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Enterprise Architecture: Organization Selection

Ralph’s Rockin` Ribs

Ralph’s Rockin` Ribs is a family-owned business that is based on good-old family values. Ralph and his sons, Ralph Jr., and John, serve the best ribs in the Pacific Northwest, and they currently have 200 franchises throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Ralph’s secret family recipe is a success with everyone who tries the scrumptious ribs, but Ralph’s Rockin` Ribs has only seen a modicum of success since they began offering franchises back in the early 80’s. Luckily for Ralph’s, Enterprise Architecture is here to help.

As you’ve probably guessed, I have decided to write my project on Ralph’s Rockin` Ribs. I decided on Ralph’s for a few reasons. First, although I’ve never worked for a franchise, I do have some understanding of the core processes that go on in this type of business. Second, I’d be at a total loss trying to figure out any of the processes involved with the other organizations. And third, I can research this type of franchise locally while I’d have to travel to personally research the others. All-in-all, Ralph’s seemed like the only logical choice for my project this term.

Ralph’s faces several challenges in creating an Enterprise Architecture. Franchise owners are struggling with outdated procedures, and too tight restrictions on their daily operations. Ralph Jr. and John are traveling throughout the service area to mandate procedures for mopping and cleaning, but little is done about late shipments or botched orders from Ralph’s processing plant. Ralph’s pride is their famous rib recipe, but those who are furthest from the supply house often suffer from a lack of fresh ingredients, and quality suffers as a result. The computer systems and software are out of date, and the lack of IT support sometimes leaves the owners stranded when they run into problems. All these processes need to be updated, and new methods for standardization and integration need to be adopted.

In her article, The Enterprise Architecture Challenge: Integration, Melissa A. Cook says that the first mistake when planning an Enterprise Architecture is in thinking that it’s a technical problem that can be easily solved by IT and some new technology. Cook goes on to say the second mistake is that,

We haven't truly tackled the problem. Over the years, we've defined the enterprise integration problem scope as order fulfillment then supply chain management, more recently customer relationship management and product lifecycle management. But really those are parts of the problem... the scope of your problem is the whole enterprise. (Cook, 2004)

Cook is right, and to move into the future successfully, Ralph’s will need to start looking at the bigger picture. An Enterprise Architecture will be created as standardization and integration are brought into their business processes.


Cook, Melissa A (2004, May, 07). The enterprise architecture challenge: integration. Computerworld, Development, Retrieved 07/13/2008