A Gas to Liquids Generic Business Architecture

What is business architecture?

Business Architecture (BA) is the enterprise organization consisting of the enterprise functions and their interconnections which enable the business flows. BA is represented as the blueprint of the enterprise.

A single page diagram, illustrating the core enterprise business functions and flows, is key for stakeholders to understand the enterprise and align their points of view. Nevertheless, to develop the full Business Architecture, each and every function and flow in the single page diagram has to be further expanded and documented so that the BA is able to support in sufficient detail the needs of each and every stakeholder.

An Enterprise Model (EM) consists of the Business Architecture (BA), i.e. the business logic of the enterprise and the Technology Architecture and People Organization/Architecture which implement and execute the Business Architecture logic.

The author prefers to use the term “Enterprise Modelling” because too often today “Enterprise Architecture” is confined to IT. Still, when employed in this article, the term Enterprise Architecture (EA) refers to whole enterprise rather than IT alone. Also, instead of the term “Business Model, which rather denotes in business academia today the mode an enterprise is organized in order to return value/profit, the term Business Architecture is preferred.

Why business architecture?

Business Architecture enables the understanding, improvement and further development of the Enterprise. It is the most important layer of an Enterprise Model (EM) because it shapes the technology and people resources that implement it. Of particular importance is the single page Business Architecture diagram that constitutes the big picture of the enterprise. Without this top level business architecture, stakeholders and architects would keep reinventing the Enterprise components and business flows in each and every discussion and solution project.

Porter’s Value Chain of an Enterprise

At the beginning of the 80s, Michael Porter suggested that any Enterprise consists of two categories of activities:

  • Primary activities, which are organised in a sequence of activities called Value Chain, consist in the operational processes that deliver the product, such as Inbound Logistics, Operations, Outbound Logistics, Sales, and Services
  • Support activities that are all other activities, as, for example, Human Resources, New Capabilities and Product Development, Procurement that support the Value Chain activities.

The GODS top level business architecture

Taking into account the fast pace of change today, the enterprise Development and Governance activities were classified as separate categories in Porter’s Value Chain since they ensure today the competitive edge and survival of the Enterprise. This is how the GODS Enterprise structure came into being. GODS stands for: Governance, Operations, Development and Support. The GODS generic business architecture model is as such an extension of Porter’s Value Chain concept.

Any Enterprise has to:

  • research the market to understand the customers segments and demand
  • forecast and plan the production accordingly
  • create demand for products by marketing the products
  • manufacture the products
  • sell and deliver the products
  • provide after-sales services.

Hence, the GODS business architecture model illustrates the Value Chain and the critical support functions of any enterprise:

  • Governance
  • Operation Value Chain consisting of
    • Market Research and Planning
    • Production and Delivery
    • Sales and Servicing
  • Development
  • Support

The generic one page GODS business architecture model, consisting of the main business functions necessary for the Enterprise operation, is illustrated in fig. 1.

Fig. 1 GODS Value Chain
Fig. 1 GODS Value Chain

The Gas to Liquid (GTL) Value Chain

Shall states in Ref 1: “Gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology converts natural gas – the cleanest-burning fossil fuel – into high-quality liquid products that would otherwise be made from crude oil. These products include transport fuels, motor oils and the ingredients for everyday necessities like plastics, detergents and cosmetics. GTL products are colourless and odourless. They contain almost none of the impurities – sulphur, aromatics and nitrogen – that are found in crude oil”.

To describe the GTL enterprise, the primary Value Chain (VC) for GTL must be first modelled to illustrate the key operations steps:

Fig. 2. The GTL Value Chain
Fig. 2. The GTL Value Chain

This Value Chain was compiled by the author from various Internet sources. But in this work, stress is set on the overall enterprise organization rather than on the GTL manufacturing and its technology which is left to the experts in the field.

The GTL one page generic business architecture model

The GODS Value Chain was expanded and customized in picture 3. to represent a GTL enterprise. Each function is further detailed in the GTL single page generic business architecture.

Fig.3. The one page GTL industry generic Business Architecture
Fig.3. The one page GTL industry generic Business Architecture

The GTL single page Business Architecture diagram in fig. 3 expands the Value Chain to illustrate:

  • Governance functions such as the CEO Office, Public and Government relations, Corporate Social Responsibility…
  • Operation Value Chain functions from the Supply Chain to Production and Distribution
  • Development functions such as New Product and Capability Development, R&D
  • Support activities such as
    • Specific functions: Remote Monitoring and Control, Digital Automation, Work orders Maintenance, Facility Management… and such industry functions as SCADA, DCS, Resources and Work Order management
    • Common functions such as HR, Finance, IT… which exist indeed in most enterprises
  • Key generic business flows

The Planning Flow that begins with the market research followed by forecasting; this Flow plans all Operational, Development, and Support cycles

  • The Demand Creation Flow stimulates the market through various channels
  • The Production Flow from Supply to Distribution, delivers the GTL Products
  • The Demand Flow or Sales and Ordering is the process through which the customers obtain the products
  • The Revenue Flow charges the customers at sales and orders, invoices and bills them and accrues revenue.


