Webinar Recap: Here Comes the Next Big Thing: Adopting New Technologies is Inevitable, Doing So Successfully Isn’t

I’m so excited that my company’s Webinar Series is becoming more established. We received a lot of positive feedback on our last one.  Instructor Bob Daniel gave an extremely perceptive explanation of why “Adopting new technologies is inevitable. Doing so successfully isn’t”.  Every day new, “latest, greatest” technologies are announced and organizations, whether from within or without, are driven to adopt them. Unfortunately, the all-too-common experience is that the anticipated benefits never materialize. Typically, the focus is entirely on “successful” installation and vendor training. While important, these steps simply aren’t enough to assure you’ll get the return on investment you want (and need). Bob began his Webinar diving into these issues.

In this Webinar, Bob Daniel discusses the motivations driving the adoption of new technologies, the factors that disrupt adoption, and what you really need to do to be successful. Drawing from decades of experience in new technology adoption with both private and public sector clients, Bob will highlight real-world adoption pitfalls and provide practical means to avoid them, as well as to recover from them.  At the end of the hour, you’ll have a framework and set of tools you can use to build success into your technology adoption programs.  Check out the following clip to get an idea of the full range of advice covered in this Webinar.

If you missed Bob’s Webinar and would like access to the full video please e-mail me at josh.millsapps@mbaoutcome.com. Also, don’t miss out on our next Webinar where the Honorable Dale Meyerrose will give us insight into his problem solving techniques honed over years of experience in leadership, cyber security, information technology, intelligence and military matters. Click here to sign up!

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

How to sweat the small stuff without ending up stinky

how to sweat the small stuff without ending up stinky

Small steps can be just as important as the big ones

Business process re-engineering doesn’t have to be a boil the ocean approach to transforming your business. I don’t have any scientific evidence to support this but I believe that the most missed opportunities to improve are the little ones we have in front of us everyday. I’m not advocating against “Thinking Big,” I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be so focused on enterprise transformation that you miss the 1% improvements that add up over time. I believe that many managers miss out on maximizing their value proposition to the organization because they aren’t able to execute on small change initiatives in a meaningful way. These smaller 30, 60 or 90 day initiatives include re-engineering internal workflows, automating internal processes, and course corrections to major programs. The dollars are generally small and the rewards for any one won’t get you an award at the annual holiday party, but over time these are the types of improvements that move the needle for an organization as a whole. Here are 5 things to think about before you decide to move out on that small change effort you’ve been thinking about.

  1. Take the big picture or system view: I know this post is all about little improvements—just remember the big picture and try not to work against it. Thinking big picture helps you ensure you don’t miss the really important thing that happens just before the process you are focusing on.
  2. Think about the data: In most organizations, everything else changes faster than the data. People, technology, and processes—they all change fairly quickly. Understanding information requirements around a process improvement opportunity often gives you a chance to think about it without the confusion of technology and other factors. In the end, many of the improvement opportunities you will find in any organization center on more effectively moving, manipulating, or otherwise acting on information that has been used for years to support the business.
  3. Remember the human factor: Ever sat in a place and wondered how it was possible that nobody had fixed problem “x” yet? You’ve been on site for five minutes and you can tell right away what’s wrong. Most of the time there is a reason that obvious improvement opportunities go unexploited. Many times it’s a people issue. Many times an unwillingness to change comes from a fear or uncertainty about the effect of change. People are often the biggest obstacle to change and you often need to be prepared to sell people on why they should change, even when the existing process seems so obviously broken to you.
  4. Beware scope creep: Little improvements have a way of morphing into massive programs over the course of a cup of coffee. The temptation to keep pulling on the thread of an improvement opportunity until you have completely re-organized the company is hard to resist.
  5. Remember you still need to manage change: Little improvements can go a long way, but one of the downsides to smaller improvement efforts is the costs of change management isn’t anticipated and the effort falls short because there is no money to update the SOP, provide training, etc. The bells and whistles that get included with major transformation efforts often get left out. Informal or small programs still need planning to ensure that there is documentation, training, etc. Without these, the value of these small changes is severely limited.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

The Path to Value: How to stay focused on results

the path to value

How to navigate the “Path to Value” without getting derailed by trivialities

I frequently use the phrase “Path to Value” to describe the approach organizations need to take in order to ensure they maximize the value they get from their transformational efforts. Large scale modernizations, enterprise architecture efforts, and enterprise projects all have a tendency to get derailed in the minutia and details of execution. Getting where you want to go means staying laser focused on the big picture while carefully navigating the line between responsible deviation and unreasonable scope creep. The Path to Value for me embodies an approach to project and organizational thinking that begins and ends with a focus on value. Methodologies are great, best practices are helpful, but the most important thing you can focus on is your own organizational value. One of the great things that has come from the proliferation and acceptance of best practices has been that there is a broad market of patterns and methodologies available for executing on almost any type of transformational effort. The down side is that none are tailored for your organization and while many have a host of highly competent, exceptionally intelligent, and dedicated folks maintaining them, they are often overly complete. By this I mean that most of these are developed over time to address broader and broader problem sets and subtract more and more detail away in an attempt to fit the broader pattern. I say all of this because while I believe in best practice and the judicious use of methodologies and standards, I also believe these are guides, templates, and starting points and that they should always be bound by a common sense approach that puts value first.

Following “The Path to Value” means always looking for the value of the intended activity for the organization. One of the reasons I’m such a big fan of organizations focusing on their Operating Model as a starting point for implementing a decisions support structure is that it enables organizations to significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary and duplicative governance they have in place, while enabling the same at the appropriate level for the organization. The same can be said for my belief in a “Thin Layer” of information that provides just enough to facilitate decision-making and reduces unnecessary burden and cost to maintain the information necessary to make decisions. All of these are born out of my belief that the “Path to Value” is about maintaining the simplest possible process and informational structure necessary to support your efforts. If you apply this approach to enterprise projects and transformation efforts I think that you can better stay on the Path to Value by following three simple rules:

  1. Think big, start small, and scale fast: This is General Meyerrose’s maxim for organizational value and I believe it is a core principle that will help you stay on the path to value. The idea of thinking on an enterprise scale but proving your point via proofs of concept that can then be scaled rapidly is a powerful one that draws on practical experience but also has roots in current research into organizational innovation.
  2. Move in Sprints, Measure in sprints: I am a big believer in managing performance via metrics and I think there is a place for high level performance metrics. However, transformation efforts need short-term goals and objectives to stay on course. Setting goals farther than six months out creates targets that are perhaps too far away to be meaningful and often have to be abstracted to the point where attainment can be gamed. Metrics that are inside of 90 days provide real insight and make better targets for teams. I know that for myself as a semi-reformed procrastinator, that a goal that is six months away can often be put off until tomorrow.
  3. The Path to Value needs light: The more open to the outside world a project is, the more likely it is to succeed. Producing or attempting to produce value in shorter increments and exposing them to stakeholders outside the project team leads to higher quality finished products that are better received. Getting feedback as you move through a projects’s execution ensures that stakeholders are not surprised by the final delivery and enables them to shape it as it moves through the project life cycle. Obviously, this path can lead to scope creep if not properly managed, but I think the chance to engage and get buy-in along the way coupled with the chance to make minor course corrections in flight is well worth the risk to your scope.

Those are my three keys to staying on The Path to Value. How do you keep your teams working on the things that are really important? How have you tailored a methodology to meet your requirements?

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Uncharted Water: 10 Simple Steps to Change Your Organization in the New Year

deep-water

 

Don’t get scared when heading into uncharted water

One of the most difficult situations a technology executive can find himself or herself in is with a clear understanding that the current state of the organization isn’t sustainable but with no clear approach to moving forward. There may be a myriad of reasons for this unclear picture from a lack of insight into ongoing operations, to poor data, or to a lack of support for action from upper management. Any of these can create a difficult environment in which to move forward and develop an efficient and effective technology organization from.  However, too much time spent analyzing where to start simply delays improvement and rarely ends with the organization getting to value faster than if they had started by simply acting.

