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Managing Change in a Technology World with Enterprise Architecture

by Bunny Tharpe       • September 11, 2015

Today’s business world is driven by constant change. Organizations that embrace change as a constant often achieve greater success. The majority of changes to any business will require changes to its technology. Organizations often succeed or fail based on choosing the right technologies to help them embrace change, then using them in the right way.

Ensuring that the right changes are made and the impact of those changes is well understood in advance of execution is vital. While good ideas help the business grow, their implementations have caused many a company to stumble.

Why Manage Change With Enterprise Architecture?

Organizations face two major hurdles when adopting change, especially changes that are linked to technology.

First, employees often don’t have a structured mechanism to submit ideas that would improve the company and help it reach its goals. The ideas often disappear into a black hole. Employees don’t get feedback on the viability of their idea or whether it will be adopted. The result? A reduced incentive to innovate.

Secondly, a disconnect can often occur between the idea or innovation and its implementation. Delivery, or incorporation of the new ideas into daily operations using technology often gets pushed aside or considered as an afterthought. The result? Redundancies in technology and processes, the inefficient use of resources and a missed opportunity.

In large organizations, enterprise architecture (EA) has long been recognized as an effective mechanism for assessing the impact of change on an organization and making recommendations for target states that support its business objectives.

New solution architectures are also being used to successfully assess solution alternatives to support these target states.

How to Ensure Enterprise Architecture’s Success

While EA often delivers the businesses cases that justify the incorporation of ideas into operations, in reality, the EA function often still operates in an ivory tower. The group is often disconnected from the stakeholders as well as the IT projects team assigned to deliver the solution.

While the EA teams develop business cases that link the change to the greater corporate strategies, the team can suffer from a lack of commitment from the wider organization.

EA team recommendations are often ignored. As a result, ideas are adopted without the rigorous scrutiny of the idea, its execution and impact on other projects. What’s needed is an integrated approach that marries the EA team’s knowledge with a process for managing ideas and innovation.

A strategic planning approach — from assessment and impact and investment analysis through to delivery — ensures ideas are being captured, analyzed and shared in a structured process.

Feedback goes back to the originator and the right stakeholders are involved in making the right decisions about IT projects using sound business cases. This leads to both the stakeholder community and the EA community feeling empowered to make change.

A strategic planning platform brings a federated view of information from across the organization so that it can be shared. The platform is designed to help organizations analyze and prioritize ideas, feed them into enterprise architecture for analysis and compile into a business case.

With all stakeholders reviewing the information and providing feedback on proposed projects, everyone gets a voice. It gives organizations the means to systematically manage change and provide an integrated platform for everyone to understand how new ideas fit into the corporate strategy.

Not only that, this process can be executed in near real time, allowing the organization to react quickly to seize market advantage.

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