TOGAF: Business Transformation Readiness Assessment

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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.


Readiness Factors

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Funding', in the form of a clear source of fiscal resources, exists that meets the endeavor's potential expenditures.
  6. 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 engaged throughout.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.


Readiness Factor Rating

The BTEP uses a Readiness Rating Scheme that can be used:

  • Urgency
    • whereby if a readiness factor is urgent, it means that action is needed before a transformation initiative can begin.
  • Readiness Status
    1. Low - needs substantial work before proceeding
    2. Fair - needs some work before proceeding
    3. Acceptable - some readiness issues exist; no showstoppers
    4. Good - relatively minor issues exist)
    5. 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.


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