I don’t mean to imply that doing anything is better than nothing or that simply doing something for the sake of doing something is a good plan of attack. I am saying that in the absence of a clear path forward every organization can benefit from taking the following steps.  Particularly those that are struggling with how to move forward but aren’t sure of the right approach or simply lack the information necessary to make an informed plan forward. With everything I am going to say next, please keep one very simply concept in mind:

There is a “Thin Layer” of information that is important. Anything beyond what is necessary to support decision-making is superfluous and wasteful. Choose this information wisely. Choose only what you need to support ongoing decision-making. Anything else can be developed on an as needed basis. With that said, here is the right approach to transforming any organization and developing an information set that will provide a springboard to efficiency and effectiveness.

  1. Figure out what you do: This sounds pretty simple but seems to always get lost in the battle for detail. The first time you do this you should not be focused on developing a detailed model of everything you do so you can execute the business from it like a playbook. This is all about developing buckets to group the resources of the organization for analysis into portfolios. Consider this to be one of your first steps on the path to enterprise portfolio management. Also—remember that you can stand on the work of those that have come before you. There are many capability frameworks that have already been developed and are actively maintained.
  2. Figure our the decisions you need to make: In order to understand what information you need, you need to first figure out what decisions you are trying to support. Once you’ve decided what you do in step 1, it becomes much easier to understand the overall decisions landscape needed to support it. Create a decision register that defines the decision including RACI, informational inputs, analytic components, and the benefit of the decision. This last part is critical because it enables you to value the decision and by proxy, understand how much you should invest to gain more insight in order to improve decision-making.
  3. Figure out who your stakeholders are: I’ve separated this from the decision-making step because I believe they are distinct and that mixing the two muddies the water; but in practice there will be a lot of overlap in these two activities and developing the working products associated with each should be done hand in hand. Tying the decisions to the people who make them, as well as the people who help develop the information necessary to support decision-making is critical stuff. A great planning document can be developed by creating a decision matrix that maps to stakeholders and includes RACI information.
  4. Figure out the benefit landscape: I mentioned this in the discussion of the decision register, but I have pulled it out because I believe it is critical to being successful over time. Developing a benefits list makes you put a value to the effort of maintaining this planning information. One of the major complaints that I hear regarding planning and architecture efforts is that they either lack value or that the value is hard to understand. This is often because a great deal of information goes into maintaining information that is of low organizational value. Remember the Thin Layer and make sure that the information you manage and maintain has real benefit to the organization. Articulating this in a document, registry, or report forces you to think through the value proposition of each decision and in turn the value of the information you will being managing.
  5. Figure out the exact information you need to support these decisions: We are very specific about what we collect when we enter an organization for two reasons. The first is we like to work within a time box in order to get to value quickly. Being specific about what we ask enables us to keep our client side impact to a minimum. The second is that we know how hard it is to maintain good planning data and we know there is a cost to maintaining it. Asking for more than you need is wasteful. If you are optimizing around services or your application portfolio make sure you understand how the various information you are gathering supports the relevant decision-making.
  6. Figure out the analytic components: Once you’ve taken the trouble to figure out what decisions you need to make it is important to take the time necessary to design analytic components that specifically support those decisions. This may not be a one report to one decision type of process. Think about each decision as though it were a scenario. Often making decisions requires several analytic components in order to enable you to drive through the decisions scenario.
  7. Figure out your timelines: Time boxes work hand in hand with the Thin Layer concept to ensure that you are getting to value as rapidly as possible. I believe in 30, 60 and 90 day plans with very specific deliverables. In fact the first iteration through this list should take no more than 90 days. That isn’t to say that you will have everything perfect the first time through, but there should be some real value and insight gained in those first 90 days. After the second iteration you should be very close to having something that you can operate from. From there forward, you should be able to run through this list on an annual basis in order to ensure that organizational change is being accounted for and that you aren’t spending resources to maintain informational inputs for a decision that is no longer of high value.
  8. Figure out what success looks like: You have to go into the project with a shared vision of success that is held by both those inside and outside the project. If the goal is some form of organizational transformation, it is critical that you work to define some very specific metrics for both the short and the long-term in order to understand if you are building value for the organization.
  9. Figure out your marketing plan: I’ve been told on many occasions that marketing really isn’t something their organization does because they are an internal service organization. Do not allow yourself to fall into this trap. Success breeds success. Every project should have a marketing plan even if you feel you have to call it a communications plan. Trumpet your success and how your success enables the success of the organization—it will help you be more successful and stay successful. You should always be searching for the ROI or benefit statement that accompanies your project and set aside dollars and resource time to do so. If you don’t, you aren’t doing everything you can to succeed.
  10. Figure out your decision-making processes: Understanding the decisions that need to be made, the informational inputs, decision-making context, etc is just part of the story. To get maximum value, you have to make sure that you plan your decision-making process and plan it around your new informational environment. You are going to have a lot of new information and a lot of new insight. Don’t make the mistake of sticking to your old decision-making process or you will have missed an enormous opportunity to capture more value from your efforts.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Weekly Webinars Recap- ‘Teamwork on the Fly’

