Showing posts with label Differentiation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Differentiation. Show all posts

August 27, 2019

Selling By Customer Stereotypes

Saw this displayed on the wall inside a Free People clothing store...

It categorizes their female shoppers into 4 types:

1. Candy (hearts): Sweet, girly, flirty, whimsy, and femme  

2. Ginger (cherries): Sexy, confident, edgy, attitude, and mysterious

3. Lou (baseball): Cool, tomboy, laid back, tough, minimal

4. Meadow (sunshine): Flowy, bohemian, embellished, pattern, worldly

So this is how they stereotype their customers "to be helpful"?

Interesting also that they don't see that people can be complex with: multiple traits that cross categories or even in no category at all.

Moreover, people can have different sides to themselves and reflect these in different situations. 

Perhaps in an effort to market and sell more, what they've done is reduce people to these lowest common denominator of idiot categories.

And what makes this worse yet is that it seems to be based just on snap judgment of how someone looks coming into the store and all the biases that entails. 

How about we look at people a little more sophisticated than this and treat them as individuals, with real personalities, and not just as another empty label?  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 20, 2017

Hammer and Nail

Often, we have a one size fits all orientation to life. 
"To a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

We try to solve fresh daily problems, yet everything we are going through is seen through our preset filters and mindsets. 

In many cases, we are simply and undeniably biased, mistakenly believing that what worked in the past or for particular challenges will always work in the future and for all our problems. 

We stereotype people and races and see them as either "the good guys" or "the bad guys"--but there's no grey in there to further differentiate.  

Also, we work in a comfortable zone of blind routine thinking that we wish it's all as simple as wash, rinse, and repeat.

But while some die-hard habits and lessons learned in life are very valuable and should be mentally recorded and referenced, seeing life through a single, or even a few handy-dandy, filters can prove disastrous when things or times change. 

For example, one big criticism of our dealing in Washington is that:
"Politicians, like generals, have a tendency to fight the last war."

Instead, if we evaluate the nuances of each person and particular situation, we can work to get a more detailed evaluation, and potentially be able to fine-tune approaches for what needs to be done, and how, with each and every one, accordingly. 

Chucking a batman belt approach to just using whatever tools are immediately available, can facilitate a broader and more creative approach to problem-solving. 

Sure, to a certain degree, we are creatures of habit--and we intuitively rely on what's worked in the past, and reject and shun what hasn't--but past experiences do not necessarily foretell future successes. 

If we don't stay agile and resilient, we can easily get blown away by the situation or the competition. 

There is always a new challenge to test us and someone coming up who may be better, faster, or stronger that wants to try and take us on or down. 

A shotgun approach, in lieu of a more precise surgical strike, can result in a lot of collateral damage and maybe even missing the mark altogether. 

Think, think, think. 

Focus on what needs to get done--apply lessons learned as applicable, but also look for new sources and methods to build a bigger and more versatile tool chest.

In the walking dead, a hammer to the head works fairly well on all Zombies, but sometimes there are too many zombies in the hoard or even more dangerous living people and situations to attend to. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to stevepb)
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January 25, 2016

Stack Theory Doesn't Stack Up

Christopher Mims' article in the Wall Street Journal today on why big companies get disrupted by others doesn't make a lot of sense to me. 

He discusses the "Stack Fallacy" of Anshu Sharma a venture capitalist that it "is the mistaken belief that it is trivial to build the layers above yours."

Mims explains that the stack is like a "layer cake of technology"--where one layer is built on another.

Similar to the OSI technology model where there are architecture layers for physical, data, network, application and so on. 

Basically, Mims explains that tech companies can only invent at a single layer of technology (or below). 

But when companies try to invent up the stack, they fail.

Here's why...

Mims says that companies despite their size and resources can't innovate up the stack because they don't understand the users there. 

But this doesn't stack up to me. 

Companies can and do use their resources to study and understand what users want up the food chain and what they can't easily build, they can acquire. 

Apple successfully went from a iPod and iTunes music player and song store to producing a highly sophisticated and integrated iPhone and Apps store where music is just an afterthought.

Similarly, IBM went from being primarily a mainframe and desktop company to being a top-tier consulting firm with expertise in cloud, mobile, social, artificial intelligence, and analytics computing. 

But it isn't easy for a company to change. 

