Successful EA Change Management Requires Five Key Elements

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1 Research Publication Date: 26 December 2007 ID Number: G Successful EA Change Management Requires Five Key Elements Richard Buchanan Change, in all its many aspects, is a critical aspect of the enterprise architecture (EA) process. Organizations will increase their chances for EA success if they view enterprise architects as change agents, and adopt formal organizational change management strategies including models, tools, control mechanisms and incentives to channel the activities of business and technical professionals toward the creation of a unified EA. Key Findings Most organizations find it difficult to marshal and coordinate the critical mass of tools, control mechanisms and incentives needed to refine actionable behavior from the raw, unfocused pressure to change. Five elements must be present for EA change to occur: vision, talent, incentives, investment and implementation plans. The effect of these elements is cumulative if any piece of the puzzle is missing, the change initiative will suffer. Recommendations Adopt a change management framework and approach, use it to diagnose problems, and train managers and employees in its use. Target EA efforts toward the most profound changes that will affect the enterprise's fate to focus the impetus for change. Ensure that risk management strategies address change dynamics as part of their analysis. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Formal organizational change management efforts will minimize business risk and enhance financial returns for EA and systems designed within that framework. Organizations that couple change management with the EA process will avoid confusion, sidestep fear, reduce frustration and prevent implementation errors. Firms that fail to see architects as change agents will waste their investments in architecture. EA planners need to adopt a straightforward change management approach, use it to diagnose problems, and train all managers and employees in its use. Moreover, to remain relevant and problem-focused, EA efforts should focus on the most profound changes that will affect the enterprise's fate. Risk management strategies should address change dynamics such as the total cost of change and the opportunity costs of delayed change as part of their analysis. ANALYSIS Organizational change is a critical aspect of the EA process. To optimize returns on their investment in EA, accelerate infrastructure development, and create new, technologically sophisticated business strategies, large organizations must view their enterprise architects as organizational change agents. For many enterprises, the EA process effort casts a powerful spotlight on the inadequacies of their legacy systems and processes. It becomes a catalyst for contentious debate about the need for profound changes in business strategy, organization structures, processes and budgets. Enterprise architects must step up to the challenge of managing change proactively or risk being undercut by the fear it can spawn. Gartner research indicates that only 35% of organizations with architecture efforts under way have adopted formal change management strategies including models, tools, control mechanisms and incentives to channel the activities of business and technical professionals toward the creation of a unified EA. We believe that 40% of architecturally active organizations will adopt formal change management mechanisms by Barriers to Change and the Need to Overcome Them Organizational change faces two high hurdles. First, only a limited number of individuals are capable of the abstract thinking required to imagine the shape and dynamics of a new organization. Second, organizations are rarely able to marshal and coordinate the critical mass of tools, control mechanisms and incentives needed to refine actionable behavior from the raw, unfocused pressure to change. In a survey of more than 100 CIOs about the top barriers to change, respondents cited culture, priorities and politics as the principal roadblocks (see Note 1). These are all "soft" issues, which many people believe cannot be managed as one would manage a project or process. But EA leaders, CIOs and other executives must be able to manage these issues, or enterprise change will be left to chance. A Framework for Architecture Change Management Figure 1 describes a framework for understanding the elements of architecture change management. The model is simpler and more practical than many academic approaches pitched by the change management industry. It is especially useful as a diagnostic tool for predicting the probability of successful architecture efforts. Publication Date: 26 December 2007/ID Number: G Page 2 of 6

3 Figure 1. EA Change Management Framework Status of Architecture Efforts Implementation Errors Frustration Fear Confusion Successful Change EA Process Enablers Implementation Planning Resource Strategy Incentives Incentives Incentives Governance Policies Talent Talent Organization Enablers Vision Requirements Strategic Intent Unfocused Pressure to Change Source: Gartner (December 2007) Five elements must be present for EA change to occur: vision, talent, incentives, investment and implementation plans. Figure 1 illustrates that the effect of the elements is additive. If parts of the puzzle are missing, architecture efforts will suffer one of the four fates depicted at the top of Figure 1 and described below. Implementation errors: Many architecture efforts become the handmaidens of tactical "system projects." Architects are drawn into low-level product and standards debates because managers are unwilling to invest in long-term architecture planning. This leads to serious mistakes in architecture design and implementation because the architecture team's frame of reference is too narrow. The "forward architecture" will be poorly defined and "unactionable." The ability to network and integrate applications will suffer, and future business information requirements will remain a mystery. To avoid these problems, the architecture effort must receive adequate resources time, budget and head count. Successful architecture efforts are collaborative, cross-functional and enterprise- Publication Date: 26 December 2007/ID Number: G Page 3 of 6

