Home > Uncategorized > Use the APQC Process Classification Framework to create a business capability model quickly–Pure Genius!!

Use the APQC Process Classification Framework to create a business capability model quickly–Pure Genius!!

Capability Levels: An Enterprise Perspective


Building an enterprise capability model can be challenging, but using accelerators like APQC, it’s possible to come up with a reasonable straw model quite quickly. The intent of this post is to provide what I’ve learned about building out the model at the enterprise level. I will complement this post with one tomorrow about how capability models should look at the line-of-business level.


APQC Process Classification Framework


For Level 1 capabilities), I think that using the APQC description of levels works just fine. Level 1 is an organizing structure and are not capabilities unto themselves. The purpose of L1 is to give your fellow architects an easy way to find the capabilities that they’re looking for.


Level 2 capabilities, in my view, are also organizing structures and not capabilities. They provide much greater precision than the L1 but can also generally be used to communicate with high level executives.



At L2 is also when your design choices begin to matter. The APQC – which is more of a process model – creates several layers of organization and classification. In this example, they’ve created a level for “3.3 Develop Sales Strategy.” I don’t find this abstraction particularly useful especially given how specific the L3 capabilities are such as 3.3.1 Develop Sales Forecast. Develop Sales Forecast provides far more clarity – I would dispense altogether with Develop Sales Strategy and make Develop Sales Forecast and its siblings my L2 capabilities. By removing the original 3.3, we’re flattening the hierarchy so that we can enable a more modular taxonomy of L3 capabilities. (More on that tomorrow).


One note on how you define and place your capabilities. Generally, the L1 models follow function, i.e. R&D, Marketing, Sales, etc. Don’t confuse the functions with the organizations that you may be supporting. For example, our sales people are involved in getting agreements signed and managed. We have a capability to manage that called “Agreement Management.” Although this is a capability that’s needed in the sales organization, we don’t classify it for the purposes of the model in the Sales capabilities. Instead, we group Agreement Management with other like capabilities – in the Legal capability grouping. This makes the capability easier to find for other architects and also ensures that we’re not duplicating capability taxonomy in our framework.


I think that the right number of capabilities for an enterprise (at L3) is between 500-700 capabilities. This provides enough precision without having a taxonomy that is too unwieldy to steward and manage. L3 is usually a capability – that is, a business outcome unconstrained by how it’s implemented by people, process, information, or technology. The APQC ones (L4 in their model) are generally written to sound more like processes.


Pasted from <http://www.architectingvalue.com/science/>

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 27, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Great feedback Bill. We’re seeing a lot of comments with similar thoughts, and we’re having some internal discussions about the best way to accomodate the changes you and others have suggested.

    In general though we’re finding that many people are more comfortable with the concept of “capabilities” rather than “processes”, and that is generally more compatible with the intention of the PCF – providing an objective language that can be used to describe true “end-to-end” processes. These individual capabilities can then be objectively benchmarked.

    One of the biggest challenges we all face is overloaded terminology- and moving to the term “capability” and away from the term “process” may help clarify things a bit.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: