by Daniel Lambert

Make your CIO more relevant using business architecture

Aug 16, 2017
CIOEnterprise ArchitectureIT Governance

To s쳮d, CIOs need to focus more resources in communicating and building business architecture change maps that will involve business executives, business architects and obviously the CIO.

According to a Logicalis Global CIO survey[i], the likelihood that CIOs are left out of the IT purchasing decision process has grown every year since 2013 with only 60% of CIOs controlling technology spending in 2016. This trend will most probably continue in the future. Even more troubling, over 60% organizations created at least one new mobile app in 2015 without any IT involvement[ii].

Decision making in the enterprise has changed, and it’s becoming very complex. The bigger the IT project is, the lower the odds that the CIO is controlling the decision on his own and the higher the odds that the CIO may not be involved at all in the decision-making process[iii].

diagram 1 Enterprise Architecture Domains Daniel Lambert

More global CIOs embracing shadow IT

Many global CIOs are obviously not standing still. According to a Gartner survey[iv], 75% of CIOs agree that they need to adapt their leadership style to succeed in the digitization of their business. “The threat from line of business driven IT choices is forcing CIOs to re-align their IT strategy to better serve the needs of their line of business colleagues, and transforming IT to become the first choice for all IT service provision.[v]” CIOs are seeking to regain control of IT not by eliminating shadow IT but by embracing it.

CIOs are transforming their IT departments into internal service providers – lean organisations managing service portfolios, that respond quickly to business demand. This way, CIOs focus more on delivering service portfolios that directly respond to the needs of business executives.

Enterprise architecture without business architecture: A failure

CIOs often attempt to digitize their organization using enterprise architecture[vi], by focusing more on the technical infrastructure, information/data, and application/integration, and leaving for last and with almost no resources the business architecture domain, as shown in Diagram 1[vii] above.

Too often, the business architecture resources are sacrificed to make way for various technical architects. Enterprise architecture without business architecture may probably still deliver value by bringing structure and planning to the critical IT project delivery, but will usually fail in delivering enough value to the stakeholders that use these IT resources.[viii]  Invariably, transformational programs that fail to consider business feedback and strategies have historically a poor track record, as mentioned in a 2015 McKinsey & Co Survey. Only “26% of respondents say the transformations they’re most familiar with have been very or completely successful at both improving performance and equipping the organization to sustain improvements over time[ix].”

From strategy to delivery using business architecture

Yet, as pointed out by an IDC study[x], business architecture can be used to add clarity to business understanding, help business leaders better address business scenarios and planning, and ultimately minimize overall risk. Business architecture enables CIOs and business leaders to identify business transformation opportunities and to better align strategic planning and initiatives to business strategies and tactics. Used appropriately, business architecture will provide leaders with the tools they need to make not only quick, but good, decisions.

diagram 2 From Strategy to Delivery Daniel Lambert

As indicated by Whynde Kuehn, the steps from strategy to delivery should not be limited to four steps, but more likely five, as shown in Diagram 2[xi] above. Often, organizations will have business executives start developing goals and strategy, overlap architect changes and instead move directly to develop a roadmap of initiatives, followed by the necessary delivery of solutions and finally by the measurements of the initiatives’ success – only to find out that the developed solutions for the initiatives are not delivering the expected strategic goals.

A new step, impact assessment and architect changes, need to be inserted and executed by business architects after goals and strategies are established and before roadmaps are developed to minimize the risk of failure of transformational projects. Delivering impact assessment and architect changes include: clarify goals and strategy by mapping the strategy in more details, assess all impacts on implementing a new strategy, architect the change precisely in the corporation’s current context to operationalize the strategy to implement, and finally identify the gaps that need to be filed to ensure that the initiatives enabling a strategy can be implemented with minimum risk.


To avoid being bypassed by business executives when technology investments are made, CIOs need to continue transforming their IT departments into internal service providers. This transformation is feasible using not only enterprise architects, but also business architects. They will allow the CIO to communicate better with business executives and make it possible for the CIO to get involved in building change maps for the benefit of not only the IT department but for the benefit of all business units and departments within the organization.

[i] Survey entitled “Logicalis Global CIO Survey 2016” published on 2016-10-27.

[ii] Article entitled “Why Some Businesses Bypass the IT Department” written by Samuel Greengard on CIO Insight on 2016-08-30.

[iii] Article entitled “Are CIOs Losing Power?” written by Patrick Thibodeau in ComputerWorld on 2014-02-14.

[iv] From 2014 Gartner survey on this webpage.

[v] From “Survey 2015: The Shadow IT phenomenon” on Logicalis’ Website.

[vi] The framework is described on this webpage.

[vii] Diagram inspired from this webpage.

[viii] Article entitled “Don’t Sacrifice Your Business Architecture” published on LinkedIn Pulse on 2016-01-31 by Amitabh Apte.

[ix] From the McKinsey & Co 2015 Survey entitled “How to beat the transformation odds”.

[x] From the 2015 IDC Study entitled “Business Architecture: Understanding Digital Transformation’s Far-Reaching Opportunities”.

[xi] Diagram strongly inspired from a diagram created by Whynde Kuehn from S2E Consulting.