13 years, 9 months ago

Integrated Governance: A Presentation of a Literature Review.

Link: http://coherencyarchitect.com/2010/08/12/integrated-governance-a-presentation-of-a-literature-review/

The Basics of the Review

The review is dealing with Integrated Integrated Governance. Integrated Governance is defined as how corporate strategy, IT strategy, IT governance and Enterprise Architecture are aligned and dealt with.

I have chosen to limit the amount of topics to cope with my limited resources. Therefor I selected what I assumed were the most relevant topics of the literature.

Corporate Strategy

In brief I worked with Mintzberg and his work titled “Strategy Safari” that basically deals with 10 different schools of strategy. The work is one of the few master pieces produced on strategy in the beginning of the 21st century and I added some of the views he expressed in his work titled “The Raise and Fall of Strategic Planning”. I chose to deal with three schools of importance, and then add a systemic approach by using the work “Breakout Strategy” by Finkelstein et al (2007).

I could conclude that corporate strategy is of no importance if it isn’t embodied in the actions of the executives, managers and employees. Likewise could I define some advantages and disadvantages from each of the schools and summed up the ideal approach to strategy development.

My initial assumption was that all other forms of strategy had to be aligned with the corporate strategy, and therefore I worked with an analysis of IT strategy and works within that particular field of strategies.

IT Strategy

I have been able to define two major schools (more likely trends) within the articulation of IT strategy. I have named them “The Integrated Strategy Approach” and the opposing view for “The Separated Strategy Approach”. When you go through the slides you will see that the two approaches do share some characteristics.

The characteristics are that IT is complex compared to the machines of the ‘old days’ and that the executives of the enterprise needs to understand how IT works to really be able to apply Information Technology in a way that achieves the benefits of using IT.

The separated strategy approach is based on the views that are represented by Ross & Weill (2009) in their work titled “IT-savvy”. They state that the IT is so complex that there is a need for an entity to administrate and develop the IT architecture, called the IT department. The IT department is almost a magical place that knows how the enterprise can develop new features and gear the enterprise to do so if only the executives form the “business” listened. For this the operating model of the enterprise has to be uncovered and defined. Through this the decision makers are able to handle the issues. One thing is for sure that the operating model has to be explicit in a document (strategy document) that is articulated after the corporate strategy has been articulated.

“The Integrated Strategy Approach” is based on the assumption that IT can’t be separated from doing business in the modern economy. The corporate strategy has to embed the IT strategy, and that dictates that the “business” and the IT-department needs to be tightly coupled. The approach promotes the view of that sub-optimization and monarchies needs to be undermined. The organization has to view IT as something similar to all other forms of investment and that can be done through abolishing the traditional title of the CIO and replace it with a new form of executive that according to Potts (who wrote the book “Fruition” that is serving as the platform of this particular view of IT strategy).

One particular view the two opposing views of IT strategies shares is that strategy means nothing if it is embodied in the actions of executives, management and employees.

That leads to the findings on IT governance.

IT Governance

IT governance is the IT strategy that is embodied. According to Ross & Weill (2004) claims it deals with defining principles, standards, investments and management of IT and Information Systems. When working with this particular form of governance then Ross & Weill argues that the top performers (40 case-studies they have worked with through their research on the topic) have made use of governance forms that makes includes both the IT department and the executives form “the business”. Two forms are known as duopoly and federation and they can take different forms when it comes to the rights of input and the rights of decision making.

But why should IT be governed in the first place? According to McKeen and Smith published the work “Making IT Happen” (2003) then IT is the foundation of any of the operations that any modern enterprise has. IT will change over time and the costs related to IT will be embedded in close to any kind of asset that can be found in a modern enterprise. Carr (2004) published his article and later his book “Why IT Doesn’t Matter” that basically states that doesn’t contribute to any kind of sustainable competitive advantages since IT is easily coped with. Porter (1998) claims that sustainable competitive advantages can’t come from a single process (or thing) that the enterprise does well, and likewise should the enterprise work with to position itself on the market and that uncovers that Porter belongs to the positioning school within the field of Corporate Strategy.