  • A box in the diagram represents a Function, i.e. all activities and information of a certain type.
  • Flows are illustrated with arrows and boxes/Functions. A Flow is implemented by one or more Functions and interconnections.
  • Business Flows could have been called Value Streams, processes, workflows, or Value Chains, but these terminologies were deliberately avoided since they come from different business domains with various baggage and different meanings
  • A function in the diagram is implemented by people and/or technology/IT part of the overall Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise stakeholders, beside customers and partners/suppliers, government… are not considered in the picture to avoid cluttering. Still, the enterprise interacts with such external stakeholders as the labour and capital markets to acquire resources and is affected by regulators and competitors.

Benefits of the GTL single page generic Business Architecture

Here are a few benefits of business modelling:

  • The GTL model is generic and technology and organization neutral. It can be tailored though to any company for business documentation, understanding and design.
  • It provides the big enterprise picture that enables all stakeholders have a common understanding of the enterprise.
  • It is complete in that it describes the typical top functions and flows of a typical GTL enterprise starting from the GTL Value Chain
  • It consistently represents the customer’s interactions and channels at the top of the diagram for every flow of the enterprise so that one can trace and improve the customer journey from customer acquisition to servicing.
  • It reaches a wide audience besides the typical operations, support and IT functions since it addresses all other Enterprise activities such as production technology, R&D, development, marketing, planning, sales, customer services, finance, etc.

How to use the GTL single page generic model to develop a full Enterprise Architecture

This one page blueprint may serve as a high level reference for the documentation of an existing enterprise, for planning changes and transformations or for the development of a GTL enterprise from scratch.

The Enterprise Modelling FFLV (Functions-Flows-Layers-Views) method (Ref 14) provides an Enterprise Architecture Development Process, Modelling Framework, Metamodel, reference models and a modelling sequence. FFLV integrates the generic GODS Business Architecture model with the Technology and People Organization architecture layers.

  • The Enterprise Modelling framework consists of three architecture layers illustrated in fig. 4. The Technology and People resource layers implement the logic Business Architecture. The three layers, Business, Technology and Organization can be further illustrated in Views, i.e. cross-sections in the 3D framework and filters that only show the functionality of concern for a stakeholder.
Fig.4. The one page GTL industry generic Business Architecture
Fig. 4. GTL Enterprise Modelling Framework

The GTL Enterprise Modelling Framework in fig. 4 illustrates the

  • GTL GODS business architecture model at the top, consisting of the Value Chain per se, the Business Support, Operations Support and enterprise Governance functions
  • Technology Architecture
  • People Organisation/Architecture

On a practical plane, to develop the full Enterprise Model from this GTL Business Architecture, you will have to

  • Customize this generic Business, Technology and Organisation Architectures to illustrate own Business Operation. The Technology Architecture and People Organization shall be aligned to the Business Architecture.
  • Every Function and Flow in the picture should be further expanded to satisfy the degree of detail required by own domain experts
  • Architecture Views shall be provided to illustrate such aspects as SCADA systems, DCS, networks, Safety and Security, geography/locations…

Business owners should be nominated to take charge of the documentation and design of the architecture specific views for each domain, in alignment.

The Enterprise Modeller in Chief shall coordinate all modelling work, rather than doing all the work, so that the overall architecture is assembled out of domains artifacts created by owners. All domain artefacts shall refer to the same functions and flows, technology components, information entities… and shall employ the same principles and notations… drawn with the same set of tools and stored in common repository.

The GODS and GTL generic one page Business Architecture are free to use and change for own purpose with attribution under a Share Alike Creative Commons licence.


  1. https://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/natural-gas/gas-to-liquids.html
  2. https://www.sasol.com/innovation/gas-liquids/value-chain
  3. https://peakoil.com/production/a-new-era-of-hydrocarbon-fuels-gas-to-liquids-coal-to-liquids/comment-page-1
  4. https://globalchange.mit.edu/news-media/jp-news-outreach/there-future-gas-liquids-technology
  5. https://www.industry.usa.siemens.com/automation/us/en/process-instrumentation-and-analytics/solutions-for-industry/oil-and-gas/Pages/GTL-Process-2.aspx
  6. IoT in the oil and gas industry
  7. http://www.peiyangchem.com/modular-refinery/modular-oil-refinery.html
  8. https://www.oilandgaseng.com/articles/bring-iiot-capabilities-to-refineries-and-process-plants
  9. https://www.slideshare.net/hzharraz/crude-oil-and-natural-gas-producttransportation
  10. https://www.slideshare.net/hzharraz/natural-gas-resources
  11. https://www.azbil.com/products/factory/Industry-utilitiy/refining-petrochemical.html
  12. https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/NG-80.pdf
  13. GODS one page generic business architecture animated slideshow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYP9RpVTLXA
  14. GODS and FFLV EA frameworks: http://www.enterprise-architecture-matters.co.uk/home
  15. BP Trends Paul Harmon’s article “What is business architecture” https://bptrends.info/publicationfiles/advisor20101116.pdf
  16. Book “An Enterprise Architecture Development Framework” from Amazon, Trafford… http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=179897
  17. EA slideshow at: http://www.slideshare.net/Grigoriu/enterprise-architecture-in-3-minutes-or-so-v1
  18. Other related information in blogs at http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/ea_matters/ and http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/ea-matters
  19. GODS One Page Business Architecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYP9RpVTLXA

PDF Version

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian Grigoriu is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture residing now in Sydney, Australia, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of a few books on enterprise architecture development available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Adrian-Grigoriu/e/B007NGB1XY/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1 and published quite a few articles. Adrian blogs at https://it.toolbox.com/users/content/AdrianGrigoriu.

Speak Your Mind