With the New Year fast approaching, I think now is a perfect time to talk about improving oneself. Specifically, I want to talk about the importance of learning. At my company, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates we consider continuing education and training to be a non-negotiable necessity, both within our company, and as a service to our clients. As such, we’ve launched our training division; MB&A Academy. One of my favorite offering through MB&A Academy is our free Webinar of the Week. Every week we feature industry leaders and experts giving a peek into the full length courses we offer to leading government officials and corporate executives.

Last week, we had a very informative Webinar given by MB&A Academy instructor, Scott Ross. Scott has a Consulting Firm based out of Colorado called Waves End LLC with experience in Web, IT, Photo, Video, and Training services. His Webinar was entitled Teamwork on the Fly, and focused on an issue I know we all struggle with in today’s global workforce. Creating effective, efficient teams with members located all over the world. See the clip below to get a peek at what the attendees saw:

The Webinar was interactive and well received. Said one attendee from Denver, CO “Having gone through a university training curriculum where we spent a whole quarter studying teams and teamwork, it was a good refresher. I am going to recommend the book he used to my university”. From an attendee in the Indianapolis area “there is a close company of mine that seems to implode when their fingers go outside of the company when trying to formulate a team.  I took good notes and it is actually helping. For that I thank you!” See the clip below to check out some of the questions asked of Scott after the webinar:

If you would like access to the full video, e-mail us at academy@mbaoutcome.com.

So for this New Year, make a resolution to commit to personal development. You can start by checking out our upcoming Webinar on January 11th. MB&A Instructor, Bob Daniel, will talking about how to ensure success in adopting new technologies. To register, click here.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

What is Enterprise Intelligence?

What is Enterprise Inteligencwe

Enterprise Intelligence is a key structure for supporting successful transformation efforts

 In my post “Enterprise Architecture and the Road to Enterprise Intelligence, I talk about an approach to enterprise architecture that results in Enterprise Intelligence.  Wikipedia’s definition of Enterprise Architecture as “the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating, and improving the key requirements, principles, and models that describe the enterprise’s future state and enable its evolution,” is probably close enough for most. I’m sure that every Enterprise Architect would tweak this sentence or refer me to the TOGAF, DODAF, etc. definition that is more meaningful to them. For this conversation it is good enough because it hits what I believe are the keys to understanding EA, which is that it is about managing change in the service of meeting the vision and strategy of the business.

 This is important because these are the same keys that make it so relevant to organizational transformation. The trend in the world is towards more change, happening faster. Business models are becoming more complex and high performing organizations have to be able to manage change in order to be successful. The period between the instantiation of business vision and the implementation has to shrink. I have honed in on the term organizational transformation because the “transformation” part is a key element. When business vision changes in order to be successful, high performing organizations must be able to change down to the last layer of the organization in order to be efficient and effective. This means changing everything from business process, to application, to performance measurement. Not only must the change permeate every aspect of the business, but it must also be understood that during, and most importantly after, the change that the entire stakeholder community will be affected as well. Enterprise architecture should obviously play a key role in developing this capability.