How can Integrated governance then be applied in an enterprise? My opinion is that Enterprise Architecture can be the glue that makes Integrated Governance work. First of all because it documents how the architecture is working and second of all that when used properly the executives, managers and employees are able to work with realizing the vision.

This leads to a discussion of Workforce planning.

Workforce Planning

I have worked with Gary Hamel’s approach to how management has been done through the early beginning of large social structures to the present. It is worth to mention that Hamel (2007) argues that the old fashioned management paradigm that has been founded on the basics of Frederick W. Taylor’s views on management and responsibilities. Taylorism works with the idea that the corporate management is based on that management demands and control. Hamel argues the role of management needs to be changed to a role where the managers facilitate and supports the employees with achieving goals of the enterprise.

I then approached the ideas of tightly coupled and loosely coupled organizational systems. These two particular approaches have different needs when it comes to transformation.

The tightly coupled organization can be handled through an approach that is tightly coupled to the theories that Kurt Lewin worked with (unfreezing, moving, freezing). The loosely coupled approach has to be dealt with in a different way since the various components of the organization works within various contexts and dominos that all in all moves them back and forward. In other words the enterprise can’t be freezed. Most complex organizations are loosely coupled to be able to give the various departments the autonomy that is needed to cope with the changes in the domino of the enterprise.

In cases where a complex enterprise needs to be transformed then it can be argued that a combined approach has to be applied. The approach can be a combination of Kotter’s (1995) 8-step approach for change with social networks theory that is proposed by Rogers.

This leads to the discussion of the concept of Enterprise Architecture.

Enterprise Architecture

The concept of Enterprise Architecture is defined by Bernard (2005) as the combination of Business, Strategy and Technology. Likewise does he argue that the Enterprise Architecture can be both a form of documentation and a form of management. He states that Enterprise Architecture is a program (many individual projects) that moves the enterprise from one particular state to another (desired) state.

The question becomes how Enterprise Architecture (and the next generation of Enterprise Architecture) can handle the obstacles of organizational barriers and organization culture.

Coherency Management is theoretical addition to the concept of Enterprise Architecture and the paradigm operates with that Enterprise Architecture can address the elements of culture and overcome the human barriers to enrich the enterprise.

This leads to the concept of Coherency Management.

Coherency Management

The concept or perhaps the initial start of a new paradigm deals with that Enterprise Architecture has been too IT centric and that has minimized the positive outcome of Enterprise Architecture. Doucet et al. (2009) published the work “Coherency Management: Architecting the firm for Assurance, Alignment and Agility”. In the book it is expressed that every enterprise has an architecture; however not all enterprises have taken charge of their architecture.

To kick start the approach on how to make use of Enterprise Architecture to achieve assurance, agility and alignment then it the CIO has to be replaced with one who really supports the EA program and the change from the IT centric approach. A radical approach could be to replace the CIO role with the role of the CIIO (Chief Internal Investments Officer) to move away from the IT centric approach.

The CEO role needs also to be re-defined in the sense that it needs to support the EA program to make it embrace the Enterprise Architecture program.


Finkelstein, S., Harvey, C. & Lawton, T., 2006. Breakout Strategy: Meeting the Challenge of Double-Digit Growth, McGraw-Hill Professional.

Hamel, G., 2007. The Future of Management, Harvard Business School Press.

Mintzberg, H., 2000. The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, P.B. & Lampel, J.B., 2008. Strategy Safari: The Complete Guide Through the Wilds of Strategic Management 2nd ed., Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.

Newell, S. et al., 2007. Managing Knowledge Work 1st ed., New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Porter, M.E., 1985. Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, New York: Free Press.

Orton & Weick, 1990. Loosely Coupled Systems: A Conceptualization. Academy of Management Review.

Porter, M.E., 1996. What Is Strategy? Harvard Business Review, 74(6), 61-78. Available at: http://esc-web.lib.cbs.dk/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=9611187954&site=ehost-live&scope=site [Accessed January 26, 2010].

Sjoelin, P. F. T, 2010. The IT Strategy: An Articulation of the IT Strategy from a Coherency Architect’s Point of View.

Weill, P. & Ross, J.W., 2004. IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results, Harvard Business School Press.

Weill, P. & Ross, J., 2009. IT Savvy: What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain, Harvard Business School Press.

Download the Slides here.