And to me, it's not because they can't understand what users want and need. 

Rather, it is because of something we've all heard of called specialization. 

Like human beings, even extraordinary ones, companies are specialized and good at what they are good at, but they aren't good at everything. 

A great example of this was when NBA superstar, Michael Jordan, tried to take his basketball talents and apply it to baseball...he was "bobbling easy flies and swatting at bad pitches" in the minor leagues. 

As even kindergarteners are taught that "Everyone is good at something, but no one is good at everything."

Companies have a specific culture, a specific niche, a specific specialization and expertise.

And to go beyond that is very, very difficult...as IBM learned, it requires nothing less than a transformation of epic proportions. 

So I think Mims is wrong that companies can't understand what users want in areas up the innovation stack, but rather it's a monumental change management challenge for companies that are specialized in one thing and not another. 

So welcome to the world of Apple after Steve Jobs and his iPhone and to the the recent 25% decline in their stock price with investors and customers anxiously waiting for the possible but not certain next move up the technology stack. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 15, 2013

IT Departments, Here To Stay

InformationWeek asks "Will IT Departments Disappear By 2020?"

This question comes from Forrester Research which sees the commoditization of IT as eroding the base for the traditional IT function and roles.


As we move to cloud computing--apps and infrastructure, as well as continue the trend for outsourcing IT such as help desk, desk support, and more what will be left for the CIO and his or her team to do?


The article answers this question with another major trend--that of consumerization--"differentiating value and visibility among consumers and employees."


This is where IT can be highly strategic in serving those needs in the business that are truly unique and that enable them to be high performing and even outperform in the marketplace.


These ideas of commoditization and consumerization are anchored in Lawrence and Lorsch's business studies of integration and differentiation of organizations, where organizations need to find their ideal state for integration of subsystems--such as through cloud computing, data center integration, and shared services--and for differentiation, where organizations differentiate themselves to address the unique value they bring to their customers.


So even with commoditization of IT and integration of services, the IT function in organizations will not be going away, no more so than HR or Finance functions went away with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. 


The CIO and IT function will be able to leverage base enterprise services as commodities, but they will be expected more than ever to focus on and provide strategic solutions for their customers and give their organizations the real technology competitive advantage they are looking for and desperately need. 


This is what distinguishes a real CIO--one that provides strategic leadership in being user-centric and coming up with customer-oriented solutions that are not available anyplace else--from those managers that only help to keep the IT lights on. 


If you are not differentiating, you are not really engaging--so get out there with your customers and roll up your CIO sleeves. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 22, 2012

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

This is a photo I took at Harpers Ferry.

There was a train coming by pretty fast, and on the flatbeds were what seemed like a endless line of Tractors. 

-- Red, red, red, red, blue, and then red again. 

I hurried to get my iPhone out and capture this photo while the train was rushing by at full speed. 

I love this shot, because it teaches an important lesson about diversity

Firstly, it reminds me of the children's song, "One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong."

From early in life, we are taught to conform a certain way--based on norms, culture, values, policies, rules, regulations, laws, religion, and so on. 

There always seems to be a reason that we have to talk, dress, think, and conduct ourselves--properly, politically-correct, and just like everyone else. 

And we are warned that "the nail that sticks out, gets hammered down"--so don't do it--it's too risky--you'll be labeled bad or worse yet, crazy. 

So while creativity and innovation is valued if it can bring someone a nice profit, we are still cautioned not to go out too far on a limb or else you risk getting ridiculed and rejected--hey "you may never work again in this town."

But in this picture, the tractors tell a different story--that it's okay to be a blue tractor in a long parade of red ones. 

No, the blue tractor wasn't a mistake, it isn't abnormal or alien or evil, it's just different and it's cool. 

The blue tractor stands out, but it isn't a bad thing to stand out--and the blue tractor won't get hammered down.

It's okay to be a blue tractor in a long procession of red tractors--and it's great to just be who you are--blue, red, yellow, green, or whatever. 

Conformity is not normalcy--it's just look-alike, copycat, and probably even boring. 

Being different can be novel, inventive, out-of-the-box and exciting--and more important it can usher in needed change.

I think we need more blue tractors in a red tractor world.

Will you take a chance and be a blue tractor too? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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April 29, 2012

Strategy, Blue and Red and Successful All Over

Recently, I was reading about something called “Blue Ocean Strategy.”

