In Step With: Jeanne Ross, Principal Research Scientist, MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research
Hoping to spread the enterprise architecture gospel internationally, Jeanne Ross recently traveled to a small resort in the French Alps for a series of meetings. Famished, she approached the concierge to inquire about a restaurant or room service. Being mid-afternoon, everything was closed until evening and she disconsolately made her way back to her room, perking up enormously when she noticed the Cheetos in the welcome pack that Pepsico had left in her room. Not a dream French meal for the weary EA expert, but a happy sight nonetheless.
The next wave of profound business innovation is underway. Business Week has “The Innovation Economy” as its cover story while Fortune Magazine promises to bring the reader “Inside the New China”. And China has more Internet users (111 million) than Germany, the United Kingdom and France combined!
It has become nearly impossible to attend any gathering of IT managers without the topic of Shared Services being discussed. Although there are as many different definitions of Shared Services as there are people discussing it, the one thing that is certain is that it places pressure on traditional governance models.
Innovation is a driving force for business change and Enterprise Architects must prepare for it and, preferably, lead the charge. Unfortunately, for many EA groups, most discussions of innovation are limited to debates on the latest, greatest technology advances. This should not come as a surprise, based on the background of most Enterprise Architects and the demands placed on them. The Enterprise Architect must provide coherent guidance to the enterprise through principles, standards and models while also providing project enablement, engineering support and value delivery.
There once was a time when Enterprise Architecture was the domain of the anointed few who sat in their ivory tower and tossed technology wisdom over the wall. If the users had their own ideas, the architecture police arrived to prevent unapproved designs. This triggered religious debates over technology, IT infighting, and generally brought projects to a standstill. The outcome was negative on the value scale and led to marginalized, or worse, terminated EA functions. Does that sound familiar?
Good IT governance is a required ingredient for any organization or company to succeed in the 21st century. It provides the mechanism by which the executive team can capture the appropriate information and then leverage that information to plan, manage and verify decision making, which accomplishes the act of transforming the business.
Without it, a company stumbles over itself and becomes grossly inefficient as it strives to maintain its position as an industry leader or keep up with the competition.