Jeanne W. Ross

American computer scientist

Jeanne Wenzel Ross (born ca. 1952) is an American computer scientist and organizational theorist and Director and Principal Research Scientist at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR), specialized in Enterprise Architecture, ICT and Management.

Jeanne Ross, MIT CISR at MIT CDOIQ 2019


  • Assessing the value of information technology (IT) has never been easy. Delayed benefits, unintended uses, business changes, and hidden support costs inhibit meaningful evaluation of individual IT investments. This was true when most investments were focused on the support of a single business process or functional area. It is even more true as business executives ponder implementations of shared technologies like data warehouses and networks, replacement of large legacy systems, and reskilling of the IT staff. Although firms introduce some systems to reduce costs and can evaluate them in terms of their success in doing so, they want many IT initiatives to support a firm's objectives. The value of these initiatives rest in their contributions to a firm's competitiveness, which is often non quantifiable and uncertain.
  • To date, most research on information technology (IT) outsourcing concludes that firms decide to outsource IT services because they believe that outside vendors possess production cost advantages. Yet it is not clear whether vendors can provide production
    • Natalia Levina and Jeanne W. Ross (2003) "From the vendor's perspective: exploring the value proposition in information technology outsourcing." MIS quarterly p. 331
  • IT architecture is often assumed to follow business strategy, to align IT with the business's strategic objectives. Increasingly, though, many business strategies depend on specific underlying IT capabilities. To develop a synergy between business strategy and IT architecture, firms must develop organizational competencies in IT architecture. My research has identified four IT architectural stages, each with its own requisite competencies. The "application silo architecture stage" consists of IT architectures of individual applications. The "standardized technology architecture stage" has an enterprise-wide IT architecture that provides efficiencies through technology standardization. The "rationalized data architecture stage" extends the enterprise-wide IT standards to data and processes. And the "modular architecture stage" builds onto enterprise-wide global standards with loosely coupled IT components to preserve the global standards while enabling local differences. Each stage demands different organizational competencies to implement the architecture and prepare the firm to move to the next stage.
    • Jeanne W. Ross (2003) Creating a Strategic IT Architecture Competency: Learning in Stages. MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4314-03, April 2003. Abstract
  • Organizations that operate under an IT monarchy place key business unit and technical decisions in the hands of the CIO. Under the duopoly method, decision-making for IT budgets, applications and technologies is shared among the CIO and business unit leaders.
    • Attributed to Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross in: Thomass Hoffman (2006) "Taming IT in the World Life Fund" in Computerworld Vol. 40 (33), August 14, 2006. p. 39
  • Many companies are not driving significant business value from the digitized platforms they build as part of their enterprise architecture initiatives. Our 2011 survey of 146 senior IT leaders found that the companies that benefit from their platforms' efforts are consistently relying on four architecture-related practices that encourage organizational learning about the value of enterprise architecture: 1) making IT costs transparent, 2) debating architectural exceptions, 3) performing post-implementation reviews, and 4) making IT investments with enterprise architecture in mind.

Learning to implement enterprise systems (2002)


Daniel Robey, Jeanne W. Ross, and Marie-Claude Boudreau (2002) "Learning to implement enterprise systems: an exploratory study of the dialectics of change." Journal of Management Information Systems Vol 19 (1). p. 17-46. Abstract.

  • This paper reports on a comparative case study of 13 industrial firms that implemented an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. It compares firms based on their dialectic leaming process. All firms had to overcome knowledge barriers of two types: those associated with the configuration of the ERP package, and those associated with the assimilation of new work processes. We found that both strong core teams and carefully managed consulting relationships addressed configuration knowledge barriers. User training that included both technical and business processes, along with a phased implementation approach, helped firms to overcome assimilation knowledge barriers. However, all firms in this study experienced ongoing concerns with assimilation knowledge barriers, and we observed two different approaches to address them. In a piecemeal approach, firms concentrated on the technology first and deferred consideration of process changes. In a concerted approach, both the technology and process changes were undertaken together. Although most respondents clearly stated a preference for either piecemeal or concerted change, all firms engaged in practices that reflected a combination of these approaches.
    • Abstract, p. 17-18
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software packages have become popular means for both large and medium-sized organizations to overcome the limitations of fragmented and incompatible legacy systems. ERP systems are designed as integrated sets of software modules linked to a common database, handling basic corporate functions such as finance, human resources, materials management, sales, and distribution. Most ERP packages also provide multiple language and currency capabilities, enabling integration of global operations. The popularity of ERP is documented in a study that showed that nearly 19 percent of organizations across all industry sectors have installed ERP software, with the manufacturing sector leading the trend. The study also showed that ERP's popularity continues to rise, with 34 percent of the surveyed organizations investigating, piloting, or implementing ERP packages. Davenport characterized ERP as "the most important development in the corporate use of information technology in the 1990s"
    • p. 18

IT governance, 2004


Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross (2004) IT governance : how top performers manage IT decision rights for superior results

  • Seventy percent of all IT projects fail—and scores of books have attempted to help firms measure and manage IT systems and processes better in order to turn this figure around.
  • Senior executive teams create mechanisms to govern the management and use of each of these assets both independently and together.... Governance of the key assets occurs via a large number of organizational mechanisms, for example structures, processes, procedures and audits.
    • p. 7 as cited in: Wim Van Grembergen, Steven De Haes (2009) Enterprise Governance of Information Technology. p. 5

Enterprise architecture as strategy, 2006


Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, David Robertson (2006). Enterprise architecture as strategy: creating a foundation for business.. HBS Press.

  • In 1995 we started our study of enterprise architecture – we just did not know it. At the time we thought we were studying information technology infrastructure transformations. In 1998 we thought we were studying enterprise system implementations. In 2000 it was e-business. But sometime in 2000, we recognized that each of these studies examined basically the same thing: Enterprise Architecture.
    • p. vii
  • In a business world that is changing faster than ever before, the top performing firms create a stable base – they digitize their core processes and embed those processes into a foundation for execution. This stable foundation makes a company both more efficient and more agile than its competitors. With global supply chains, pressure for ever faster time to market, more complex regulation, and huge shifts in customer demographics and desires, companies cannot predict the future. But they can decide what makes them great. And then they can create a low cost, high quality core of stability and constancy in a turbulent world. With a strong digitized core great companies slide smoothly into the next opportunity while their competitors stumble.
    • p, viii
  • The insights in the book come from a series of research projects exploring enterprise architecture in more than 200 companies where our focus was on IT government from 1995 to 2005.
    • p. ix
  • Enterprise architecture is the organizing logic for business processes and IT infrastructure reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of a company's operation model... The key to effective enterprise architecture is to identify the processes, data, technology, and customer interfaces that take the operating model from vision to reality.
    • p. 47
Wikipedia has an article about: