Sunday, April 1, 2012

Under-powered EA Efforts

(This is the third part of a five part series on "Five Hurdles in Implementing EA")

Picture from
Imagine that: your boss gives you new responsibilities but not the necessary powers!  

EA champions are tasked with facilitating the design/re-design of an organization.  Often, a new design requires major changes in the organization, and these changes will only happen if EA champions have the needed influence to set the change in motion and the organization has the necessary structures and governance to see through the change.  For example, an organization might realize that knowledge about its customers resides in a handful of very experienced employees.  When these employees retire or resign, the organization experiences a major loss in customer knowledge.  Consequently, the new design of the organization includes a regular process for employees to share their knowledge with other employees.  However, without the right level of enforcement of the new process, the new design will remain only as an idea.  The organization needs a way to monitor compliance to the design, and a way to encourage compliance and deter non-compliance.

Often the level of empowerment is highly correlated with how high up EA champions sit in organization charts.   In talking to numerous CIOs, I got a general sense that the successful EA efforts were in organizations where the EA champions either reported directly to the CEO or were one level down in the hierarchy, whereas the less successful organizations has EA champions that were hidden a few more layers down. 

Not only does the "reporting distance" from the CEO reflected the organization's beliefs on the usefulness of EA, but it also impact the difficulty for EA champions to facilitate change.  EA champions need visibility of the organization at the senior management level to ensure that designs are aligned to senior management’s thinking.  EA champions will also need sponsorship from senior management to push through required changes.  Being part of or close to senior management will make EA champion’s task easier.


  1. I see EA as decision support for management. Mgmt is a constant state of multitasking with multiple pressures and incomplete input. Good EA provides objective analysis for mgmt decision. I've learnt to be less emotionally attached to decisions made. It's a separation of concerns between EA and mgmt

  2. Agree on the separation of concerns. I see "under power"ment more as a management problem than a EA problem. However, EA has responsibility to advise management what powers it requires, and what governance structures need to exist in the organization.

    On EA's role as decision support for management, do you see EA also as decision support for the rest of the organization?