The notion is that in pursuing differentiation, an organization’s aim is “not to out-perform the competition in the exiting industry [and to fight it out turning the oceans blood red), but [rather] to create a new market space or a blue ocean, thereby making the competition irrelevant.”

While I like the ocean’s metaphor and agree with the need for organizations to innovate and create new products and services (“blue oceans”), I think that competition (“red oceans”) is not something that is inescapable, in any way.

In profitable industries or market spaces, competition will enter until supply and demand equilibrium are met, so that consumers are getting more or less, the optimal supply at the requisite demand. The result is that organizations will and must constantly fight for survival in a dynamic marketplace.

Moreover, as we know, any organization that rests on its past successes, is doomed to the trash heaps of history as John Champers, the CEO of Cisco stated: It’s “easy to say we’re the best…we don’t need to change, but that’s exactly how you disappear.”

In essence, while we may wish to avoid a duke-it-out, red ocean strategy, every successful innovative, differentiation-driven, blue ocean strategy will result in a subsequent red ocean strategy as competitors smell blood and hone in for the kill and their piece of flesh and cut of market share, revenue, and profit hide.

To me, it is na├»ve to think that blue ocean and red ocean strategies are distinct, because every blue ocean eventually turns blood red with competition, unless you are dealing with a monopoly or unfair competitive environment that favors one organization over any others.

The key to success and organizational longevity is for innovations to never cease.  When innovation dries up, it is the moment when the organization begins their drowning decent into the ocean’s abyss.

So as with the lifecycle of all organizations, blue ocean strategies will eventually result in red oceans strategies.  Once this occurs, either the organization will leverage their next blue ocean strategy or bleed red until their body drains itself out and dies off—leaving the superior organization’s blue ocean strategy to carry the day.

Together, blue oceans and red oceans—drive the next great innovation and healthy competition in our dynamic, flourishing market.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to freezingmariner)

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March 18, 2012

Your Leadership Ticket Is Waiting

A lot of colleagues tell me that they hate office politics, and for many it represents their one-way ticket to ongoing bickering, infighting, and a virtual endless cycle of unsatisfied wants and unhappiness.

Office politics is where the interests of multiple parties either converge or collide--where convergence occurs through feelings of interdependence (i.e. enterprise) and acts of teamwork, while collisions predominate by stressing independence (i.e. isolationism) and head-butting.

This is where good and bad leadership can make a huge difference.

- One one hand, a bad leader sees the world of the office as "us versus them" and fights almost indiscriminately for his/her share of scope, resources, influence, and power.

- On the other hand, a good leader looks out for the good of the organization and its mission, and works to ensure the people have what they need to get their jobs done right, regardless of who is doing it or why.

Thus, good leaders inspire trust and confidence, because they, without doubt, put the mission front and center--and egos are left at door.

Harvard Business Review (January-February 2011) in an article called "Are You A Good Boss--Or A Great One?" identifies a couple of key elements that inherently create opposition and competitiveness within the enterprise:

1) Division of Labor--This is the where we define that I do this and you do that. This has the potential to "create disparate groups with disparate and even conflicting goals and priorities." If this differentiation is not well integrated back as interrelated parts of an overall organizational identity and mission, then feelings of "us versus them" and even arguments over whose jobs and functions are more important and should come first in the pecking order will tear away at the organizational fiber and chances of success.

2) Scarce Resources--This is where limited resources to meet requirements and desirements impact the various parts of the organization, because not everyone's wishes can be pursued at the same time or even necessarily, at all.  Priorities need to be set and tradeoffs made in what will get done and what won't. Again, without a clear sense of unity versus disparity, scarcity can quickly unravel the organization based on people's  feelings of unfairness, dissatisfaction, unrest, and potentially even "mob rule" when people feel potentially threatened.


Hence, a bad leader works the system--seeing it as a win-lose scenario--where his/her goals and objectives are necessarily more important than everyone else, and getting the resources (i.e. having a bigger sandbox or "building an empire") is seen as not only desirable but critical to their personal success--here, their identity and loyalty is to their particular niche silo.

However, a good leader cares for the system--looking to create win-win situations--where no one element is better or more important than another, rather where they all must work together synergistically for the greater good of the organization. In this case, resources go not to who fights dirtier, but to who will most benefit the mission with them--in this case, their allegiance and duty is to the greater enterprise and its mission.

