Digitized Business Functions

What Does an Abstraction Layer of Digitized Business Functions Actually Look Like?

Digitized Business Functions 101

We’ve explained what digitized business functions are and why they’re important. Let’s now explore what an abstraction layer of digitized business functions actually looks like.

With everything in one place, abstracted from specific technologies, it is possible to see your technical landscape in a whole new way. It should make sense to everyone in the enterprise and give insights that were not possible before, either because of silos, or having the information at too low-level a view.

Seeing views of business functions, and within them which IT services support (or could support) them, shows the real value (or not) services provide in terms of business goals. It’s important to have multiple views on the same information, as different views make it easier to see different relationships.

Tree View

One way to view this information is a tree view… the blue dots in the below graphic are the business functions or capabilities. The orange dots are the services, and the green dots are the components that make up those services (e.g. Rest Methods or SOAP operations).


Heat Map

Another view is as a heat map; below is an example. This view makes it very clear where gaps lie.

Circle View

A third view is representing all levels as circles; the larger the circle the more services within them, so you can quickly see large groupings at whatever level.

Individual Service Drill-down

You can also drill down into individual services. Doing this enables you to see how each one depends on other services within your existing IT landscape. As an example, here’s the deep lineage and complexity underlying a simple name:

Service Dependency Map

If you look instead at the dependencies from many different services, you begin to see heavily reused services or “orphans” which nobody uses. Grouping them by different organization units or owners can show how parts of your organization depend on others, often yielding some surprising results.



The main takeaway from this drill-down of views is that your abstracted service layer is rich in information which is best viewed using different approaches. You don’t want to be tied into a single way of looking at it, or else you’d easily miss out on valuable insights.

Finally, for whichever view you use, it’s crucial to add that the most value is when the abstraction layer is complete and at the centre of your business. It can show you a true representation of how business and IT are working together to achieve the same goal.

But are there existing frameworks you can use to get to this point? Find out here.


Andy Medlicott

Andy is a digital expert and Lead Engineer at Waitrose and Partners. He has a passion for harnessing technology and industry trends to ensure excellent engineering practice which in turn delivers consistently high quality solutions.

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