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BOOK - Enterprise Architecture - A Pragmatic Approach Using PEAF


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Should IT ever say “No” to the Business?

In a word. NO! Or, to put it another way NO. Never. Ever. NO!

I know what you are thinking…

“There will be sometimes when we (IT) just have to say no because what they want us to do is just plain wrong, illogical, stupid, crazy, etc, etc, etc. Like if they asked us to give all their customers a Tablet and expect us to maintain them, or if they asked us to remove all the backup storage, or if they told us to use COBOL instead of JAVA…..”

The point is - who is to decide what is wrong, illogical, stupid, crazy, etc, etc, etc.

“The Business” will have access to much more information than IT and therefore IT will never be in a position to say what they are being asked to do is wrong, illogical, stupid, crazy, etc, etc, etc. From an IT persons perspective things may well look wrong, illogical, stupid or crazy but from the Business perspective things may look so obviously right that they find it hard to understand why IT is saying no and appearing to be trying to block things.

This does not, of course mean that IT will not have an opinion and may offer recommendations, but that is very different.

When IT starts to make decisions and therefore effectively refuses to do what the Business asks of it, it immediately puts IT in the role of a blocker, a problem, a difficult child, a loose cannon, a “difficult person”. IT being seen in this light is a major major problem - for IT itself but more importantly for the entire Enterprise.

IT needs to understand its place (and especially the role of EA) is to make “The Business” aware of the implications of what they are asking IT to do. By doing so, IT forces “The Business” to take accountability for those decisions. If not, the IT department will continue to be its own worst enemy.

The business is in control of an Enterprise but many have lost control of the IT department. EA puts the business back in control of Enterprise Transformation, including the IT department, and at the same time allows the people in the IT department to sleep at night.

The caveat is, of course, if “The Business” bestows on IT the power to make certain decisions within specified limits. If this happens, it is still not IT making the decision. It is still the Business making the decision. IT is merely the messenger, and if problems accepting that decision come about, then it is ultimately the business whose responsibility it is to defend or change it.


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Questions to ponder...

Do people in your IT department ever say no to the business?

Does that create any tensions or problems or issues?

What do you need to do to solve them?

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