Monday, October 1, 2012

Human Factors in EA Implementation

Human Factors in EA Implementation


By John Kyriazoglou


Enterprise Architecture (EA) is used to align IT systems with your business strategy and objectives (for more details see my book: E-Book: ‘How to Align IT with your Business’, Direct Link: It has proven a very difficult and cumbersome process.


My experience has taught me that when implementing enterprise architecture for your own company and business environment the most important issue for success is to manage the human aspects (so called ‘soft controls’) permeating any such difficult and cumbersome effort.


All of these soft controls relate to tone at the top, understanding of the organization by the board, culture, structure of reporting relationships, morale, integrity and ethical values, operational philosophy, trust, ethical climate, empowerment, etc., and are directly linked to the emotional contracting issue, also referred to as 'the psychological contract'. This is the crucial and powerful link between the organizational performance intent (board and management planning to implement enterprise architecture), and the motivations, values and aspirations of the people (EA coordinator, enterprise architect, IT staff, etc.) instructed to carry out all implementation tasks.

This emotional contracting element is sometimes overlooked by organizations, board members and managers, and that is the reason that may explain why the people have failed to do what the organization expected and asked them to do.

Soft internal controls (trust, integrity, values and beliefs, etc.) should be part of the organizational process of strategy setting and ethical environment establishment. Corporate policies and procedures, vision and mission statements, strategic planning, ethics codes, job descriptions, training and coaching of staff, compliance programs, etc., are the tools and the hard controls that help define whether an organization consistently will do (supposedly ) the right thing.

An organization (private or public) might have written codes of conduct and other value defining type documents (vision, mission, values, social responsibility, etc.) but that does not guarantee whether they are actually followed consistently. Most of the real understanding will not be expressly written in any document but better evidenced in the day-to-day discharge of everyday duties and interactions. For example, the ethical culture can only rise as high as the tone set by the board and the senior executive management. If management distributes the message about ethics poorly or worst yet, delegates the message to subordinate levels, then the effectiveness of the ethical culture is greatly diminished.

The best way to reinforce soft controls and therefore ensure better EA implementation for your business is to (probably) formalize them. I recommend this to be the task of a senior board member of your company. This can be accomplished by Soft Controls Management Action Plan, as described next.

Action 1. Establish and monitor the implementation of an ethics code and a fraud policy and associated procedures.

Action 2. Ensure that your EA process is well communicated to all parties within your company.

Action 3. Interview key organization personnel and select the best for the EA implementation project.

Action 4. Implement training, coaching and mentoring programs for all critical staff involved in your EA implementation.

Action 5. Certify critical personnel (finance, IT, audit, purchasing, etc.) to ensure success of your EA process.

Action 6. Certify, if needed, all your critical functions (finance, IT, audit, purchasing, quality, customer service, etc.) related to EA.

Action 7. Review and improve all soft controls and particularly pay attention to how these are related to your EA project and to the linking of your IT strategy to your business objectives.


It is your duty, as a board member or senior executive, to handle all these successfully and therefore avoid any potential failures.




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