This chapter describes a technique known as Business Transformation Readiness Assessment, used for evaluating and
quantifying an organization's readiness to undergo change.
This chapter builds on work by the Canadian Government and its Business Transformation Enablement Program (BTEP) -
Refer to www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/btep-pto/index_e.asp.
Enterprise architecture is a major endeavor within an organization and most often an innovative Architecture Vision
(Phase A) and supporting Architecture Definition (Phases B to D) will entail considerable change. There are many
dimensions to change, but by far the most important is the human element. For example, if the enterprise envisages a
consolidation of information holdings and a move to a new paradigm such as service orientation for integrated service
delivery, then the human resource implications are major. Potentially coupled with a change-averse culture and a
narrowly skilled workforce, the most sound and innovative architecture could go nowhere.
Understanding the readiness of the organization to accept change, identifying the issues, and then dealing with them in
the Implementation and Migration Plans is key to successful architecture transformation in Phases E and F. This will be
a joint effort between corporate (especially human resources) staff, lines of business, and IT planners.
The recommended activities in an assessment of an organization's readiness to address business transformation are:
Determine the readiness factors that will impact the organization
Present the readiness factors using maturity models
Assess the readiness factors, including determination of readiness factor ratings
Assess the risks for each readiness factor and identify improvement actions to mitigate the risk
Work these actions into Phase E and F Implementation and Migration Plan
Business Transformation Enablement Program (BTEP)
The Canadian Government Business Transformation Enablement Program (BTEP) provides guidance on how to identify the
business transformation-related issues.
The BTEP recommends that all projects conduct a transformation readiness assessment to at least uncover the business
transformation issues. This assessment is based upon the determination and analysis/rating of a series of readiness
factors. The outcome is a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that could be presented in the
course of the endeavor. Many of the challenges translate directly into risks that have to be addressed, monitored, and,
if possible, mitigated.
The following sections describe Business Transformation Readiness Assessment using the BTEP method, including some
lessons learned. Readers should keep in mind that most organizations will have their own unique set of factors and
criteria, but most are similar.
Determine Readiness Factors
The first step is to determine what factors will impact on the business transformation associated with the migration
from the Baseline to Target Architectures.
This can be best achieved through the conduct of a facilitated workshop with individuals from different parts of the
organization. It is important that all perspectives are sought as the issues will be varied. In this workshop it is
very useful to start off with a tentative list of factors that participants can re-use, reject, augment, or replace.
An example set of factors drawn from the BTEP follows:
Vision is the ability to clearly define and communicate what is to be achieved. This is where management is
able to clearly define the objectives, in both strategic and specific terms. Leadership in defining vision and
needs comes from the business side with IT input. Predictable and proven processes exist for moving from vision to
statement of requirements. The primary drivers for the initiative are clear. The scope and approach of the
transformation initiative have been clearly defined throughout the organization.
Desire, Willingness, and Resolve is the presence of a desire to achieve the results, willingness to accept
the impact of doing the work, and the resolve to follow through and complete the endeavor. There is active
discussion regarding the impact that executing the project may have on the organization, with clear indication of
the intent to accept the impacts. Key resources (e.g., financial, human, etc.) are allocated for the endeavor and
top executives project the clear message that the organization will follow through; a message that identifies the
effort as well as the benefits. Organizationally there is a history of finishing what is started and of coming to
closure on issues in the timeframes needed and there is agreement throughout the organization that the
transformation initiative is the "right" thing to do.
Need, in that there is a compelling need to execute the endeavor. There are clear statements regarding what
the organization will not be able to do if the project does not proceed, and equally clear statements of what the
project will enable the organization to do. There are visible and broadly understood consequences of endeavor
failure and success criteria have been clearly identified and communicated.
Business Case exists that creates a strong focus for the project, identifying benefits that must be achieved
and thereby creating an imperative to succeed. The business case document identifies concrete benefits (revenues or
savings) that the organization is committed to deliver and clearly and unquestionably points to goals that the
organization is committed to achieving.
Funding, in the form of a clear source of fiscal resources, exists that meets the endeavor's potential
Sponsorship and Leadership exists and is broadly shared, but not so broad as to diffuse accountability.
