with William Ulrich

 Hosted by Deirdre Caren on Agora Insights' Blueprints for Success - Business Architecture

In this engaging and insightful discussion, William (Bill) Ulrich shared a clear call to action for business architecture. We looked at the critical role of Business Architecture in organisational transformation, the significance of progressing beyond the early stages of its implementation, and the potential impact of AI on the future of business architecture. So let's get started...

Bill's Background

William Ulrich is the President of TSG, Inc., a veteran in the field of business transformation and a leading voice in business architecture. Bill is also the Co-founder and Principal Instructor at Business Architecture Associates, Co-founder and President of the Business Architecture Guild, Co-chair of the OMG Architecture-Driven Modernization Task Force, and Cutter Fellow

Bill is an experienced mentor, advisor, and workshop leader who specializes in helping corporations and government agencies with business and IT transformation strategies. With his years of experience, Bill’s expertise lies in establishing and leveraging business architecture, planning and executing business and IT transformations, and ensuring transformation strategies are actionable. He has a unique ability to bridge business and IT organizations to facilitate coordinated strategies.

Bill's journey began with a degree in technology, leading him to work as a programmer and analyst on IBM mainframes in the early 1980s. He then transitioned to refurbishing systems and consulting, eventually founding his own company in 1990. His expertise lies in large-scale systemic transformations, with a particular focus on software environments across various industries.

He has authored six books, hundreds of articles, was previously a senior manager at KPMG, served on the faculty of Northeastern Illinois University, and has trained thousands of professionals. Ulrich also hosts the weekly radio show "The North Star" on the VoiceAmerica Business channel discussing strategy execution topics.

It was a privilege for me to interview Bill and gather his thoughts on a number of topics. He clearly calls and cautions businesses on a few issues. Let’s take a closer look…

3 Key Topics

Business Architecture as a Transformation Foundation

Bill emphasized the transformative power of business architecture. It's the bedrock that connects an organization's strategy to its execution, ensuring everyone is on the same page. The blueprint it provides is invaluable for guiding change effectively. It struck me how business architecture isn't just about aligning IT investments with business goals, it's about creating a shared language and understanding that permeates every level of the organization. This holistic perspective is what makes it possible to translate strategic visions into tangible outcomes.

Moving Beyond "Startup" Mode in Business Architecture

One of the most poignant points Bill made was about the urgency to move past the initial phase of business architecture implementation. His call to action was clear: don't get stuck in the setup phase. Use reference models, tap into existing resources, and construct a minimally viable business architecture as quickly as possible. This approach resonates with me because it's practical and outcome-focused. It's a reminder that the value of business architecture is realized in its application, not just its meticulous crafting.

"Get past the foundational stage, get past establishing a minimally viable business architecture." 
- William M. Ulrich

The Future of Business Architecture with AI

Looking ahead, Bill sees AI as a significant player in the future of BArch. His perspective is that AI can enhance various aspects of business architecture, from strategic planning to product alignment with capabilities. However, he wisely notes that AI is only as effective as the quality of the data and the robustness of the underlying BArch. This conversation highlighted the importance of a disciplined approach to integrating AI into business architecture. It's not about replacing human architects but empowering them to achieve more with the support of advanced technology.

"If you see that there's a gap, and if something's not there, come up with something."
- William M. Ulrich

10 Key Learning Points

  1. Business Architecture is crucial for aligning IT investments with business objectives.
  2. A business-first approach to transformation is more effective than a technology-first approach.
  3. Establishing a Business Architecture should not be a drawn-out process; use reference models to accelerate development.
  4. Business Architecture can provide a solid foundation for applying AI in organizations.
  5. Effective business architecture requires collaboration across various architectural disciplines.
  6. Continuous learning and adaptability are essential skills for business architects.
  7. A strong business IQ and the ability to think holistically are critical for architects.
  8. Communication skills are vital for engaging with stakeholders at all levels.
  9. Business Architecture can enable true agility in project management and strategy execution.
  10. The future of business architecture will likely involve a closer integration with AI and data analytics.


My discussion with Bill Ulrich offered unique insights into the value of business architecture and how it can serve as a cornerstone for both current and future organizational transformations. As we look to the horizon, the integration of AI into business architecture presents exciting opportunities, yet it also requires a disciplined approach grounded in a well-established business architecture. It's time for organizations to take action, move swiftly beyond the preliminary stages of business architecture, and embrace the potential that AI offers while recognizing the foundational role that business architecture plays in harnessing this potential effectively.

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Contact Deirdre Caren on LinkedIn

About Bill 

William M. Ulrich is a mentor, advisor and workshop leader to corporations and government agencies worldwide. With more than 40 years of experience, his transformation strategies have been the basis for business and IT architecture transformation initiatives worldwide. Mr. Ulrich specializes in mentoring organizations on establishing and leveraging business architecture, planning and deploying business and IT transformation, and ensuring that transformation strategies are actionable. Mr. Ulrich has the unique ability to cross business and IT organization boundaries to facilitate and streamline coordinated strategies often lacking in large institutions. 

Mr. Ulrich is President of TSG, Inc., Cofounder and Principal Instructor at Business Architecture Associates, Co-founder and President of the Business Architecture Guild, Co-chair of the OMG Architecture-Driven Modernization (ADM) Task Force and Cutter Fellow. His publications and methodologies have been the basis for business and IT architecture transformation projects worldwide. Mr. Ulrich has authored / coauthored six books and hundreds of articles, was a senior manager at KPMG, served on the faculty of Northeastern Illinois University, and has lectured and trained thousands of business and IT professionals. Mr. Ulrich hosts "The North Star" weekly radio show on the VoiceAmerica Business channel where each week he discusses various aspects of strategy execution, from innovation through resolution and deployment.

Bill's Social Links


Tactical Strategy Group

Business Architect Guild 

Authors Guild 

Business Architect Association 

The North Star

William's Books

Post sponsored by Agora Insights Ltd 

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