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Enterprise Architecture: Growing the Organization

Ralph’s Ribs Growing the Organization

Without growth a company stagnates, and stagnation is exactly what Ralph’s Ribs want to avoid. According to Ross, et al (2006), “There are two strategies for profitable growth: organic growth and acquisition-driven growth.” A solid foundation is required in either case, and the operating model the company has adopted will dictate which avenue for growth will be more effective.

In organic growth, a company leverages their existing technology and business know-how to utilize processes and infrastructures that are already in place. This allows them to get a new enterprise up quickly and efficiently. Acquisitions-driven growth uses one of two strategies; rip-and-replace or diversification. In a rip and replace situation, the purchasing company transforms the newly purchased company, so it fits into their existing foundation. In a diversification situation the purchasing company allows the acquired company to use their existing foundation, and gains synergy by sharing services and technology (Ross, Weill, and Robinson, 2006).

Strategies for Growth in a Replication Model

Ralph’s Ribs would see the most profitable growth through using a combination of organic and acquisitions-driven growth. Organic growth would allow Ralph’s to utilize their standardized IT business processes in order to develop businesses in new markets. New franchises could quickly adopt Ralph’s standards and would be operable in a short amount of time. Since new franchises would not need to invest in developing their own IT infrastructure and standardized processes, they would begin to see a profit in a short amount of time (Ross, Weill, and Robinson, 2006).

As the business matures, acquisitions driven growth will also a good fit for Ralph’s Ribs, particularly if the right property became available. Ralph’s would be best off using a rip-and-replace strategy in order to bring the new company into the existing foundation. Utilizing their already strong foundation, Ralph’s could quickly implement the necessary upgrades, and once again the acquired company, not needing to invest in IT and standardization processes, would quickly begin to see a profit. At this point acquisitions involving diversification are not recommended for Ralph’s Ribs. They have not yet reached the level of maturity required to make this profitable (Ross, Weill, and Robinson, 2006).

Implementation Plan for Growth

The first step Ralph’s Ribs must make as they look towards future growth opportunities is to solidify their own foundation. Before they can successfully bring existing or new franchises aboard, they will need to have solid enterprise architecture already in place. Seven-Eleven Japan (SEJ) started developing their enterprise architecture in 1974. Using the replication model, they developed a solid foundation, and “with the goal of better customer service, SEJ has, over the past thirty years, evolved its IT, inventory management, and distribution capabilities” (Ross, et al, 2006). By developing and continually evolving their own infrastructure, Ralph’s has a good chance of being just as successful as SEJ in achieving their growth aspirations.

Summary of Growth Recommendations

Once Ralph’s has solidified their foundation, organic growth is the recommended strategy, at least for the time being. Developing new franchises, following the newly standardized IT and business processes, will allow new ventures to begin operations quickly and efficiently. As Ralph’s continues to mature their architecture, acquisitions will become easier, and rip-and-replace operations will become feasible.


Ross, J., Weill, P., & Robertson, D. (2006). Enterprise architecture as strategy. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.