Leadership keeps everyone "on board" and keeps all focused on the strategic goals. The endeavor is sponsored by an
executive who is appropriately aligned to provide the leadership the endeavor needs and able to articulate and
defend the needs of the endeavor at the senior management level. These executive sponsors are and will remain
Governance is the ability to engage the involvement and support of all parties with an interest in or
responsibility to the endeavor with the objective of ensuring that the corporate interests are served and the
objectives achieved. There are clearly identified stakeholders and a clear sense of their interest in and
responsibility to the project; a culture that encourages participation towards corporate rather than local
objectives; a history of being able to successfully manage activities that cross interest areas; a culture that
fosters meaningful, as opposed to symbolic, participation in management processes; and a commitment to ongoing
project review and challenge and openness to outside advice.
Accountability is the assignment of specific and appropriate responsibility, recognition of measurable
expectations by all concerned parties, and alignment of decision-making with areas of responsibility and with where
the impact of the decisions will be felt. Accountability is aligned with the area where the benefits of success or
consequences of failure of the endeavor will be felt as well as with the responsibility areas.
Workable Approach and Execution Model is an approach that makes sense relative to the task, with a
supporting environment, modeled after a proven approach. There are clear notions of the client and the client's
role relative to the builder or prime contractor and the organization is experienced with endeavors of this type so
that the processes, disciplines, expertise, and governance are already in place, proven, and available to apply to
the transformation endeavor. All the players know their roles because they have played them before with success. In
particular, the roles of "client" and "systems builder" are mature and stable. There is a communication plan
covering all levels of the organization and meeting the needs ranging from awareness to availability of technical
detail. There is a reward and recognition plan in place to recognize teams and individuals who use good change
management practices, planning and prevention of crisis behaviors, and who reinforce behaviors appropriate to the
new way of doing business. It is clear to everyone how implementation will occur, how it will be monitored, and how
realignment actions will be made and there are adequate resources dedicated for the life of the transformation.
IT Capacity to Execute is the ability to perform all the IT tasks required by the project, including the
skills, tools, processes, and management capability. There has been a recent successful execution of a similar
endeavor of similar size and complexity and there exist appropriate processes, discipline, skills, and a rationale
model for deciding what skills and activities to source externally.
Enterprise Capacity to Execute is the ability of the enterprise to perform all the tasks required by the
endeavor, in areas outside of IT, including the ability to make decisions within the tight time constraints typical
to project environments based upon the recent successful execution of a similar endeavor of at least half the size
and complexity. There exist non-IT-specific processes, discipline, and skills to deal with this type of endeavor.
The enterprise has a demonstrated ability to deal with the type of ongoing portfolio/project management issues and
requirements. There is a recognition of the need for knowledge and skill-building for the new way of working as
well as the value of a formal gap analysis for skills and behavior.
Enterprise Ability to Implement and Operate the transformation elements and their related business
processes, absorb the changes arising from implementation, and ongoing ability to operate in the new environment.
The enterprise has a recent proven ability to deal with the change management issues arising from new processes and
systems and has in place a solid disciplined and process-driven service management program that provides
operations, maintenance, and support for existing systems.
Once the factors have been identified and defined, it is useful to call a follow-on workshop where the factors shall be
assessed in some detail in terms of their impact/risk. The next section will deal with preparing for an effective
assessment of these factors.
Present Readiness Factors
Once the factors are determined, it is necessary to present them in such a way that the assessment is clear and the
maximum value is derived from the participants.
One such presentation is through the use of maturity models. If each factor is converted into a maturity model (a
re-usable governance asset as well) accompanied by a standard worksheet template containing all of the information and
deductions that have to be gathered, it can be a very useful tool.
The maturity model should enable participants to:
Assess their current (Baseline Architecture) maturity level
Determine the target maturity level that would have to be achieved to realize the Target Architecture
Determine an intermediate target that would be achievable in a lesser timeframe
The care spent preparing the models (which is not insignificant) will be recouped by a focused workshop that will
rapidly go through a significant number of factors.
It is important that each factor be well-defined and that the scope of the enterprise architecture endeavor
(preliminary planning) be reflected in the models to keep the workshop participants focused and productive.
Circulating the models before the workshop for comments would be useful, if only to ensure that they are complete as
well as allowing the participants to prepare for the workshop. Note that the model shown below also has a recommended
target state put in by the enterprise architect; this again acts as governance.
An example of a maturity model is shown in Business Transformation Readiness Assessment - Maturity Model for one of the BTEP
Figure: Business Transformation Readiness Assessment - Maturity Model
Assess Readiness Factors
Ideally, the factors should be assessed in a multi-disciplinary workshop. Using a mechanism such as maturity models,
enterprise architects will normally have to cover a great deal of ground in little time.