To me, enterprise intelligence is the decision support structure that underlies both Enterprise Architecture and Organizational Transformation. It is the explicit understanding and management of the key decisions needed to support the business throughout the execution of organizational transformation and its enterprise architecture. Many will argue that understanding the stakeholder community is already embedded in EA methodologies and they would be correct. I’m simply stating that understanding the stakeholder landscape, the decisions associated with this landscape, and the explicit value of these decisions is so important that it deserves specific focus. I’ve talked in some detail about this in “Specifications for Decisions Support” and “The Value Landscape.” Essentially, I believe that enterprise intelligence should provide a framework for understanding the key decisions that impact the organization and provide a framework for understanding the value that these decisions provide. For Enterprise Architecture and Organizational Transformation this should provide the organization with an explicit understanding of the value of undertaking these types of initiatives, while at the same time providing a series of reports, dashboards, and other analytic components and processes that specify exactly how these add value to the organization. Is enterprise intelligence a discrete concrete that should live separately from enterprise architecture?  There will be plenty of opinion on that subject and EAs being the types of folks they are, will make sure I’ll hear quite a bit about it. For me the distinction isn’t for the EAs, it is to help business stakeholders understand the tangible values of the pursuit of enterprise architecture and to tie together the pursuit of enterprise architecture and a capability around organizational transformation.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Dale Meyerrose: Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast

This is the third video in the MB&A Executive Series which concludes the interview with Major General Dale Meyerrose on the topic of organizational change.

Below is the transcript of the video.
Josh: Alright as you’re going about those transformational efforts are there processes that you feel like are critical to getting that to work.  Are there some things that you found over time that you key in on that you just got to be able to perform this type of activity to make it all go?
Dale: Absolutely.  There are the dos and the don’ts.  Ok the easiest to talk about is the don’ts, so let me get through that and talk about the don’ts.  Some of the don’ts are the elements of consistency of the message.  When you’re going through a change making sure that everybody on the team is on the same sheet of music and understands their roles and is not working at cross purposes is probably the single biggest detriment to change occurring in organizations.  Because if you think about it there are literally thousands if not millions of small little decisions that have to be made across an organization even a very small organization and people will use values of the organization to independently make those decisions.  Such as you know their own personal work flow, such as you k now what interface relationship is with every other person at their level their subordinates or their superiors.  So when you got the values of the old organization in which people were able with a great degree of reliability and comfort make those decisions and now you’ve taken away the underpinnings on which they base all those little nuances and all those minute by minutes second by second decisions and so the element of message constancy and filling in those gaps of values have become some of the biggest mistakes.  The other big mistake I see is, is that when you’re transforming and organization you’re continually changing the baseline.  So you know how you start on day one of the change and how you are on day five, day 15 day 30 day 90 day 100 until you get a new operations normal you are on this maturity curve and the things that make you successful early in that maturity curve are not the same things that will make you successful later in that maturity curve.  So those are the things that I think interfere with transformational efforts and change efforts the most. Let me give you the do and this is a do that I developed with my first really big challenge in organizational transformation that was when we were standing up us northern command and the phrase is gotta catchy phrase to it but it’s got a lot behind it.  Think big, start small, scale fast and so the idea behind that and this is good by the way whether you’re talking about strategic problems, medium sized problems or very tactical near term problems.  What is the context around which all your activity must situate itself in?  You know is this a critical piece, is this a non-critical piece, is this a strategic piece is this a mid-level piece you know where does it fit in?  what is the big picture it fits in so that when you build whatever you’re building whenever you change whatever you’re changing it fits in the context it does not provide mixed messages or disruption to what you’re doing but in fact provides a synergistic effect.  Starting small means that you go down to the very basic element and you master that very basic element whether that is the statement of problem whether that is you know a proposed solution or whatever you get that very basic and you get it just right in smallest form and then you figure out how high or how fast or how far do I need to scale what my proposed solution is.  If my solution doesn’t scale then I go back and I pick another start small.  But I never ever lose focus on what’s the large context the overall context where does this fit in in relationship not only the organization but my teammates what my responsibilities are etc., and I have used that idea think big, start small, scale fast as a very successful way to get that explained to a lot of folks.  No matter what role you are whether you are a technician a manager a supervisor a leader or an executive in an organization.

