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Do you panhandle?

May 16, 2007


I remembered a quote that seemed fitting to a meeting I had this week. I had to dig a bit in my books to find it, but… it matches our entire environment to a ‘T’. 

“The information technology organization should not have to go tin cupping to its user community for support for an enterprise information architecture.  IF the business community cannot see the clear value of the enterprise information architecture, then the business is not yet ready for it. However, there are many things that can be done to educate business management to the point where they can see value.”


Building Enterprise Information Architectures: Reengineering Information Systems by Melissa A. Cook

Unfortunately, the current mindset is to tin cup (beg) for everything from our users—rather than a collaborative relationship.  So, I wonder who the task of changing that mindset falls to?  The CIO, the department supervisors, or the workers who are interacting with the customers?  Perhaps all of them?


I believe it requires everyone’s effort—from all levels of the organizational chart—to get buy in from both internal customers (aka: your peers in the technology department) and your true customers (whether they be cross-department or external).   The higher levels reiterate the vision, create desire with the organization, and prove value (or outweigh opportunity costs) while the levels below provide proof of concept, analysis, and ROI for the implementation of these processes.



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  1. Michael
    May 19, 2007 at 10:09 am

    The higher levels reiterate the vision, create desire with the organization…

    Good luck with that.

    The IT Dept is more likely to have success by going to the end-users and finding out what their problems are, then going to the ‘higher levels’ and explaining how your solution will help with those problems.

    It doesn’t hurt to have the end users pushing for what you want as well.

    But getting enterprise information architecture adopted is just like getting any change adopted in an organization. How you get changes adopted depend upon the change, the organization and many other things. There’s no magic pill.

  2. May 21, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Quite right; and it varies a great deal depending on company culture.

    The final sentence may make more sense if reversed, though the order was not intended to provide actual action order.

    The end users (be it internal or external customers) and those working with them will, most likely, always be the first line to determine a problem and seek action. It is, however, important for those in “power” to buy in and be willing to sell the solution to their peer superiors and higher up the chain rather than, as in some organizations, doing a half-assed job of accepting fate.

    To example the latter, it would hurt an organization where the manager didn’t buy into the idea of a change (but still tried to sell it) and ended up sabotaging the process instead. At this point, those pushing for the change needed to do either a better job of conveying the importance and relevance of the change OR accept that it wasn’t the right time and put it on the “list of things to do when the company is ready”.

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