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Enterprise Architecture: Management Changes

Changes in Management Practices

As Ralph’s Ribs moves forward from a silos business stage to a standardized technology stage there will be several changes in management practices. This is to be expected. Change is a natural consequence of growth and should be seen as an opportunity to improve many aspects of our business.

Jeanne Ross, in her interview Leveraging What Has Been Learned, tells us, “If the company is not focused on the changes that people have to absorb, and derive value from, we are simply not going to see any benefit from enterprise architecture.” Everybody needs to be on board for the progression to be successful. Business leaders and IT developers “need to start thinking about what’s best for the company in addition to the business units’ needs.” (Ross, Weill, and Robertson, 2006)

Changes in Business Processes

Several changes in business processes will take place over the coming years. Ralph’s will need to focus on centralized funding of enterprise applications instead of concentrating on the needs of individual business units. Capital budget expenditures will be geared towards creating and implementing standards that will add value throughout the company. Ralph’s will also undergo an infrastructure renewal process to fund projects that will allow legacy systems to retire while upgrading the technology base. (Ross, Weill, and Robertson, 2006)

It will be vitally important that new projects adopt the standard technologies defined during the infrastructure renewal process. A formal architecture compliance process will be created to ensure standards are upheld in all new projects. To encourage innovations that could benefit the entire company, an architecture exception process will also be created. This formal process will be the basis for deciding when an exception can add value throughout the organization. (Ross, Weill, and Robertson, 2006)

Changes in Business Roles

It will be important to have people in charge who are thinking about what’s best for the company. An IT steering committee will be tasked with the responsibility of determining IT priorities. A centralized standards team will also be required. This team of technical experts will identify the appropriate standards and will be responsible for retiring or updating outdated processes. Ralph’s will also need architects for project teams. These people will be responsible for making sure technical standards are followed unless exceptions have been granted. (Ross, Weill, and Robertson, 2006)

Rationale for Changes

There are several benefits to be gained from implementing enterprise architecture. First and foremost are the reduced IT costs. Ross, Weill, and Robertson, (2006) tell us that, “As enterprise architecture introduces discipline in systems and processes, companies start to control the high cost of business silos.” As more services become available, Ralph’s can expect to see reductions in the cost of individual service and support. Applications maintenance costs will also be reduced as processes are standardized and become reusable throughout the company. (Ross, Weill, and Robertson, 2006)

The changes outlined will also provide increased IT responsiveness, improved IT services and improved risk management. Perhaps most importantly, adopting the recommended changes will lead to increased management satisfaction. According to Ross, Weill, and Robertson (2006), “Satisfaction increases dramatically at each architecture stage.” There will be some anxiety as everyone adjusts to this new way of thinking, but in the end the value will far outweigh any minor discomfort.

Changes in Organizational Structure

It is only natural to expect that organizational changes will also take place during Ralph’s growth from one stage of maturity to the next. As companies advance through the stages of maturity, the skills required to lead the company change and grow along with everything else. The CIO must evolve with the needs of the company or risk being left behind. In fact, Martha Heller (2008) mentions a new career opportunity for CIO’s when she states, “The SVP of technology and operations role is springing up in all sorts of industries.” Heller (2008) goes on to say that this position represents, “a new level of organizational integration between IT and the business...”

As Ralph’s moves from business silos into standardized technology, the CIO needs “detailed knowledge of how the business functions” (Ross, Weill, and Robertson, 2006), and must understand how the architecture works.  The CIO must be able to control a large central budget while managing large organizational change efforts and must maintain credibility with members throughout the organization. Only through growing with the company can a CIO hope to encompass all these roles successfully. (Ross, Weill, and Robertson, 2006)

Changes in Partner Relationships

It can be expected that business partner relationships will also change as Ralph’s grows into a more mature corporation. As processes become standardized across the board, suppliers will need to adopt the new standards to work within Ralph’s new framework. Initial communications have been favorable, and suppliers can see the benefits of working within a structured business environment.

Summary of Management Changes

The changes outlined above are essential to the successful move from business silos to standardized technology. These changes will take place over several years and will be implemented in a step-by-step procedure. Some resistance is expected, but as the company matures those involved will see that the benefits far outweigh any discomfort. All these changes must be completed and fully implemented before Ralph’s can move into the next stage of business maturity, optimized core.


Heller, M. (08/04/2008). A new role for CIOs. Retrieved August 7, 2008, from CIO Web site

Ross, J. (ND). Leveraging what has been learned. Retrieved August 10, 2008

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