The use of a series of templates for each factor would expedite the assessment, and ensure consistency across the wide
range of factors.
The assessment should address three things, namely:
Readiness Factor Vision
Readiness Factor Rating
Readiness Factor Risks & Actions
Readiness Factor Vision
The vision for a readiness factor is the determination of where the enterprise has to evolve to address the factor.
First, the factor should be assessed with respect to its base state and then its target state.
For example, if the "IT capacity to execute" factor is rated as low, the factor should ideally be at "high" to realize
the Target Architecture Vision. An intermediate target might be useful to direct the implementation. Maturity models
are excellent vehicles to guide this determination.
Readiness Factor Rating
Once the factor visions are established, then it is useful to determine how important each factor is to the achievement
of the Target Architecture as well as how challenging it will be to migrate the factor into an acceptable visionary
The BTEP uses a Readiness Rating Scheme that can be used as a start point for any organization in any vertical. Each
one of the readiness factors are rated with respect to:
Urgency, whereby if a readiness factor is urgent, it means that action is needed before a transformation
initiative can begin.
Readiness Status, which is rated as either Low (needs substantial work before proceeding), Fair (needs some
work before proceeding), Acceptable (some readiness issues exist; no showstoppers), Good (relatively minor issues
exist), or High (no readiness issues).
Degree of Difficulty to Fix rates the effort required to overcome any issues identified as either No Action
Needed, Easy, Moderate, or Difficult.
Although a more extensive template can be used in the workshop, it is useful to create a summary table of the findings
to consolidate the factors and provide a management overview. A like summary is shown in Summary Table of Business Transformation Readiness Assessment .
Figure: Summary Table of Business Transformation Readiness Assessment
Readiness Factor Risks & Actions
Once the factors have been rated and assessed, derive a series of actions that will enable the factors to change to a
Each factor should be assessed with respect to risk using the process highlighted in Part III,
Risk Management, including an estimate of impact and frequency.
Each factor should be discretely assessed and a series of improvement actions outlined. Before starting anew, existing
actions outlined in the architectures should be checked first before creating new ones.
These newly identified actions should then be formally incorporated into the emerging Implementation and Migration
From a risk perspective, these actions are designed to mitigate the risks and produce an acceptable residual risk. As
risks, they should be part of the risk management process and closely monitored as the enterprise architecture is being
Readiness and Migration Planning
The assessment exercise will provide a realistic assessment of the organization and will be a key input into the
strategic migration planning that will be initiated in Phase E and completed in Phase F. It is important to note
whether the business transformation actions will be on the vision's critical path and, if so, determine how they will
impact implementation. There is no point deploying new IT capability without employees trained to use it and support
staff ready to sustain it.
The readiness factors, as part of an overall Implementation and Migration Plan, will have to be continuously monitored
(Phase G) and rapid corrective actions taken through the IT governance framework to ensure that the defined
architectures can be implemented.
The readiness factors assessment will be a living document and during the migration planning and execution of the
Transition Architectures, the business transformation activities will play a key role.
Marketing the Implementation Plan
The Architecture Definition should not be widely circulated until the business transformation issues are identified and
mitigated, and the associated actions part of an overall "marketing" plan for the vision and the Implementation and
For example, the consolidation of information holdings could result in hundreds of lost jobs and this vision should not
be announced before a supporting business transformation/human resources plan is formulated to retrain or support the
workers' quest for new employment.
The business transformation workshops are a critical part of the Communications Plan whereby key individuals from
within the organization gather to assess the implications of transforming the enterprise. To do this they will become
aware of the Architecture Vision and architecture definition (if they were not already involved through the business
scenarios and Business Architecture). This group will feel ownership of the enterprise architecture, recognizing the
enterprise architect as a valuable steward.
Their determination of the factors will again create a culture of understanding across the enterprise and provide
useful insights for the Implementation and Migration Plan.
The latter plan should include a Communications Plan, especially to keep the affected personnel informed. In many cases
collaborating with the unions and shop stewards will further assist a humane (and peaceful) transition to the target
In short, enterprise architecture implementation will require a deep knowledge and awareness of all of the business
transformation factors that impact transitioning to the visionary state. With the evolution of IT, the actual
technology is not the real issue any more in enterprise architecture, but the critical factors are most often the
cultural ones. Any Implementation and Migration Plan has to take both into consideration. Neglecting these and focusing
on the technical aspects will invariably result in a lackluster implementation that falls short of realizing the real
promise of a visionary enterprise architecture.