Does Enterprise Architecture require a law degree?

I came across these three definitions included in a Gartner Magic Quadrant EA tool.  After reading the text a few times, I felt the need to consult with an attorney.


Capability is the ability to perform a particular kind of work. For example, a company that sells products must have the capability to communicate its marketing message to potential customers. A Capability can be either existing (an ability that the organization currently has) or planned (an ability that the organization would like to have in the future).

The Capability type represents the ability to perform a particular kind of work, while the Business Function type represents the work itself.

Business Function

A business function is a particular kind of work performed by an organization. For example, "Marketing" is a business function. It could include sub-business functions, such as "Lead Generation"

Business Process

A business process is a set of specific activities necessary to perform a particular kind of work. Note: A Business Function represents a particular kind of work, while a Business Process represents how that work is performed.

Now I happen to have sitting next to me a business reference model for an organization.  A business reference model is a means to describe the business operations.  The business reference model documents common business functions performed throughout the organization and aids in consistency in terminology.  The business functions themselves create nice containers where we can organize our business processes.

So how do capabilities fit into this discussion?  If a business function provides a capability, then there should be a decent amount of commonality between an organization’s capabilities and business functions.  The exception would be where the organization has a planned capability that is not a function yet.

This blog DOES NOT provide any legal advice and users of this web site should consult with their own lawyer for legal advice.

Update:  Curtis Lupton from Troux added a finer point.  A capability "describes" the work and the business function is "how" the work get accomplished.


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