HBR states well that "In a real team [with a real leader], members hold themselves and one another jointly accountable. They share a genuine conviction they will succeed or fail together."

Organizations need not be snake pits with cut throat managers wanting to see others fail and waiting to take what they can for themselves, rather there is another way, and that is to lead with a shared sense of purpose, meaning, and teamwork. 

And this is achieved through creating harmony among organizational elements and not class warfare between them.

This type of leader that creates unity--builds enduring strength--and has the ticket we need to organizational success.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 22, 2012

Work Off Of Standards, But Stay Flexible to Change

Interesting book review in the Wall Street Journal (18 January 2012) on Standards: Recipes for Reality by Lawrence Busch.
Standards are a fundamental principle of enterprise architecture, and they can mean many things to different people--they can imply what is normal or expected and even what is considered ethical.
Reading and thinking about this book review helped me to summarize in my own mind, the numerous benefits of standards:
- Predictability--You get whatever the standard says you get.
- Quality--By removing the deviation and defects, you produce a consistently higher quality.
- Speed--Taking the decision-making out of the routine production of standardized parts (i.e. we don't have to "reinvent the wheel each time"), helps us to move the production process along that much faster.
- Economy--Standardizing facilitates mass production and economies of scale lowering the cost of goods produced and sold.
- Interoperability--Creating standards enables parts from different suppliers to inter-operate and work seamlessly and this has allowed for greater trade and globalization.
- Differentiation--Through the standardization of the routine elements, we are able to focus on differentiating other value-add areas for the consumer to appeal to various tastes, styles, and genuine improvements.
While the benefits of standards are many, there are some concerns or risks:
- Boring--This is the fear of the Ford Model-T that came in only one color, black--if we standardize too much, then we understate the importance of differentiation and as they say "variety is the spice of life."
- Stagnation--If we over-standardize, then we run the risk of stifling innovation and creativity, because everything has to be just "one way."
- Rigidity--By standardizing and requiring things like 3rd-party certification, we risk becoming so rigid in what we do and produce that we may become inflexible in addressing specific needs or meeting new requirements.
The key then when applying standards is to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.
This requires maintaining a state of vigilance as to what consumers are looking for and the corollary of what is not important to them or what they are not keen on changing. Moreover, it necessitates using consumer feedback to continuously research and develop improvements to products and services. Finally, it is important to always be open to introducing changes when you are reasonably confident that the benefits will outweigh the costs of moving away from the accepted standard(s).
While it's important to work off of a standard, it is critical not to become inflexible to change.
(Source Photo: here )

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October 23, 2009

Business Process Reengineering and Enterprise Architecture

User-centric EA analyzes problem areas in the organization and uncovers gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities; EA uses this information to drive business process reengineering and improvement as well as to introduce new technologies to the enterprise.

According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130, Management of Federal Information Resources, business process reengineering needs to take place to achieve the benefits of new information technology: “Moreover, business process reengineering should accompany all attempts to facilitate a transaction through information technology. Often the full benefits will be realized only by restructuring the process to take advantage of the technology. Merely moving an existing paper based process to an electronic one is unlikely to reap the maximum benefits from the electronic system.”

In the book The 21st Century Organization by Bennis and Mische the authors explain how organizations can reinvent themselves through reengineering.

What exactly is reengineering?

Reengineering is reinventing the enterprise by challenging its existing doctrines, practices, and activities and then innovatively redeploying its capital and human resources into cross-functional processes. This reinvention is intended to optimize the organization’s competitive position, it value to shareholders, and its contribution to society.”

What are the essential elements of reengineering?

There are five:

  1. A bold vision
  2. A systemic approach
  3. A clear intent and mandate
  4. A specific methodology
  5. Effective and visible leadership”

What activities are involved in reengineering?

  • “Innovating
  • Listening to customers
  • Learning
  • Generating ideas
  • Designing new paradigms
  • Anticipating and eclipsing competitors
  • Contributing to the quality of the workplace and the community
  • Constructively challenging established management doctrines”

“Reengineering the enterprise is difficult. It means permanently transforming the entire orientation and direction of the organization. It means challenging and discarding traditional values, historical precedents, tried-and-true processes, and conventional wisdom and replacing them with entirely different concepts and practices. It means redirecting and retraining workers with those new concepts and practices...The very cultural fiber of the enterprise must be interrogated and redefined. Traditional work flows must be examined and redesigned. Technology must be redirected from supporting individual users and departments to enabling cross-functional processes.”

