Ipswich, MA, USA
EBSCO Industries, Inc. (EBSCO) is the leading provider of premium information, research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, e-books, and discovery services to libraries of all kinds. The fast growth of EBSCO Information Services, the company’s largest division, challenged its enterprise architects to align an increasingly complex IT ecosystem. Information remained siloed within departments and resources were fragmented. EBSCO needed to connect all its relevant Enterprise Architecture (EA) information to align the business units and optimize their workflow.
To meet its goal of aligning business units with IT operations, it required documenting the holistic IT landscape and visualizing it with an interactive view. This would enable the EAs to make informed choices about its accumulating technical debt. EBSCO used static spreadsheets and Gantt charts for documenting and planning their IT needs, which resulted in large management and maintenance overheads. They frequently missed important pieces of information that would enable them to perform an objective analysis. It quickly became apparent enterprise architects needed a data-driven tool to track the IT inventory and help drive their analysis for planning and making decisions. LeanIX stood out among different tools because of its focus on lean information management, clean user interface, and highly intuitive and meaningful reporting functionalities.
“By utilizing LeanIX, we have been able to provide business value/risk, technical and functional fitness matrices that provide clear guidance for decision making, asset management, and roadmap prioritization for our IT decision-makers.”
Director of Enterprise Modeling & Governance
EBSCO initiated its EA program during the summer of 2018 and made an early and deliberate decision to both minimize the specifications from solution architects and maximize the contributions by product managers. This approach instilled an open and democratized culture of managing IT information. EBSCO used internal metadata nomenclature to make the EA information relevant to stakeholders, using the language and metrics of the development teams. This enabled EBSCO to drive the project quickly and create an information-rich bridge between the technical and business domains.
The EA modeling process and rollout of LeanIX
The LeanIX implementation followed a well-structured and detailed process at EBSCO. The EA team conducted about 30 socialization engagements and learning sessions with different IT teams past the launch of the system. A comprehensive LeanIX user guide was created and customized for EBSCO’s unique installation and nomenclature. From there, short how-to guides and introductory videos were created and made available via SharePoint for company-wide access, making it easier for users to embrace the new system.
While the initial focus had been on product managers, it soon branched out to development teams. One of the crucial pieces to kick-start the project was support from the CEO and top executive decision-makers. But, the EA team still faced challenges for gaining awareness and acceptance of the program organically throughout the company, which required engagement from everyone in the community.
EBSCO customized the LeanIX platform to better suit its internal engagement needs. The development teams were responsible for creating IT component fact sheets and product managers created and maintained the Epic (Project), Market Problems (Process), Behavior (Interface), and Capability (Application) fact sheets. See the table below:
A custom audit system was created whereby fact sheets were required to have a 70% completion rate to pass the test. These audit reports allowed EBSCO to drill down fact sheets by completion rates, teams, ART (Agile Release Train) or a specific subscriber for more in-depth analysis. For example, the EBSCO Audit Report 1 shows the number of fact sheets in different bins of completion rates that failed to pass the completion audit (<70%).
EBSCO Audit Report 1.
The count of ‘Bounded Context’ Fact Sheets according to their data completion rate.
Source: EBSCO Information Services
EBSCO Audit Report 2.
The proportion of IT components with and without the required documents attached to them, as well as the list of audit types for IT components.
Source: EBSCO Information Services
LeanIX helped EBSCO get buy-in from all levels of the organization
In a short span of 18 months, EBSCO Information Services realized a number of benefits. EBSCO now has a single source of truth with approximately 5,000 fact sheets replete with an estimated 19,000 cross linkages. This has provided increased visibility while aligning all the business units with the IT landscape. In addition, teams now have a stronger sense of ownership for the company’s overall digital transformation.
The LeanIX solution also provided EBSCO with more flexibility and agility by breaking down the silos that impeded its ability to fully utilize its IT environment. Implementing an efficient enterprise architecture enabled stakeholders’ goals and priorities to be laid out in an organized and transparent way.
Finally, LeanIX has provided greater clarity to EBSCO IT teams and business leaders for their decision-making processes. A governance council consisting of vice presidents and IT managers now leverage LeanIX heat map reports to perform application portfolio management and apprise their CIO during quarterly meetings. A new dialogue has emerged in which the EA team also can now provide business value and risk data, and technical and functional fitness metrics to offer guidance for strategic decisions, asset management, and roadmap prioritization.
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