4 focused, and require an event horizon far enough into the future to get ahead of the business strategy curve. Frustration: Even if a clear implementation plan exists and resources are adequate, architecture efforts can be extremely frustrating without a simple, transparent and unifying set of incentives and related decision-making rules. The incentives must be designed to encourage compliance with the architecture's designs and guidelines. A clear governance policy (and the authority to enforce it) will provide the requisite "carrots and sticks." Governance policy should unambiguously describe which organizations (such as the steering committee, the core architecture team or component teams) have the authority to define, enforce or grant exceptions to guidelines, and the mechanisms used to do so. Moreover, these governance rules should be as simple and nonbureaucratic as possible. Fear: Architecture efforts can become a source of fear when people are driven by incentives (often by sticks, rather than carrots) to attempt the impossible that is, to change when they simply don't have the skills necessary to make the transition. Talent and skills technical, managerial and interpersonal must be identified, retained and developed to a sufficient level to overcome the fear that change engenders. The requisite skills should be developed and acquired through training, strategic sourcing and the development of competency centers. A successful organizational strategy will identify the new skills the "forward architecture" demands, but leverage the operational disciplines that are already in place. Confusion: Even when all of the previous four elements are in place, confusion will result unless a clear vision and strategic intent for EA change are established from the outset (see the bottom of Figure 1). Without vision, architecture will be confusing no clear goal will be identified. The common requirements vision (CRV) phase of the Gartner EA Process Model provides an opportunity to create and articulate an architectural vision (see "Gartner Enterprise Architecture Process: Evolution 2005"). Strategic intent is also needed to channel unfocused pressure for change into focused pressure (see Note 2). Change is painful and disruptive and simply will not occur unless sufficient pressure is brought to bear. Most organizations feel a general sense of pressure arising from internal and external sources (such as competition, deregulation, customer demands, or changes in policy or leadership). These forces are typically spread widely over separate business functions and departments, and are unlikely to be sufficiently focused to trigger change. Senior management vision and strategic intent are needed to amplify and focus pressure to a critical tipping point, by collating apparently distinct pressures to show that they are interrelated. Note 1 CIO Survey Results: Top Barriers to Change The culture is too difficult to change 52% Too many conflicting priorities 45% Organizational politics 41% Lack of necessary funding 28% Lack of skills/competencies 27% Organizational model/structures 24% Lack of vision and leadership 21% Lack of executive buy-in 18% Publication Date: 26 December 2007/ID Number: G Page 4 of 6

5 Lack of IT-business alignment 14% No methodologies in place 14% Too many change approaches 12% Other 3% Source: Gartner Survey of 115 CIOs Note 2 Case Study: Vision and Strategic Intent as Catalysts for Focused Change The environmental analysis performed by the architecture team in a manufacturing company showed that slower sales, higher inventories, distributor and customer complaints, and the defection of key product designers to competitors were symptoms of an underlying problem a dated, backward-looking product strategy and inadequate R&D. It was only when the CEO decided to shift from a "traditionalist" stance to a new high-tech, leading-edge product strategy that focused change occurred with profound implications for the EA. Large investments in computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering systems; in stereolithography; and in lowvolume prototype manufacturing were required, as well as in new processes to support these new business activities. Publication Date: 26 December 2007/ID Number: G Page 5 of 6

6 REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS Corporate Headquarters 56 Top Gallant Road Stamford, CT U.S.A European Headquarters Tamesis The Glanty Egham Surrey, TW20 9AW UNITED KINGDOM Asia/Pacific Headquarters Gartner Australasia Pty. Ltd. Level 9, 141 Walker Street North Sydney New South Wales 2060 AUSTRALIA Japan Headquarters Gartner Japan Ltd. Aobadai Hills, 6F 7-7, Aobadai, 4-chome Meguro-ku, Tokyo JAPAN Latin America Headquarters Gartner do Brazil Av. das Nações Unidas, andar World Trade Center São Paulo SP BRAZIL Publication Date: 26 December 2007/ID Number: G Page 6 of 6

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