What are the goals of reengineering?

  • “Increasing productivity
  • Optimizing value to shareholders
  • Achieving quantum results
  • Consolidating functions
  • Eliminating unnecessary levels of work”

Reengineering seeks to increase productivity by creating innovative and seamless processes…the paradigms of vertical ‘silo’ tasks and responsibilities is broken down and replaced with a cross-functional, flatter, networked structure. The classical, top-down approach to control is replaced with an approach that is organized around core processes, is characterized by empowerment, and is closer to the customer....Reengineering constructively challenges and analyzes the organization’s hierarchy and activities in terms of their value, purpose, and content. Organizational levels and activities that represent little value to shareholders or contribute little to competitiveness are either restructured or eliminated.”

What is the role of EA?

EA is the discipline that synthesizes key business and technology information across the organization to support better decision-making. EA develops and maintains the current and target architectures and transition plan for the organization. As OMB recommends, in setting enterprise targets, EA should focus first and foremost on business process reengineering and then on technology enablement. If the organization does not do process reengineering first, the organization risks not only failing to achieve the benefits of introducing new IT, but also causing actual harm to the organizations existing processes and results. For example, adding a new technology without reengineering process can add additional layers of staff and management to implement, maintain, and operate the technology instead of creating a net resource savings to the organization, from more efficient operations. Similarly, without doing reengineering before IT implementation, the enterprise may actually implement IT that conflicts with existing process and thus either require timely and costly system customization or end up adversely impacting process cycle time, delaying shipments, harming customer satisfaction, and creating bloated inventories, and so on.

Bennis and Mische predict that in the 21st century “to be competitive, an organization will have to be technology enabled…the specific types of technology and vendors will be unimportant, as most organizations will have access to or actually have similar technologies. However, how the organization deploys its technological assets and resources to achieve differentiation will make the difference in whether it is competitive.”


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February 26, 2008

Microsoft Reveals Secrets and Enterprise Architecture

This week Microsoft said they had a big announcement, and that it wasn’t about Yahoo! It turns out that Microsoft decided to reveal some of their technical documents for Microsoft Vista, Office, and other applications.

Why would a company like Microsoft reveal their technical secrets to partners and rivals alike? How is this decision a good architecture move, especially by the master architect himself, Bill Gates?

We all know that companies strive to achieve strategic competitive advantage and that one major way to do this is by product differentiation. The goal is to develop a unique product offering that customers want and need and then build market share. In some case, this results in a situation like Microsoft’s virtual monopoly status in desktop operating systems and productivity suites.

So why give up the keys to the Microsoft kingdom?

Well they are not giving up the keys, maybe just giving a peek inside. And an article in The Wall Street Journal, 22 February 2008 tells us why Microsoft is doing this:

  1. Internet Revolution—“For 30 years, Microsoft has…tightly held onto the technical details of how its software works… [and] it become one of the most lucrative franchises in business history. But Microsoft traditional products aren’t designed to evolve via add-ons or tweaks of thousands of non-Microsoft programmers. Nor can they be easily mixed or matched with other software and services not controlled by Microsoft or its partners. Now the Internet is making that kind of evolution possible, and transforming the way software is made and distributed.” As Ray Ozzie, chief software architect of Microsoft states: “The world really has changed.”
  2. Do or die—Microsoft’s prior business model was leading it down a path of eventual extinction. “The more people use these applications [free technologies and shareware], the less they need they have for Microsoft’s applications.” Microsoft is hoping to maintain their relevance.
  3. Antitrust ruling—“Last September, an appeals court in Luxembourg ruled against Microsoft in a long-running European case that forced Microsoft to announce a month later that it would drop its appeals and take steps to license information to competitors.”
  4. Interoperability—“Microsoft announced in July 2006 [its “Windows Principles”]…such as a commitment to providing rival developers with access to interfaces that let their products talk with Windows.” The key here is customer requirements for systems interoperability and Microsoft is begrudgingly going along.

Is this fifth such announcement on sharing by Microsoft the charm? I suppose it all hinges on how much marketplace and legal pressure Microsoft is feeling to divulge its secrets.

