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EA Dealing with the RACI limbo - Part IV

As mentioned in my When Everyone Does Everything Blog, I’d follow that one up with four blogs on each of the “what to do” bullets below

Context: Being caught in this “RACI limbo” is not unusual. Your CIO wants to hold your head of business applications and CTO accountable for your application and technology architecture. Since the CIO is holding them accountable they feel like they need control and be driving the IT Strategy for their area vs Enterprise Architecture (EA). In that case you share an A (Accountable) and a R (Responsible) with your colleagues for IT Strategy and solutioning of critical transformations. Everyone tells you that As should not be shared in RACIs but they seem to do it anyway. It would be even worse if the CIO took the A away from EA.

So what does EA need to do?

  1. Build strong relationships with fellow IT leaders at all senior levels

  2. Be better at developing IT Strategies and complex solutions than their IT colleagues

  3. Have a clear engagement model and service offering

  4. Provide excellent service

Provide excellent service

This should be a no brainer to any IT professional. IT is a service organization to the business. Thus the business is an internal customer to IT. Your customers only come back if they receive good service or “they have to”. I would not rely on the “they have to” card as IT will get ignored for the most critical services. The business will use a consulting firm for the business, application and data architecture. You’ll be stuck in the Tech stack as the business believes that area is non-differentiating as well as an area they must engage with corporate IT. For more reasoning why this might happen read my “Reality of EA reporting lines. Deal with it!” blog. It’s not directly on this subject but it makes the point.

I used the term internal customer purposefully. There is a big difference between an external and an internal customer. You should and are expected to provide the ugly truth and push back harder than an external vendor to the business. If you do it in a professional way the business will appreciate your service even more. Consultants often diminish the ugly truth or don’t push back as hard. After all, the business is paying the consultants’ bills so they want to be careful not to upset their paying customer. Another, more cynical view, is that poor decisions customers make above the consultant’s warning often bring in tons of extra revenue.

Finally, a more tangible advice for EA being a service provider is NOT to cross-charge for EA services that relate to project proposal -> design or governance/project reviews. Proposal work is done for free from consultants and if you add EA to the other activities the project manager/sponsor might view them as duplicative costs. So in these scenarios you could be competing with consultants and you do not want a cost disadvantage. In most companies IT is viewed as a cost center. Therefor, costs heavily influence how the business deals with IT.

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