For part one and two of this interview, check out my other blog posts for the videos and transcriptions:

Dale Meyerrose on Organizational Transformation, Part 1

Top-Down vs Bottom-Up Approach: Dale Meyerrose Interview Part 2

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Dale Meyerrose: Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Approach

This is the second video in the MB&A Executive Series. It is part two of an interview with Major General Dale Meyerrose on a top-down vs. bottom-up approach to organizational transformation.

Below is the transcript of this video:

Josh: Thanks for being here Dale. When managing change you often hear about a top down approach or a bottom up approach, from your experience which do you think is more effective and do you have strong feelings about how transformation should be approached in this regard?’

Dale: I have very strong feelings and beliefs about that. No change can take place without leadership and where that leadership comes is very very important. So when you’re looking at organizations where you’re defining the what and the why, the higher up the more top down that type of leadership needs to come. When you’re talking about transforming things about the how and the when that will tend to be from a bottom up. Again I’ll give you two concrete examples one from each and again it is important to realize that the leadership comes from different places based upon where the motivation comes from. So a top down is the creation of US northern command and the creation of vector national intelligence. That is clearly a top down. There was a blank United States government that we needed new organizations to encompass new missions and to completely create something to fill a void. That is clearly a top down. It starts with what are we going to build and why do we want to. And that goes along with my pattern that says that it is more important in that instance that the leadership comes from there. But when you’re talking about the how and the when the example I’ll give you has to do with when I was in the Director of National Intelligence. I think one of the transformational things we did in the intelligence community to share information was the creation of a tool or mechanism if you will, called Intellipedia. Intellipdia took the idea of social networking that was embodied by Wikipedia and in fact brought it about with the intelligence community. The thing that is important about this instance from the bottom up was that we didn’t get the programming to do this. In essence we took 5000 or so brand new analysts in the community that would probably be classified as 20 somethings or 30 somethings and created a venue by which they increased the collaborative share of information across the intelligence community and so again its important when you’re looking at change management or transforming organizations are you talking about the motivation for the what and the why that needs to be top down, when you talk about the how and when that tends to be coming from up the middle or from the bottom up as it were.

Josh: Thanks Dale. For those of you interested in hearing more from Dale be sure to check out our next video where we talk to the General about some methods and processes he’s found useful in managing change for organizations. Again I’m Josh Millsapps and thanks for watching this episode of MB&A’s executive series.

For the rest of the this interview, click on the following links:

Dale Meyerrose: Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast

Dale Meyerrose on Organizational Transformation, Part One

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Dale Meyerrose on Organizational Transformation, Part One

Today’s post is part of the MB&A Executive Series: On Organizational Transformation. We will be running this series on Thursdays through the holiday season starting with the Honorable Dale Meyerrose, Major General, U.S. Air Force retired. Dale Meyerrose is president of the MeyerRose Group, LLC, a company that consults with a wide range of business, government, and academic organizations on strategy, business planning, technology, education, and executive development issues. He is an associate professor at the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. He is also the President and Chairman of the Board for the Air Force Historical Foundation, Trustee for the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcon Foundation, advisor to the U.S. Air Force Heritage Program, and on the board of directors for the Wireless Grids Corporation.

In this first post we will provide a brief introduction to Dale’s experience with organizational transformation and insight into the breadth of his transformation experience. Please be on the lookout for next Thursday’s edition of the MB&A Executive Series: On Organizational Transformation when we ask Dale his feelings on leading transformation from a top down or bottom up effort.

MB&A Executive Series: On Organizational Transformation (Transcript)

Josh: I know that during your time in the Air Force, government, and working in the private sector, that you’ve had some experience with organizational transformation; that you’ve been involved with some organizations that needed to change, or wanted to change to meet evolving requirements.  Can you kind of give a broad brush on that and some of the outcomes you’ve experience over time?