So it this the right User-centric EA decision?

If Microsoft is listening to their users, then they will comply and share technical details of their products, so that new technology products in the market can develop that add on to Microsoft’s and are fully interoperable. The longer Microsoft fights the customer, the more harm they are doing to their brand.

At the same time, no one can expect Microsoft to do anything that will hurt their own pocketbook, so as long as they can successfully maintain their monopoly, they will. Not that Microsoft is going away, but they are holding onto a fleeting business model. In the information age, Microsoft will have to play ball and show some goodwill to their users.


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December 21, 2007

Strategy and Enterprise Architecture

In the book Translating Strategy into Action, by Duke Corporate Education, the authors provide numerous insights into strategy development that are applicable to User-centric EA.

  • Strategy is hard—“As managers, the combination of more information, a faster pace, greater geographic reach, greater interdependence, and elevated scrutiny means the environment we manage and the problem we face are increasingly complex.” The EA strategy is hard to develop, but even harder for today’s overtaxed managers to quickly and simply execute.
  • Strategy is a differentiator—“Strategy is about being different and making choices…it outlines where and how a company will compete [or operate]…it provides direction, guidance, and focus when you are faced with choices.” The EA is a differentiator for where and how the organization will operate.
  • Strategy is purpose—“Creating strategic context for your team creates a greater sense of purpose by connecting what they are doing to the bigger picture.” The EA sets up an alignment between IT and business and establishes context and purpose.
  • Strategy must be adaptable—“Strategy will always be in a state of flux and should be adaptable to today’s fast-paced environment.” The EA must be flexible and adapt to a changing environment.
  • Information is king—“Implementing a strategy requires managers to move from data acquisition to insight. How managers make sense of information is what will set them and their companies apart.” In EA, information is captured, analyzed, and catalogued for developing strategy and enabling decision-making.
  • Always start with a baseline—“Strategy translation and execution always entails moving from where you are to where you want to be. Without an honest and incisive analysis of where you are, this journey begins on faulty ground.” In EA, you’ve got to have a baseline in order to get to your target.
  • Think capabilities—“The more important step is to focus on building the capabilities necessary to achieve these [strategic action] steps, and ultimately the intended vision.” EA should help you define and develop your operational and technical capabilities and competancies
  • Embrace change—“Get comfortable with change. Continue to learn how to adapt because the degree and pace of change is increasing. Your firm’s strategy will change, maybe not in major ways, but always in subtle and important ways.” EA requires that the enterprise is open to change, not for change’s sake, but for adapting to changes in our environment.

Enterprise architecture is a strategic, big picture endeavor. It involves developing the baseline, target, and transition plan. The EA is the enterprise strategy and blueprint for bridging information requirements with IT solutions. EA is the CIO’s strategy for meeting mission requirements.

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October 31, 2007

Contingency Theory and Enterprise Architecture

User-centric EA seeks to develop an organization both through integration and differentiation.

In Lawrence and Lorsch's groundbreaking work "Organization and Environment," the authors explore the implications of integration and differentiation in the enterprise.

  • Integration is the "state of collaboration that exists among departments that are required to achieve unity of effort."
  • Differentiation is when different departments have different structures and orientations (such as short-term versus long-term outlooks or relationship versus task foci).

Both integration and differentiation can be useful in different environments. For example, in stable environments an integrated organization tends to function best, while in an uncertain or turbulent environment, an organization that is differentiated internally has greater prospects for success. A key finding of Lawrence and Lorsch’s research was that the most successful organizations simultaneously achieved high levels of both.

Contingency theory states that there is not one best way for an organization in terms of structure or leadership style. Rather, according to contingency theory, it is best to vary the organizational structure and management style depending on the environment in which the enterprise operates.

EA should plan for organizations in various environments. No one plan can be successful in every type of environment. Therefore, EA should use contingency theory to develop options or alternate paths for an organization to take depending on the landscape it finds itself in. Refining the degree of differentiation and integration of departments in the enterprise is one way to navigate in different operational environments. Centralizing or decentralizing decision making, situational leadership, and altering task versus people orientation are just some of the other factors that can be varied to adjust to changing environments. The key is to keep the options open, to be nimble and agile with planning, so that the enterprise is not hamstrung by ill-conceived plans that were developed for a future state that may not exist.


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