Explore the business ecosystem


Analysing the whole system in which a business service or product operates shows:

  • where and how the customer, other service providers, and intermediaries fit
  • the relationships and interactions among the key parties
  • the roles, functions, and behaviour of individual components
  • the overall operation of the system.

It considers the events that triggered identifying the opportunity, customer goals, and the business capabilities needed to satisfy the customer requests.

It is particularly important with large and complex cross-agency projects, where responsibility, accountability and mandate may not be immediately obvious.


The aims of this stage are to:

  • gain a high-level understanding of the business ecosystem, to make the project more effective
  • ensure all significant factors required to generate the benefits are considered.

Enterprise architect

This stage is the responsibility of an enterprise architect, or the project’s architecture owner. They work with a team of business analysts, architects and service designers.

The enterprise architect documents a suite of business context, business collaboration, and business interaction diagrams, and information maps and undertakes an ecosystem scan using a technique such as PEST analysis.


 Actions which may be carried out during this stage include:

1. Document the ecosystem in the following diagrams:

  • business context – to identify the actors (people, agencies, systems) who play a significant role in the business process, and the business areas of interest
  • business collaboration – to describe how the different actors work together to achieve their goals
  • business interactions – to describe the participating agencies’ view of the business interactions that support collaboration
  • business operating model – to describe how the participating agencies support the ecosystem, OR business domain model – to describe all topics related to a specific problem domain considering the various entities, their attributes, roles, and relationships, and any constraints
  • information discovery map – to create an overview of the internal and external information in an agency, what information gets manipulated by which system, and who needs to receive which information
  • ecosystem scan – to understand the business environment in which this capability operates, identify trends and drivers that affect the various individuals and agencies that are involved

2. Present this material to the project team and include aspects in the business case.


The outputs from this stage include:

    • a presentation summarising the big picture view of the ecosystem along with key insights
    • additions to the business case, typically as appendices.

    Tools and templates

    Tools (specifically enterprise architecture techniques) that may be helpful during this stage include:

      • business context diagram
      • business collaboration diagram
      • business interactions diagram
      • business model canvas
      • business domain model
      • information discovery map
      • ecosystem scan.

      These tools and related templates are available on the Accelerate downloads page


      Page last updated: 13/04/2016