Dale: Sure. I think it’s important to realize that organizational change comes in many forms.  Whether you want to start a new organization, deactivating an old organization is also part of change management; in addition to either rejuvenating an existing organization or changing the mission of an existing organization.  And I’ve had experience with all 4 scenarios. The ones that are probably most dramatic probably have to do with when I was in the Air Force. I was one of the senior officers responsible for deactivating the United States Space Command and transferring that mission to a completely different organization.  At the same time I was the first general officer assigned to creating a new organization called US Northern Command which had the responsibility after 9-11 of providing Homeland Defense support to the country.  The other element that goes along with this is companion element of transformation change, was as I stated earlier, I was the first chief information officer for the intelligence community which entailed creating a new bureaucracy as at work a new organization within the United States government to oversee intelligence organizations.  Additionally when I hired out to the corporate sector I was given the opportunity to build a brand new business from scratch.  All the way from creating a mission, hiring people, organizing the processes setting up the profit and loss situation as it were in a corporation.  Additionally in the academic arena I have had the pleasure and the honor of creating new courses, new lines of study and just recently been given the opportunity to create a professional certificate awarding program for cyber and cyber security.  So when you’re looking at transformation which I think is very very important given that range of experience to realize that transformation comes in many sizes and shapes and forms.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Knowing your Operating Model

Don’t get off track on the road to organizational transformation

The idea of an “organizational operating model” is the central concept discussed by Dr. Jeanne Ross, Peter Weill, and David C. Robertson in their seminal work, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution. They contend that for companies to succeed, they must understand their operating model: in other words, the degree to which they must standardize business processes and/or integrate data to produce optimized business outcomes. Higher standardization of processes is typically required where efficiency and predictability are the primary factors in delivery of the organization’s products or services.  For instance, if an organization wants to present the same face to customers in diverse locations, or capitalize on efficiencies of scale in purchasing, a high degree of standardization is required. However, the higher the level of standardization, the greater the cost to the overall organization in terms of flexibility and the ability to independently innovate. I have found that often the only words that get heard with regard to the enterprise architecture are “higher level of standardization” and “higher degree of integration.”

As a manager, the information insight into your operating model should drive governance as well as your EA and planning programs. In fact, the operating model should drive every other decision you will make because it will help you understand the federation and spans of control within the organization; to the point where you can determine at what level decisions should be made regarding specific types of management inputs. Particularly for large, complex and/or federated organizations, this is one of the major sticking points that prevent the organization from getting value from their enterprise architecture, governance, and planning efforts. A large diversified conglomerate simply should not be looking to standardize and integrate at the enterprise level in the same fashion that a tightly focused technology oriented or manufacturing company should be, even at comparable sizes. The same advice follows in the public sector. Agencies with tightly focused missions like the IRS can have a much more standardized and integrated planning and governance configuration than an organization like the USDA, which includes organizations dedicated to emergency response, research and development, financial management (loans & grants), etc.

That isn’t to say that there is not a use for enterprise architecture, governance or other planning disciplines within organizations that are using a diversification model (low standardization, low integration), it is simply that the function of these efforts may be more focused on reducing core infrastructure costs, managing licensing, supporting capital planning, and ensuring a technology backbone is in place to support the business. This is in contrast to the unification model (high standardization, high integration) that may drive a ROI in a highly standardized and integrated organization, like an online retailer, where massive economies of scale and top line value may be gained by tightly controlling decisions and resources. Obviously, there are degrees to all of this and I haven’t even mentioned coordination or replication models, but my point is that there is real value in examining your organizations operating model as an input to how you build your EA, governance and planning efforts. In the end, these management disciplines developed with the intention of facilitating decision support and control need to be tailored to the environments in which they exist. An examination of the operating model will help you plan at the right level and delegate in a manner that reduces the tax that many business units perceive is being placed on them when “corporate” comes asking for data or begins to exert influence on buying decisions. Getting value from these types of programs once there is a perception that the governance or planning process is increasing response times, lowering performance and adding to the cost to execute is nearly impossible.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.